WIP-it Wednesday: November 9th, 2016


Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!

It’s been a full and creative week this time around. Things started off on a bad foot, with my wife and I both getting stuffy and sore-throated the day after Halloween. The first cold of the season always comes with a sense of dread and I prepared for the worst, but the affliction never progressed beyond a sniffle and low-energy for me. My poor wife however, who’s asthmatic, got very sick indeed and missed several days of work because of it.

As I served Kim orange juice and picked-up her share of chores so she could rest at ease, I was contacted by Ben Van Dongen. Ben’s a frequent reader of my blogs and I of his, and he asked me if I would like to kick-off next year’s “Fifth Monday” chain-serial on the Adventure Worlds story blog. The idea is that one author starts a story with one written section, then hands it off to another to write the next. They in turn leave the responsibility of the part after theirs to yet another author, and so on until it’s done.

This is all accomplished with minimal or no communication between the contributors, so the ultimate result is unknown until the very end.

It sounded like a fun idea to me, so I agreed to get things started and float the boat out with a twenty five hundred words or less opener. I’ve already mulled over a few ideas I like that I think will create a nice springboard for others to build on! But I have no plans to write it until December when I should have the first draft of Vivian’s Last Cigarette done.

A few days later, I was contacted by a friend in regards to an idea he had for PortCon 2017 that will happen in June of next year. As some of you may recall, I had a lot of fun at this year’s PortCon creating and game-mastering a number of role-playing games. Chris is a veteran game master and regular at the event, and he wanted to explore the idea of running a “collaboration game”. The basic concept is that we each start a separate game with independent teams of players, then we merge the two games to run a huge, epic climax collaboratively.

I thought that would be an awesome event to run for the convention, and we started brainstorming immediately on Friday afternoon. Chris and I share a love for the franchises popular in our youth, and also see the value in running RPG-one shots that cater to fandom members likely to be attending a geek-culture celebration. With that in mind, by Saturday we had started to explore a crossover idea involving Alien, Predator and… G.I. Joe! ;-)

Aliens vs. Predator Group Photo by Josh Ng
Aliens vs. Predator Group Photo by Josh Ng

Alien/Predator crossovers are nothing new. But Chris’ idea to throw the 1980s toy juggernaut of G.I Joe into the mix really surprised me with how well the three properties coalesced into a solid scenario.

knowingBoth Aliens and Predator are films with strong military overtones, pitting comparatively modern human soldiers against other-worldly menaces. So G.I. Joe slid neatly into the themes of both. As a triad, the three together retained the strengths that made the franchises originally work, while at the same time adding new angles.

Sunday I found myself jotting down ideas excitedly, which turned into a thousand word treatment for the game. I think it could become a super fun event for the con next year. :-)

Finally, the weekend also found me starting chapter fifteen of Vivian’s Last Cigarette! Even with everything else I mentioned going on, I still made good progress. Saturday I began with a little re-writing of a minor supporting character, then I wrote about twelve-hundred new words. Sunday I swept through what I had crafted the day prior, revising and editing a fair amount before ending at close to sixteen hundred words into the new chapter for the weekend.

The novel is definitely into its falling action. However, I’m sure there will still be lots of questions left in the reader’s minds when they get there… And I’m having fun answering them bit by bit as I start to wrap things up. :-) I’m also happy with the way I’m still able to reveal new character developments and wrinkles in the final chapters of the book. I think that these last challenges, answers and surprises will keep the pace going right until the end.

Another thing that I’ve enjoyed in getting back to writing the novel proper is returning with some humor. Chapters ten to fourteen, the climactic chapters, have been quite serious. Even dire. There are a few bursts of humor to break tension here and there, and I think they were even stronger contrasted as they are against the serious tone. However, the comedy beat between Viv and Gronk that grew in the first nine chapters was absent. The explanation for that  is simple: The climax is about them getting separated and the uncertainty of if they will ever see each other again.

Now that the above question is answered, these two are right back at it! It’s good times. ;-)

And now it’s time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!

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