Monstrous baby steps.

Monstrous baby steps.My Monstrous! short stories have been published on the Good Games Publishing site. These stories accompany their 2016 card game: Monstrous! and were written to evoke an emotional response within the context of the game’s world. What a fabulously fun job this was, the game takes place in ancient Greece, so there was a wealth of mythology to draw upon. The flavour of the game stated that the Gods were cross with the populace, and wished to frighten them back into worship. I felt therefore, that it would be fun to get inside the lives of these individuals as they encounter Gorgons, Hydras and the Minotaur.

With Raez publishing’s Rogue Blitz soon to hit the Kickstarter shelves, it’s going to be an exciting few months. Seeing my work add to the worlds created by these game designers is very rewarding. Hopefully, it can touch a few gamers and make their experience even better. Ultimately, it puts my work out there and encourages other designers to trust me with their product.

More Monstrous! talk? …go on then: August 4th – 7th will see me at GenCon in Indianapolis. I’ll be on the Good Games Publishing booth talking to folk about this amazing card throwing game. As it happens, prior to this event I have need of ‘wasting a few days in the USA.’ An overwhelming problem to have, right? So much choice. As a weird-fiction writing nerd, however, there is only one destination: Providence.

I plan to take a couple of days in the great North-East, earbuds in ears, wandering the streets of Lovecraft, listening to the audio guide. Brown University, Lovecraft’s family home, H.P’s grave site: ‘I am Providence’ and of course 135 Benefit Street, the original Shunned House. What to expect? I have no idea, but I’ll leave some updates and photos here.

It’ll be weird…with a bit of luck.

Back to the Weird: The French Singer

The French SingerTime to return to the weird. Rogue Blitz has been completed, thanks to some excellent feedback from my trusted readers (A big gold star sticker to Aksel, especially). Some of the oversights in my edit were embarrassing, but we got there. With that story folded into a tidy email and posted off to Raez publishing, I can muse on my own creations again.

In October last year, I wrote a large portion of a story while on a plane. The first draft came back to Perth with me and disappeared beneath the work for Monstrous and Rogue Blitz. In the last fortnight, I fished it out and got stuck in.

The tale remains nameless, but it’s one I’m genuinely invested in. If I were a needy pop star, I would say the work is a personal statement, I have been brave and exposed my inner workings, I am very naked on this album…but who would talk like that <ahem>. What I probably want to express in this story is a feeling of getting older, desperation against the rat race, a search for value, fatherhood, and a recognition that some simple things can be heart-warming.

Please do not misunderstand my intentions, it’s not self-help drivel. This month has been overwhelming with the number of writers I’ve seen plugging miserable anecdotes about personal struggles. Such articles are usually accompanied by a photograph of the author looking mellow, bathed in sunlight, a knowing smile on their lips, arms folded, ‘…I’ve been through so much. Let me share.’

Let’s play. Let’s pretend. Let’s walk somewhere magical…

As it is now, the ending to my newest story makes me well up. When my wife read it, she said, stony-faced, ‘It’s you.’ Bloody hell, she was supposed to be in tears. Perhaps what I feel when I write this story is not yet on the page. Perhaps, it never will be. That is the struggle to become skillful in the art. Evoke the correct emotion, at precisely the right time, and move your audience.

My aspirations for this story – let’s call it, ‘The French Singer’ for now – is that it will be a story I can push down more commercial avenues than those available to my current fiction. I hope it may sneak into some competitions disguised as self-actualising shite, but then surprise a few judges with a touch of magic.

…high aspirations are back on the table it would appear.

Rogue Blitz Short Story Development.

Rogue Blitz Short Story

Completion of a first draft for the ‘Rogue Blitz‘ short story happened today. That’s the forthcoming board game from Wes Lamont’s publishing brand, RAEZ games. The story is very much out of my usual genre. It involves flying machines that go head-to-head with a titan-of-the-air bad-guy. The product, for which it is intended to support, has all of the action taking place within the game. So to take it beyond that, and add a layer of depth not already present, I’ve hopefully made some interesting choices.

It will probably be regarded as a sci-fi story. I broke out the Asimov reading to get in the mood. However, I tried to avoid the trappings of the genre. No lists of tech-babble, although, I have attempted to use dialogue that incorporates slightly futuristic perspectives and expectations. For example, my narrator complains about a forty-five-minute commute from Indonesia to Europe. The comment is made in passing and, hopefully, illustrates that travel has become quicker – but the human experience is still the same. I like to think that this passage also avoids a stream of superlatives about the vehicle in which they travel.

My experience of writing this story has been a tad more terrifying than my usual weird-spook-fests. I’m outside a comfort zone that I didn’t know existed. Of course, I’m looking forward to getting right back into my cob-webbed filled genre. Perhaps I’ll take my time on the return voyage. I could finish that other ‘accessible’ story, that I’ve mostly completed, before sinking my fangs into something horrific. Perhaps…

In the meantime, inspired by Noah Bradley’s time-lapse of himself doing digital artwork. I made this video: A man writing for several hours. It looks like I read aloud or, at least, mouth what I’m reading? This is why writing is a solitary pursuit.

In and out of the labyrinth

cogsIt has taken some time to wander back here…I have been lost in the labyrinth of ancient Greek mythology. The designers at Good Games Publishing got in touch with me. They were seeking some written material for their card game, ‘Monstrous’. At present the game only exists as a news-feed on their website: SecretbaseGames. The game has been successfully Kickstarted and will see retail shelves in 2016.

They asked for some narrative excerpts and flavour-text to colour the game’s world. The goal of this project was to help immerse the player in the emotional tension and consequences of upsetting Zeus. After all, games are usually a matter of mechanics and maths before the artwork and story are added. So, what a great opportunity.

I seized the chance and started researching the premise of their game, ancient Greek mythology, and everything about how ancient Greeks lived. I had hoped to be able to link to my work on their site, but it’s not available yet. The work is submitted – it’s pretty cool and I have had fabulous feedback. Once it is published, I’ll cite the link on this page.

Currently, I’m working with a local game designer on a short story to accompany his forthcoming release in 2016. More on that as it comes to hand.

Is that the sound of cogs starting to turn? It’s definitely the creaking of my writing CV expanding.