Current Projects

So there is a writing tag going around Tumblr asking about current projects writers/writeblrs are working on. I’m definitely using this as an excuse to sit back and organize myself (also hope for feedback, also brag a little) by having to explain to other folks. 

I’m breaking this down into 3 sections: blog/short story writing, original novella/novels, and RPGs/editing. Possibly not what most folks think of when they think of ‘writing’ here, but it’s what I’ve got going on.

Short Stories

I’ve got shorts for this blog queued and ready to go for every Monday between now and Aug 14th, two in a fictional superhero universe following Darcy emergency services operator extraordinaire, one Eclipse Phase fan fiction piece (I’m feeling clever about a title I wrote for once), one in my ongoing Red Markets fan fiction Pixie & Sarge universe, and one sequel to what was originally a stand alone near-future science fiction piece.

Going forward, I’m planning to write:

  • Darcy: parent calling in, freaking out about their child manifesting Powers for the first time. I need to figure out the Power before I’m ready to sit down and write it out. Anyone got something a religious family would freak out about that isn’t growing horns?
  • Pixie & Sarge: I’ve got 8 pieces of art in the Tumblr drafts section to stare at for inspiration. Just have to pick one and write a first sentence. It’s either going to be the image of an abandoned house with a supermoon behind it or the image of abandoned train tracks, because those have been sitting in the drafts section the longest and I either need to use ‘em or delete ‘em.
  • Eclipse Phase: I’ve started working on a continuation of T00:00:03.038 based off of this art

The goal is to push the queue through the middle of September to keep the blog updating on time while I travel. So much travel in Aug. and early Sept.

Novella/Novels

Dangers of Fraternization

The blurb: Berlin, February, 1946. Frau Kruger and her months old infant have been slaughtered in the Soviet sector. Frau Haupsfelt and her eight-year-old daughter have been found murdered in a crater in the American sector, and Frau Meinhof’s child has been stolen from her home in the American sector. Commissar Chesnikov of the Soviet NKVD and Sergeant Durrant, a U.S. MP, are tasked with finding the killer and ordered to focus on a cabaret club serving as a hot spot for the resurgent German underworld. In danger of losing her livelihood, Isolde, the club’s owner, is now as eager to find the murderer as the Occupiers. Can these allied-in-name investigators find justice or will Russian suspicion, American cavalier attitudes, and post-war opportunism see it implode?

The fourth draft is done (this is the bragging btw). Partner is reading it over as a last search for typos. Then I need to re-read up on how to build an ebook and talk about a release date/schedule and marketing with the RPPR folks. 

Izzy

Izzy is a character in the Eclipse Phase universe I want to send on a road trip / heist story across the TITAN infected wasteland of the post-Fall United States and into the bowels of DC. I’ve got the character sheet, ideas on the supporting cast, what they’re stealing, the complication, and the intended resolution in my head. I just need to make a map of their route, in order to function as my novel outline and then get started.

R. Lewis

This... well it was an 8K short story cross between the archive of our own marked soulmates meme and a Victorian era comedy of manners, following one lady from birth to death dealing with having two soulmates in an era when the whole marked soulmates is emerging in Society. But then my favorite beta reader and my Partner said ‘this should be novel.’ So... now it’s an 8K outline. 

Pria, Eric, Lucas

I uh, had some ideas off of listening to the Drunk and the Ugly’s Monsterhearts campaign and playing in Technical Difficulties’ Monsterhearts campaign. Because it’s me, it’s dark, really dark — human sacrifice to power turning people into werewolves as a motivating factor dark. And involves a triad. ::shrugs:: I like triads. Because it’s Monsterhearts, it’s going to involve the first smut I’ve ever written, if I ever get this project in gear. (I really need to outline more/better...) Because it’s me, we’re talking early college, not high school, aged characters, thank you very much. Yay first time living away from parental figures.

 

I'm finding that my working titles for novel(lla(s)) are the main characters’ names. It’s a thing.

RPGs/Editing

The Night Clerk

The next RPPR episode I will be novelizing is The Night Clerk. It’s a architecture based horror adventure, so I’ll need to focus on description and psychology to really bring that across. I’ve got the transcript of the episode done, so the next step is the outline.

Superhero 2044

I recently signed a contract to edit a role-playing game called Superhero 2044 before it goes to Kickstarter. A friend working as a writer on the project recommended me to the project manager because of the work I did on Red Markets, so yay networking! I’m looking forward to a lot of superheroes’ backstories.

Cutting back on projects

I've got too many ‘projects’/things going on. Most aren't visible through this blog (I think) and that's actually part of the problem. They're support things, not writing things which is, at least supposedly, my main creative area.

Things I am currently trying to keep moving forward (in no particular order), by type:
Family stuff:

  1. Family time
  2. Organizing the apartment
  3. Household chores
  4. Reading
  5. Gym

The first one is non-negotiable for I hope obvious reasons. Organizing the new apartment (or as Partner likes to call it: ‘nesting’) should eventually be a completed project and absolutely needs to happen for both of us to feel comfortable and happy in our space. Because if we’re not happy, we won’t recharge from coming home and definitely won’t be able to work. So there would go any of my other projects. Chores / adulting have to happen to continue being able to function/feed ourselves, so that has to happen too. Personally I dislike the gym (I'm bored there) but I need to for health reasons (job I sit at all day) so I take a book and read while I cycle for 30 minutes. Just have to start the habit up again in the new apartment building’s gym.

Social stuff

  1. Group chat
  2. RPPR & D&U forums
  3. Blog posting
  4. Tumblr
  5. Scribophile groups
  6. GoodReads updating
  7. GoodReads groups

The group chat for fans of RPPR coordinating going to meals together at GenCon 2015 sort of… metastasized into a general chat hangout. It's turned into my primary non-family social outlet and what I'm distracted by at work (trust me, if it wasn't this, there’d be something else). I like talking to these folks, so not giving this up. Especially since I think it fits into down moments I wouldn't be doing other things. I like checking in once a day with the forums for my two favorite podcasts, so keeping that (even if I do think I should post more and lurk less). Keeping my commitment to blog twice a week gets me to write, even if it’s a different type of writing than my main goal (fiction), so that’s staying. Also, you know, this post probably wouldn’t be going up if I was going to cut out the blogging. So that kind of speaks for itself. Tumblr might be my biggest time sink buuuuut I kinda want to keep doing it. A lot. I’ve kept up with news and general internet chicanery through RSS feeds for years, but thinking about sharing content through my Tumblr blog gets me to look at / read through more, which I think is good for my engagement with the world…

I don’t currently have anything going through critique on Scribophile, nor time soon to put in a round of critique through the Fast Critters’ group on Scribophile, nor really time to keep up with the forums… Forums are difficult/hard for how I think about interacting. I don’t have enough time or attention span to respond to them in real time and then when I get back to them, I generally feel overwhelmed by all the discussions that happened. So it’s hard to catch up to see if I have anything to say. RPPR and The Drunk & The Ugly’s forums seem to be my exception to that general pattern though. Any rate, same problem with GoodReads’ groups. So I’m going to set those two aside for now, see if I miss the interaction or feel differently in a few months. I do plan to keep with by fellow bloggers’ group on Scribophile though. Too much good writing to drop that. As for keeping my ‘stuff’ on GoodReads up to date, I’m going to stop feeling like I have to do that and see if I just want to update what I’m reading or rate things once I finish a book. It’s there. I know it’s there. We’ll see what happens with it.

Hobbies & Writing

  1. Red Markets Editing
  2. Red Markets Convention packet
  3. GMing @ WashingCon
  4. Technical Difficulties
  5. Dangers of Fraternization
  6. The Night Clerk
  7. General Backlog of writing ideas

I get paid for editing Red Markets, that’s not going anywhere. I’ve got this thing about following through on my word, you see.

I think the convention packet for Red Markets is where most of my creative energy is going right now. See, this guy in one of the social media groups for Red Markets said ‘wouldn’t it be great if someone put together a packet for GM’s to be able to teach the game to new players at a convention? Anyone interested in working on that with me?’ Well, both Partner and I said ‘yes’ so we’ve been working with this guy Tom to write that up and refine it. Or pare down the available rules to a quick-and-dirty guide. Six of one… We tried out what we had at GenCon and now are working to revise it based on feedback in time for WashingCon. Where we’ll solicit another round of feedback on improvements. End result eventually, hopefully being that we have a well put together tool for GMs, both new and experienced, to run an enjoyable introductory game of Red Markets for both new and experienced players. Because we want to evangelize the system. But yeah. Set project. Definable goals. Actual project management  tools in use (that reminds me, I should try using Trello for one of my other projects and write up a review for y’all next Monday…) I’m not pulling back on my involvement in this project. As for GMing at WashingCon, 1) I’ve said I’m going to, so I need to, 2) I think my game at WashingCon is already full of people (meep!...), and 3) it’s in three weeks and then it’ll be done. It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s all fine.

Technical Difficulties is usually one of my two main creative energy outlets (the other being writing), it’s just that summer made our schedule go a bit wonky. But I remember the difference in my mood when I picked up gaming again. It's necessary for my mental health and happiness. It's why I try to talk Partner into playing with the TD group as often as I can – I like it, I want to spend time with Partner, and I want to share.

The rest just has to go on the back-burner until editing on Red Markets is done. Or I’ve cleared off enough of the time-bound projects to free up some time for them. Dangers next, then Night Clerk, then pull something out of the backlog into it’s own project. Like in 2 years. Man, I hope it doesn’t take me that long to work through Night Clerk…

The final list of stuff I’m going to continue pushing forward:

  1. Family time
  2. Organizing the apartment
  3. Household chores
  4. Reading
  5. Gym
  6. Group chat
  7. RPPR & D&U forums
  8. Blog posting
  9. Tumblr
  10. Red markets editing
  11. Red Markets convention packet
  12. GMing @ WashingCon
  13. Technical Difficulties

I can handle 13 things. I think.

Going cross-eyed over here

I think I never want to write a 'to' again...

So I've finished an editing pass on the player's section of Red Markets focused on cutting words. Started with 98,304 on June 27th, finished up a couple days ago (July 8th) having got it down to 95,115. Three thousand may not seem like much (it's about 3% of the original), but I'm pretty pleased. To get substantially more, I'd have to start throwing out ideas and complete rules sets. Major no-no, that would be.

Twelve days to work through 98K words feels pretty good. I did this first pass by really grinding away at the sentence structure level, until about halfway through something clicked in my brain and I could see the sentences and occasional paragraph that should come out. The two examples I could condense down into one. Things like that. I mean, I was also copy-editing for the misplaced commas and whatnot at the time, so a sentence level focus feels right. But a second pass is definitely in order, this time with that willingness to yank sentences I developed in the first pass.

Directly after finishing up the first pass, I started making these shorter passes looking for specific things. And by shorter passes, I mean I used the find/replace function to step through the document to only look at specific words. Passes I did:
'It's vs. its'
'Affect vs. effect'
'Numbers vs. digits'
'There, their, and they're'
'Your vs. you're'
'Hear vs here'
'We're, were, and where'
A pass to double check the instances of 'will' future tense
and the one that really made me go cross-eyed:

'Too, two, and to'

'Too' and 'two' weren't so bad. But do you know how many 'to's there were in 98K words?? 3122. Three thousand, one hundred, and twenty-two. And I touched/laid eyes on every. single. one. You know how many needed to be cut or changed?

Four.

Copy-editing == a neurotic drive towards perfectionism. Oy gevalt. 

 

The editorial meeting when the author and I discuss my proposals is going to be interesting. I'm going to be advocating moving an entire section from the player's section to the game master's section. Also advocating for a reordering of a major section of mechanics (negotiations). And defending a couple subsection reorderings I just went ahead and did.

Text isn't great about conveying the presence or absence of sarcasm, but I want to be perfectly clear: I really am looking forward to that meeting and debating those changes. 

Pretty sure that means I'm in the right job.