Sunday, November 28, 2010
My job at Arkane Studios as a level designer has been fantastic. But things as fantastic as these come at a price, and right now that price is I had no desire to write. Beyond that, my contract with Arkane's parent company would limit my ability to distribute anything I do write to purely unofficial channels, such as posting them on my blog or some other website or forum. Let's not get into an argument here over if this is fair or not. It's a standard for many types of jobs in many industries that when you hire a full time designer you get dibs on all of his or her creativity and you don't like them throwing said creativity around willy-nilly. You also don't like them doing things that could wind up getting everyone sued. So, my distancing myself from the intellectual property owned by Square Enix Corporation should start to make sense now.
As it stands now, the print edition of COT-R is effectively canceled. COT2 is also canceled, though my plan is to somehow use the characters and plot at some point in the future for some non-Thief based work. My storybook projects with my sister can proceed, but will have to be done totally in her name. (I'm fine with this.) My other writing projects such as a continuation of the characters/plot introduced in Morden Wakes up are all going on the backburner with the speculative COT2 "reboot".
I'm going to be keeping this blog up (and semi-active) because I would like to see the work my sister and I did on the fairy-tale storybook "The Adventures of Clifton Thrift" come to something, though it will be a slow process.
So, that's that. As I mentioned before, my other blog is pretty active and I usually update it on the weekends with either a week-in-review style post or something bigger, like I did this weekend with the pro game design Q&A. Thanks for reading. I'll be around.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Some very enthusiastic reviews of COT have prompted me to dust off my ideas for COT2 and take a serious look at what I wanted to do with the project. Readers of this blog know that I was considering doing COT2 as a series of short stories. That idea has evolved, just a bit.
There's going to be three different phases of COT2. The first I am going to do, and am already doing. The second I will probably do. The third I might or might not do.
The first phase is the novellas. I have five of these planned, though I may not do all of them. Each will probably run around 100 to 200 pages long, and would be fairly stand alone, able to be read in any order, and without having read COT beforehand. While two of these will be rather fanficcy and delve head-first into Thief-Universe canon, three of them will be Thief-light, bearing little to no connection to the Thief games, though closely related to COT and even CoSaS. I am even considering doing with these what I decided not to do for COT - create additional versions of all five with no copyrighted Thief material in them at all, (replacing names of things, etc.) making them each stand alone, publishable novels.
The second phase will be the short stories that act as direct sequels to COT. In fact, fans of COT could probably even skip the novellas completely and just treat these as COT's sequel.
The third phase, which is still sketchy, would be a project more like COT itself. I could possibly write a short novel linking together the plots of the novellas and the short stories, laying the ground work for the probably-never-to-be-written COT3 which I nonetheless have fun thinking about.
Or none of this could happen! (Only it already has begun... I'm 50 pages into the first of the novellas now...)
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
It's great to have it all online finally, but I won't feel super-great until I've heard from some readers who have actually finished the whole thing. I know at least two are at chapters 19 or 20 or so, but I imagine most aren't nearly that far. I have one new reader who has been devouring the novel at two to four chapters a day (she started less than a week ago) so I have a feeling she'll be the first to make it to the end. (Maybe I can even talk her into writing a little review of it! Ooo.)
I want to give big news on the print version, but all I have are excuses. I want the fellow who is doing the fancy format job to get a chance to finish, but he's not the type that has a ton of free time. Lists of errors continue to flow in, so even after I have everything nice and formatted there's still going to be some time/work to see all of those edits done. Only two of the six covers are totally finished, with a third very nearly done and a forth started. So, as you can see, it's still going to be some time. It will happen, though.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Other updates... The formatter has been busy. I was sent another WIP of cover 2, which looks amazing. I've seen some concept designs for cover 3, which also looks promising. News when there's news!
How do you like the new design?
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
But by then I had made up my mind. I realized how important the scene was, and that it wasn't really doing the job I needed for it to do. So I dug in, deleting large portions of it and rewriting them. In the end, it was very easy to separate Sheam and Ghost from the existing text and completely rework the scene so that they were much more themselves. Once that draft was done, I showed it to my two critics. They felt it was much better! However the reader who liked it before was unhappy. She felt that it lacked what had made her enjoy the scene in the first place. So I slept on it.
The next day I tackled it again. With a few tweaks and edits, some additions and deletions, I sent it to all three of my helpful readers. I was finally happy with it, myself. The two critics though that the additional tweaks made it much better, and the original supporter now liked it again. Who says you can't please everyone? :P
Of course the work didn't end there. I had to edit three other sections to bring them up to date with the changes to that one (like I said, it was an important scene) which I think, all in all, improved those sections too. So, it was a win, win, win!
For those who already have read Chapter 2, the section in question is "Customer Service". I hope you'll take a peek at it to see what I've done with it.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
I am also taking an approach to the rewrite that does not demand a sequel. Nothing is being saved, or held back, because I will “get to it in the next book”.And now, that's true. I ended up peppering in the last few points and details I felt I needed to make into four areas in four different chapters, so there's no big info-dump of Lytha backstory just injected somewhere. It's presented when it's relevant, so it flows with the rest of the content. In the end not even 500 words were needed to get across everything I wanted. It doesn't tie up everything into a neat bow, of course. But it gives the answers to some burning questions that, in all fairness, the reader shouldn't have to wait for COT2 to have answered. They're relevant to this story, not the next one.
So, that's good.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I've been doing more than that, though. I mentioned previously that I was doing some additional work on later chapters, focused so far mostly on Chapter 8, and dealing with Sheam. Without giving too much away, the events in the original which were reformed into the events of Chapter 8 were truncated quite a bit, and one thing that never made it into the rewrite was any kind of information about Sheam's past, even how she was hired to work for Nightfall only several months ago. My reason? It wasn't very interesting! It wasn't important to the plot! It didn't drive the story forward! And so it never made it in, and Sheam became something of a mystery, the every-day person in the story, and yet with no past or background, whereas every other character has a great deal of past/background information given.
My inspiration to change that was twofold. On the one had, when thinking up stories I want to tell in COT2: Chronicles of Thieves (just wait, I'll change that title again...) the idea of Sheam's past came to mind. But the problem was the same - it's not very interesting. She's led a very normal, comfortable life, without much drama or strife. (Didn't know I was a poet, did you?) That, actually, furthered the argument for putting that information into COT-R.
Each character in COT-R goes through a particular kind of hell, and faces challenges greater than they've ever faced in their life. That's no less true for Sheam, and in many ways it's the most true for her. All of the other characters are used to danger and mortal peril and having to make life-or-death choices. It's normal for them. For Sheam, it's totally new. So with that realization, I knew that I had to present just how much of a contrast this is in her life. I knew I had to explain where she came from, not because it's important to the plot (it still isn't) but because it's a very important part of her character arc.
So I did it. Chapter 8 was ripe for it, not only because it was already highly Sheam-focused, but it ran rather short, and it already featured another several-pages-long flashback scene for another character. Thus, it fit. In the end, I think it adds a great deal of understanding for the challenges Sheam is facing.
I have another task though, which is more deeply rooted in something I don't want to put into COT2 than something I feel is missing from COT-R. It's a much bigger spoiler though, so I have to be a bit more vague here. It basically deals with a pivotal moment in Lytha's past which is hinted to a great deal but never enough so that the reader has enough information to understand exactly what happened. (If they figure it out, they're far, far smarter than the author!) I, again, was planning to turn this into one of the short stories for COT2, (one of the Chronicles, as it were) but it wasn't right to do so. Even though each story in COT2 will stand alone, I don't want any of them to be simply background information for COT-R and have nothing to contribute to Contravention of Thieves. There's really nothing about this bit of history that will have anything to do with anything in Contravention (still hesitant to call it COT3, I guess) so it really doesn't have any place in Chronicles, which will be subtitled as "From Correspondence to Contravention". It's quite, completely, and utterly part of Correspondence.
So now I am pondering how to work it in. It could either be a simple paragraph, or it could be an entire section. It depends on where I think it would fit best and how much it breaks up the flow and momentum of the story. As always, I will blog about it when I've done it!
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Here's the old one ...
Friday, April 16, 2010
Alas, still no word on the other five covers.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Other fixes were a bit bigger, and involved adding a bit more information when I assumed people knew what I was talking about. In the end I had a full page of notes of things to fix for these two chapters. Let's see how much I need to fix on the next one!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
Edit 1: The minor edits (mostly minor consistency edits which involved either changing one word or deleting a sentence or short paragraph) are all done. I've already begun doing the larger fixes, some of which have had some slightly surprising results. The scene where Jyre and Daelus meet for the first time in Chapter 1 got a very gentle but rather complete overhaul, mostly focusing on the priority of observations to seem more natural and less story-tellish. Chapter 2 is getting some much heavier edits, much of which is focused on the tone of some of Ghost's middle sections, where I think I strayed too far into the absurd rather than the dark comedy that he came to represent. For example, this is a paragraph that was cut.
The room seemed to be as I left it; the sink, tub, and can were all filthy, but didn’t seem to have body parts in them. That was stupid anyway; why would a zombie put its body parts into bathroom fixtures? I had this absurd thought in my mind of it trying to wash its hands, take a bath, or take a dump, and parts of itself falling off, and then realized I was probably crazier than most people told me.
While amusing, this sort of segue into maddness really didn't help move the scene forward, nor did it really add anything to Ghost's character other than that he's slightly nuts. Okay... TOO nuts. He's not really as nuts at that paragraph makes him out to be. The entire section that paragraph called home was scrapped and rewritten to, as I already said, move it from an absurd satire to more the realm of dark comedy.
Edit 2: Can you deal with more Lytha? I sure could. A 1000 word give or take addition to Chapter 2 gives us a few bits of highly concentrated totally new Lytha.
More to come!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I know I keep saying it, but the anticipation is making me a bit crazy. I haven't been working on COT-R for as long as I was on Mission X when that was released, but that still makes this my second-longest running project. Of course this project won't be finished until all of the books have been printed and bound, but publishing it online is certainly a good "beginning of the end" to mark.
Any day now... any day now.
Monday, March 15, 2010
So anyone wants to try and lend me a hand, drop me an email.
Actually while I am at it, if there's any self professed experts on British accents and dialects and the various ways to put into text the unique ways things are pronounced, I'd appreciate some assistance in that area too.
Always nice when that happens.
I hope to have more news on the covers soon.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Of course, the book version is still a bit off...
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Still no word on how the next proofreading draft (and last I hope) is going. I just need to call, but I ... just can't seem to bring myself to. There also hasn't been any movement on Compendium of Thieves (or Contravention) since I've been fully engrossed in more employment related activities. One of these days... one of these days.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I'm also thinking of annotating COT-O. Any thoughts on that?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I was still not content with the title "Circle of Tales" since I don't like double words in titles, and I intended to name one of the stories within it "The First Circle." The title Compendium of Thieves sprung to mind, which prompted me to find the exact definition of a word which I would have probably taken for granted.
So, I think it fits. But if I am going to use that format of a title, then I'll pretty much have to consider it COT2 and Contravention of Thieves to be COT3! It's a meaningless distinction in the end, since no books will have any form of "COTn" anywhere on them.
–noun, plural -di⋅ums, -di⋅a
1. a brief treatment or account of a subject, esp. an extensive subject; concise treatise: a compendium of medicine.
2. a summary, epitome, or abridgment.
3. a full list or inventory: a compendium of their complaints.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
But now I will probably take a break from writing to work on game design again. The only news I have about COT novels is that I've continued to develop the formatting for the short story collection, which I still think will be called Circle of Tales, but am not totally sure. The only thing I have to report there is that I've thrown out the "six books" idea and the list of stories it will contain has grown to eighteen. I've also thrown out the idea of making the order arbitrary. It will be for the most part, but some stories will definitely require reading previous ones to understand. I hate extensive recapping, especially within the same project! I'm going to let ideas for this project stew for a little before attempting anything, as sort of a quality control process. Ideas that I become less fond of over time will be thrown out, and new ideas added in. We'll see what happens.