I made solid progress on writing projects this week, and completed a couple side-quests along the way!
The bonus-missions were PortCon 2020 setup related, acting as an agent and representative of the RPG staff in an exciting development for next-year’s convention. It was fun, but hopefully it will also be my last extracurricular con-mitment until 2020 actually rolls around. ;-)
Groundwork on the publishing business continues. We decided on a name, Blue Boar Press, and created accounts for it on IngramSpark and PayPal. That moment made the situation feel very real, in a good way, as all the planning and talk in the world about something doesn’t compare to the actual moment of beginning it.
The name has special meaning and history for me: The Blue Boar Guild was my adventuring group on the now long-defunct and lost Gemynd Online website, which ran a turn-based, fantasy, play-by-web game known as The Nyctean Campaign. It ran from 2002 until 2006, and I was a part of it from nearly its start until it ended.
This wasn’t an animated video game like World of Warcraft, Nyctea was entirely text-and-code-based, running turns you could submit ahead of time once weekly. It was a lot like old-school play-by-mail games like Hyborian War, which I played and adored for a few years between 2000 and 2002. You really needed to use your imagination with it, and a number of us that played wrote stories of our character’s in-game adventures on Gemynd’s now equally long-gone message board forum where I was sometimes referenced and known as “The Notorious B.B.G.”
Eventually, mine was the top ranked party in the game. But these were also hard years for me personally and creatively, as I was in an emotionally abusive relationship and marriage at the time.
The message boards for Nyctea kept the flame and hope alive for me that one day I could become a writer. Sharing the stories of my character’s exploits there, and the enjoyment people expressed with them, kept me going even as my (later) ex-wife expressed how she thought they were crap and I was wasting my time.
I got divorced shortly after Nyctea was replaced and rebooted as the Scandiaca Campaign, and as I rebuilt my life for the better after the divorce I lost touch with Gemynd Online and stopped playing. Most of the other original players I knew also drifted away from the game at the same time, and when I tried to look it up again years later, the website was gone.
I still remember the B.B.G. fondly, and it played a very important role in helping to keep my dreams alive and to hold things together. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that game and its community. Thus, I decided on Blue Boar Press as the business name to honor those roots of mine, and tap that magic and hope. Plus, I think it just has a nice ring to it. :-)
(Side note: Any of you that read my Night Wings serial know that two of the protagonist superheroes are named Nyctea and Scandiacus… Yes, those are little tributes to Gemynd Online.)
Alright, getting back to events of this week…
My wife also pulled more of her tools and working space together for our endeavor. We purchased licensed versions of the Affinity Publisher and Affinity Designer software, which she’ll use to create print and electronic versions of my works for sale. She did a lot research before picking the products based on her experience as a typesetter and graphic designer, and thus far she’s been impressed with them.
In addition, we acquired more key physical items for her computer area, such as an excellent keyboard and supremely comfortable office chair.
On the authorly side of things, I found myself dissatisfied with how the new simplified style of my Night Wings rerun vignettes looked after seeing them up live. This prompted some experimentation, and from that I discovered a new method that provides the presentation I wanted. Moreover, it’s a quicker and simpler technique than the (already quick) one I switched to in April, looks noticeably better, and offers more finishing options and variety. I’ve started using it this week for all my future Blackboard Vignettes going forward. You’ll start seeing those here next month, and it should shave even more off their production time that I can then shift towards writing instead.
An internet outage put the kibosh on my writing before 9 pm Saturday night, but I was also fighting exhaustion from several late nights I’d had prior at the same time. So I took it as a sign to catch-up on rest and make a refreshed effort Sunday. This worked out well, and I spent the last half of the weekend doing heavy edits and rewrites to Angel, the short story I’m publishing in September.
Angel was written almost four years ago, and I’ve grown a lot as a writer since then. I knew it would need editing work to bring it up to my current standards, but I was thinking that would be mostly dialogue touch-ups. Instead, I found an inconsistent narrative and numerous places in the story I can now rewrite to tell it better. I spent all of Sunday reworking the first 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the story, staying up to 2 am Monday morning.
Yeah, getting up at 5 am and working the day-job thereafter sucked… but I was on a writer’s high because I think the tale is being much improved. The story hasn’t grown much beyond its original 5,000-word length, as I’ve been cutting nearly as much as I’m adding. That may change if I decide to extend the ending to become the version I’d intended for it originally, but didn’t write to keep it under a word count requirement for a contest.
On Monday I also received concept sketches from Kate for Angel cover ideas. Although I was exhausted, I was also in the perfect headspace to consider them for the story. I made my pick — there was one really good idea that stood out in the batch — and now it’s that exciting time when I get to watch her work magic transforming rough lines into finished art.
Have a great week everyone, and keep writing!
~Jason H. Abbott