Wherein I talk half-heartedly about resolutions and make a small announcement…
So, welcome to 2016.
For my part, I rang in the New Year as one would expect, gathered at a table with old friends and new, dice in hand and music behind me. We had a pick-up, what-the-hell sort of session, since several of our number were absent and the remaining few of us had nowhere else we wanted to be. I’ve been running Kingmaker for a Sunday group, but given that half our numbers were absent (and the other half wanted something to do), I threw together an FFG Star Wars game for the kick of it. (I’ll get into this particular campaign overview when I have a chance, but suffice to say, I’ve been working up something original of late and wanted to try it out. This was as good an opportunity as any.)
The new Kingmaker has been amusing. I’ve run this particular campaign a couple of times in the past, to varying degrees of success. The first time, it managed two sessions before the players went their separate ways. The second time, it was a weird, revolving door of guest shot players. This amounted to a campaign that had one central player, a couple of other players that managed several months of play, and assorted people that showed up once or twice before schedules removed them. It was actually rather weird, the attrition rate.
This past year has had its strange milestones, with finally purchasing a house, moving and finishing a novel. The house is still in a sort of perceptual limbo, where we haven’t exactly settled in as I would like, nor have we finished the repairs and remodels that I feel need to be taken care of. Paramount amongst these remodels is the project to create a new Library for my RPG books. It seemed like a simple matter of installing shelves and cabinets, but the inspection pushed us to tearing the floor out, pouring a concrete slab, and laying a new floor and carpet over that. Financial concerns slowed progress from there. I’m in the midst of installing shelves as we speak (a monetary gift from the in-laws helped on that count), and I figure to have a better estimate of actually finishing the project in the near future.
Similarly, the moving process has hit a point of stasis, as most of our possessions remain in storage for the time being. Since the Library isn’t done, the books remain scattered throughout the house in a disorganized state. This slows the ability to organize to a point where we can start properly unpacking, and so the dominoes continue to scatter.
And well, the novel waits for me to have the time to do the revision I think it needs to undertake before finding an agent. I have in mind some 20,000 words of new text, with an attendant amount of text to be cut and altered. In some ways, it’s good to have some distance from the text to allow my own biases to fade, but it is frustrating to know that it needs to proceed to the next phase even as I feel like I’m letting it sit and moulder. Soon enough, I’ll be returning to it and getting it ready to put on the market.
And almost as an omen, today I received a discounted version of the software that I used to write the damned thing. I had been considering buying a copy of the software over the last year or so, but I never quite got to the point of purchase. Through my contacts in the writers’ groups, I found myself availed of a discounted copy. It was almost as though I had a need to get back onto this particular saddle.
So, with this in mind, I figure I’ll dive back into the novel in the coming weeks, putting together the new scenes I have in mind to rebuild the slow beginning of the book even as I start the process of the second book and vignettes of a different series. I’m nothing if not ambitious.
Sadly, I doubt that will translate into more regular updates on this site, as I’ve found that I can seemingly do one or the other. If I’m fastidious about updating this site, I tend to neglect my own “serious” writing. And if I’m in a groove with that, I don’t find a lot of time to update things here.
Obviously, what I need to do is diversify my writing more. Since I can’t keep two balls in the air with any proficiency, then the logic follows that adding more things to my daily to-do list will end with inevitable failure and disappointment. And yet…
I’ve had the idea for a second blog for a little while. It’s no particular secret that I read a lot. I always have, and it’s only been when I have serious time conflicts that I slow down by any reasonable measure. If I’m not running through several books a week, I’m likely making it up with news stories or some new TV series that actually manages to distract me. The media that I consume tends to fuel my ideas for games, which in turn help to fuel my ideas for stories (the two aren’t far apart on my particular spectrum; it’s well known that I am more comfortable behind the screen than in front of it) and so on. And whenever I’m in the depths of a particular novel or Netflix binge, I tend to analyze just how I would adapt the material for a game.
Which is what the new blog is going to focus on.
Many role-playing games offer their own take on what media or source would be helpful in crafting stories and characters for the particular system. This stretches back to the infamous Appendix N of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide in 1979 and carries through in modern products. White Wolf, in particular, has done an admirable job of keeping the tradition alive in their products (but then again, they built their empire on Anne Rice, Robert McCammon and Neil Gaiman; it would have been disingenuous of them to not mention their sources), and it is this sort of idea that I dedicate my new site to.