Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Long Night

The Long Night, my first foray into fantasy has a history that is almost as long a checked as The Age of Chaos. Though I will try and encapsulate the whole story in a single post.

The genesis of the story doesn't come from literature or a movie, but a video game and not even one that involved swords and sorcery. It was in fact the airport level in Solider of Fortune 2, a military FPS title that planted the seed. In that level the basic gun load out his a pistol with a flashlight, to go with some of the dark areas of the level. This was a few years before Doom3 made it sheik and kind of aggravating. Around the same time another game came out, Neverwinter Nights. Neverwinter while a disappointing follow-up to Baulder's Gate 2 did come with the simplest campaign creation tool ever.

While building a town to set an adventure in, I started playing with the lighting tools and realized that I could sap all the light from the level making the player rely on a torch and little bits of fire. That pulled me back to that level in SOF2 with the flashlight. That town would become Hilltop, and the module would be Neverwinter Evil (Yes a reference to Resident Evil.) The basic plot for the Long Night was born then. Alex and I worked on the mod following the player as he tried to save the world, going from farmlands to Hilltop and then a crypt and the mountain, which is the basic movement of the book.

I abandoned the mod because well it sucked, what can I say game design isn't my strong suit, and it screamed out for a party, which Neverwinter didn't let you have, and was probably my biggest fault with the game.

Cut ahead to 2009 when BioWare again resurrected the story with the release of Dragon Age. In the spirit of Neverwinter Nights Dragon Age had a map editor and I wanted to bring what I was now calling The Darkener to that platform. I had a party system and a dark setting that worked much better with my story. So before the game came out I sat down and started outlining the plot the people, and the basic events that would happen, and drew a few maps here and there, about half a legal pad worth of notes. While waiting for the game to come out, I started writing the first few chapters of the story just to get a feel for the world that I was going to create. This would turn out to be the first three Alen chapters. I then sat this aside as the exercise had been fulfilled, I was making a game damn it not writing a book.

Once Dragon Age came out, I discovered that the tools were far more complicated then the ones for Neverwinter had been. So knowing that all trying to make The Darkener was going to produce was screaming and fights with Liz I sat it aside.

While waiting for Dragon Age to come out I started reading A Game of Thrones (if you haven't read this book, stop reading my blog and go read it.....OK so we are down to just people who have read GOT? good.) Anyway, after finishing Dragon Age I devoured the first four published books in the series.The utter brilliance that is George RR Martian made me want to write again.

That was when I picked up The Conflict Within again, and finished that ten year old battle.  I knew then that I didn't want to work on that. Sitting next to my computer was the legal pad with my game notes, and I already had about five thousand words of that written so it seemed like a better choice.

From their I dove in and finished the outline in tandem with writing the book, setting a date to finish the first draft by, and that was the release of God of War 3. I finished the first draft in February of 2010 and hope to publish my long gestating fantasy in late October, Halloween would probably be a great do to it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Age of Chaos Part 3

The climatic conclusion to the trilogy! OK not really, this is kind of like if Return of the Jedi ended with Luke falling in the Rancor pit, and we faded to black without any credits.

In 2001 I started writing screenplays, and sat the 50,000 odd words that I had to the side. Every few years I would get the itch to work on The Conflict Within again, and boot up my old Word document and add another two or three hundred words of people thinking about this battle that was about to take place. I never wrote the battle though. I had written it before in the very first computer draft, but this was always about as far as I ever got in the Age of Chaos.

So years past, I worked on other stuff, went through a long spell where I didn't write anything The Warcraft years. Then in 2009 that changed. I picked up the project again and in a fit of creative insanity, wrote that battle that I had been shifting and putting off for almost ten years. It was cathartic to say the least.  After doing that though I looked back at my outline, and looked at what I had and didn't feel so hot about working on a text that was that old fearing just how extensive the edit was going to be. So again in fear I sat it aside and picked up The Long Night which I had sitting to the side.

After Finishing the Long Night and then Killing to Know I decided to pick back up The Conflict Within. I modified my outline so that it was a bit more logical, filling in the plot holes left by 10th grade me. Then I started writing. The first thing I did was ditch the long galaxy as feudal Europe bit instead opting to do that scene in a very George RR Martian prologue style. (A link to the prologue will be at the bottom of the post) Then I kept going getting about 30,000 words done before I started to peter out again. Mostly I was questioning why I was working on a third manuscript when I had to finished ones that just needed to be edited.Of course I went off and write a third novel not two months after that, granted a 60k one off is less investment then a four part series which each book clocking in at 100k+.

So again I sat the Conflict Within aside, in the middle of a battle of all places, but not the same one thankfully that would have been a little to strange.

The Conflict Within Prologue

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Irene, and the joys of writing by hand.

So this weekend and probably the next few days will consist of picking up for hurricane Irene, and by picking up I mean living in my house like I'm camping. Only this camp out has running water but still a camp out none the less. Yesterday I had a desire to write, but couldn't keep working on Breaking Overnight because the power was out. So I got a candle, opened the window and opened the binder where I had been working on the first episode of The Long Winter and got writing.

The thing that I like about writing the old fashioned way with a pencil and sheet after sheet of collage ruled paper is that it feels more pure. I get to think about a sintace as I'm witting it, not after it is finished. This of course comes from the speed at which I can legibly write vs the super fast speed that I type. Not to mention its satisfying when 5600 words takes up 28 pages.

All I had was a Yankee candel for light.
I feel that at some point every writer should do some work by hand with paper wither it is copy editing with a red pen, or writing by hand, or heaven forbid using a typewritier. Side note I wrote a page of the very first draft of The conflict Within on a typewriter that my mom found in the attic. It was more a novelty then anything else, but the expereance of using it was a lot of fun. I also wrote the first like three pages of a WarCraft novel on that as well. (Back before WarCraft was the world).

I know that somebody is going to bring up the fact that I am an eBook advocate, who is advocating paper. Yes I am, soley from a writing standpoint. In the end I'll still polish on the computer and prefer to read it off my Nook then a massive printed tome.

It is cathartic to think that I spent three hours writing what normally would have taken me twenty minutes of good work to get done. Now that I'm going back and typing what I had writen, some of that stuff is really good. On the other hand some of the sentaces kind of get lost as they get longer. Clearly I lost the idea before I could finish. All and all it is an expereance that I plan to repet a few more times, though this time with power. I finished the first episode of The Long Winter the day the power came back on, and the ruff word count during the ten days without power is 10,000.