Probably been a little bit longer than six months, but either way it is definitely longer than I wanted between updates.
And I only have myself to blame.
Being unable to focus on finishing my writing is one of the most frustrating aspects of my life. I occasionally talk to other writers who make me feel a little better about myself, if it takes them five or six years to figure out how to finish a book then that means I’m not too unusual, but it doesn’t ease the frustration that builds up. Especially when I know one of my big problems. I get distracted.
See, I actually had a pretty good run of writing, for me at least. I did a good chunk of consolidating for my DnD world Arista (building connections and groups for the various pantheons and powers), homebrewing a class or two, writing some new adventures and in story writing I actually have around 90 pages written. Unfortunately that 90 pages is over 4 different stories, and I’ve got another 3 on back burners that I feel like I can still work on. If I figure out a few issues… like plot.
My brain just keeps constantly flitting around new ideas, and it jumps ahead of where I’ve written, making me feel like the path is set and then I agonize over how to reach the markers I’ve set while the story writhes in my hands like a greased snake.
I’m not giving up, but with nothing far over 30 pages, what can I post that won’t just frustrate people who have to wait years to find out what happens? Until I can get things under control and moving at a consistent pace it just doesn’t feel fair to post.
But, I also don’t want to just whine and complain, and leave people with nothing. So… why not some brief thoughts on what I do have in the pipe?
My biggest influence recently have been LitRPG books. Most of them seem to come from MMO fans (which I am not) but I am a gamer and seeing the melding of game with story is fascinating, additionally it opens up options to me. I need to build a magic system if I am going to make a magical world, but what if it is a literal system? There are three major ways I’ve taken this.
The first is a title I’m currently calling “Dark Contract”, and it takes place in a world that was taken over by benevolent AIs. Really, the AIs are an excuse to have a vibrant virtual world and a reason for there to be real-world stakes to the character’s success or failure. It is based around the idea that as long as the day to day doesn’t change too much, and we can still struggle and succeed, then people wouldn’t really protest too much over whether the world was lead by a bunch of people or by an AI with our best interests in mind. The actual story follows a guy with an ambitious plan to take advantage of an oversight those in the fantasy sector of America have made. If it succeeds he’ll have unique access to an entire islands worth of untouched content.
In the same AI world I’ve got something I’m debating about calling “Dark War” which instead focuses on a guy seeking a job at a company, working in their WWII sector, but he instead gets assigned to a Wolfenstein/Mad Science division. It is really rough right now, as translating leveling mechanics into a game with guns and keeping it feeling gritty is hard. I know a few systems that do so, but finding references (and deciding if all sectors of AI world should be compatible) is keeping my plot on hold.
Moving away from AI world, I have a setting set in another dimension, overseen by an multi-dimensional being known as the Overlord. I’m calling this setting “The Splintered Lands of Zaurak” currently, and I have two stories here, stemming from different thoughts.
“The Primal Dungeon” was the second Zaurak story I started, but the idea has been with me for a while. One of the sub-genres of LitRPG I absolutely adore is the Dungeon Core stories, where a powerful spirit controls a territory, building it and the monsters inside to face various threats. This isn’t my first Dungeon Core attempt, though it is my most developed so far, but it is one that plays on a big thing of mine. When reading these stories I often ask “what would I choose”. And, after seeing a host of different creatures used as terrifying enemies, there was only one that I wanted to see brought to the fore. Spiders. Massive, elementally charged and nightmare inducing spiders. Primal doesn’t start out that way, but it is going to end up there, and I’ve really enjoyed building some of these elements. Even if it was very math intensive (multiplicative gains get very big very fast)
The first Zaurak story though, was “Goddess of Flames” and it stemmed from a very different frustration and realization of mine. In most of the LitRPG stuff I’ve been reading, the main character is either a mage or a gish. I’ve very very rarely seen a story about a priest. In fact, in a lot of fantasy, you rarely see priests as main characters. So… I wanted to write a story about a guy from our world being forced into the worship of a goddess, and dealing with this fantasy world. I’ve done a lot of interesting work with the larger world and the people in it, but the story itself is still very rough and I’m not happy with the pace or the flow.
Then, I have a long term idea that I finally started. “The Witch against the World”. I wanted a story where the main character is the villain, a villain who was defeated and left nearly broken. A villain who realizes that there are deeper games at play in the world instead of who has the most magical power, and carves out a kingdom. A game of ancient beings and politics. A game she is going to start playing as well. I frankly love where I’m going with it, and the world is slowly coming together. My biggest problem I realized with it was that my original conceptions were moving the plot far too quickly. I wasn’t giving her time to recover and get the reader used to her before things started hitting the fan. I like my new plan, but it hits some snags in the flow and in the fact that I want to hurry up and get to the next part. But, I’ve got to take it slow and build it up or the whole thing is gonna collapse on me. It is also my only non-LitRPG at the moment, but that has made the magic system far harder to figure out for me, and I’m still toying around with some really important concepts that are going to need to be ironed out before I reach some key scenes.
And… that should cover everything I’ve been working on. Hopefully this will give me a kick to start in on some of this again, and I’ll have something before another six months is out, but I won’t make promises I can’t keep. The only promise I will keep is that this isn’t the last you have heard from me.