From The Fishbowl

Scribbles about stuff

I (Sometimes) Keep My Promises


I said yesterday that I would have EXCITING NEWS. I said that it would be exciting to me and probably no-one else, and that remains the case. But I want to say it. I figure that it worked with Not Quite Normal, it’ll work with this.

Basically, I want to tell you what I’m up to.

A little while back, I said that I had several projects to work on. One of these is something only a handful of people will care about. As you may or may not know, I’ve been playing pen and paper RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons for the past few years. One of the stories in Not Quite Normal, The Well of Wisdom came about through a campaign that I was DMing (Dungeon Mastering) and, basically, making up as I went along. Since then, some of the members of my group and I have been playing a different RPG called Pathfinder. It’s excellent, but it would be hard for me to explain why unless you know the intricacies of the D20 system. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that you’re probably not.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I started creating a new fantasy world for it, completely of my own doing. And as I started to work on it, I realised that it had a lot of potential for all sorts of things. So one of my projects is thus: I am creating an open source fantasy world.

By that, I mean that I am going to create the world in as much detail as I can. But at the same time, a lot of history and so on will be left blank. The world will, in essence, be half-finished. And anyone who chooses to use the world, be it as a campaign setting for an RPG, as a location for short stories, or just to help make it, whatever, all of this will help to build it. In short, the history of that world will be etched by the people of this one. And it will all be available for free under a creative commons licence. I think it’s a cool idea. Whether it’ll work or not is another matter, but I think it can. I don’t have a timeframe on it, it is a massive undertaking, and at some stage I will likely need help with it, but it is still a project I’m determined to see to the end.

Another project I’m working on is slightly more outside my expertise. A little while ago, a friend of mine approached me with an idea for…actually, I’m not too comfortable talking about this one. But it involves scripts and actors and cameras and stuff. The central idea is cool, and we’re hoping to kick it into top gear over the summer. This is probably the shortest-term project, although it still won’t see an end until later in the year at the earliest. Watch this space I guess!

Last but not least is what I’ve been spending most time on over the past couple of weeks. Obviously, it cannot have escaped your notice, that I wrote a short story collection called Not Quite Normal, and released it. It’s gone down pretty well (two copies sold, well over a hundred free downloads thus far – I wouldn’t object to more, mind you, see the Not Quite Normal page on this blog for more info!). I mentioned that in the making of it there was a character that I took a shine to. If you’ve bought Not Quite Normal, you should recognise his name. It’s Ankou.

Ankou is based on a real-life Celtic demi-god who was, essentially, a grim reaper. And that’s what he remains in the two stories that feature him – St. Martin’s Eve and The Helper. As I wrote him, I realised how much potential he had as a character. And an idea started to bubble in the cauldron of my mind. An idea for a novel. My novel. Note the emphasis. The novel that I can shop around, show to publishers in the hope of, well, publication. A pipe dream, sure, but the world would be boring without dreams, right?

The world would be equally be boring without death…

This being me, I’m not going to write it in secret. I want to talk you through every gory detail on this blog, keep a diary of my progress, and generally tell people how it’s all going. For now it is the tale of three characters – Ankou, Kara and Tom – and the devastating impact that death and all its forms plays on their lives, currently called This Immortal Coil. Fantasy world aside, it’s the most ambitious thing I’ve ever even thought about writing. I’m sure, well, I hope, I can do the story justice. I won’t be publishing it as a complete eBook, but I might put snippets up now and then as tasters. It’ll take a while to get done to a decent standard – again, if you’ve bought Not Quite Normal you’ll see how much I draft and re-draft – but it’ll be done. And I hope you’ll join me along the way. That would be nice.

So. A fantasy world. A script. And a novel. Three completely different chunks of creative projects that will earn me absolutely no money (at first, anyway!) but will certainly keep me occupied. Does that make me a proper writer? That would be nice.

Thanks, as ever, for reading.

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