July 22, 2011
The Other Write Meat
I've been a huge fan of pen and paper role-playing games for a long time now. They were a perfect fit of fun, and well... games, and a chance to work on writing, storytelling, world-building, and audience involvement. My game company of first choice has always been Palladium Books®, almost entirely due to its owner and chief author, Kevin Siembieda. Kevin said in some interview or the like somewhere that "RPGs are, after all, part novel, part text book, part instruction manual, part art book and all imagination." You can just see where I get my eclectic creative drives that just can't seem to stay in one single vein. I don't know where I would be without the hobby. As I said it kept me writing, creating, dreaming while awake, even while I tried to learn and utilise a quicker path to a lucrative skill set. Without them I'd have been in the audience only for years.
I've been thinking about of this all because I have an urge to advocate the purchase and consumption of role-playing games by fiction authors. One doesn't need to actually play them or figure out the rules or anything like that. Most are settings books, though you can find more technical ones. They have places, people (from archetypes to individuals to nations and beyond), conflicts, plot hooks, and overall ready-done research. They do have to be treated like reading other people's books, which is to say as inspiration rather than a source out of which to lift elements directly. Then again you can't exactly plagiarise reference books either, so this shouldn't be a foreign idea. There are even books on game design that cover everything you might need to build your own settings, mythoi, and all the nitty-gritty. Call this my advocacy right here.
Music: Rag Doll by Aerosmith.
July 15, 2011
Taking a Swing At It
There was a point where I told myself that I would not be one of those authors who write about fictional authors. I may still stick with that, but as far as non-fiction goes I do not know if I could not talk about authoring. I was struck by a particularly author-ly thought while writing for one of my other blogs. I always brainstorm these grand topic ideas where I am going to spend a good chunk talking about idea x. Then I get writing and idea x gets summed up neatly in a line or two. It feels kind of like a let down. Where is the bulk, the heft? It's in there, but it's small and compact. I will have been blogging for six years on August 12th. I hope I've learned a thing about brevity and concision in that time. After blogging for a while I always marvelled at what it took to wrangle in a paragraph to the size I prefer for my blogs. Now I frequently just come up short at the right length.
I do like to ramble. I like to attack an idea from multiple angles and harry it until I feel I covered everything I want to pass on about it to the audience. Sometimes you just have to let go though. Sometimes it's for the best to say the most salient bits and then move on. After all there are as many topics to cover as there are stars in the sky, especially when you take into account all of the aspects of each one to cover. This reminds me of a bit of conversation about how there just isn't enough time and the second person responds asking how much time for what, with the implication that most of it doesn't matter, focus on what matters. For some, like me, and chances are good, like you, what matters is what we're doing. If everything I write about, blog about, and think about didn't matter I wouldn't be doing this. If I'm not satisfied with it I don't expect you to be satisfied either.
Music: Elysium by Stratovarius.
July 8, 2011
Submission Mission Or Not
Hello and welcome to a special Inchoate Ascendant. As you know Killing Time - Horror E-Rag completed it's run of Year 3 issues. That ended completed issues that only needed a spit shine and hammering into magazine and then PDF shape. Throughout the three years of the E-Rag I wrote everything from start to finish. With the completion of the backlog I came to a decision point. Do I continue on or do I quit? Some might point to the financials of producing and selling the magazine as the indicator of whether to continue or not. That is hardly a satisfying way to decide. Anyone can look to the numbers as an excuse to give up. Is it worth it though is not a question that I want to base on numbers, even aside from the fact that numbers and I do not get along under the best of circumstances. I had to decide quickly before rolling the final issue out so I could give people a heads up.
If you do not by now, I suggested that there will be a Year 4 and it might land in late September or early October. What no one knows until reading this now is that I am more than seriously considering opening up Killing Time to submissions for short stories. That opens up a whole host of serious questions. The first question is will there be enough interest? That is dependant on the second question, which is are people willing to contribute to a publication that pays little to nothing? Even if authors are not part of the profit cycle initially they still want to know about how large an audience they are going to be put out before. So, other questions aside, do you think it is worth my while to open to outside submissions? Will authors be interested in submitting for the credit alone?
I have considered paying royalties or profit sharing. In that case authors have to believe that I am honest in my reporting and that there will be enough copies sold. That is the one place where the author may actually share in the responsibility. Right now it is only me, and some occasional help from friends in letting people know the magazine is even out there. Anyone submitting to a publication like this should help advertise it even if they are being paid, after all they will want people to know they have been accepted somewhere and they will want to be as widely read as possible. Of course I could just stay the course and produce it all from start to finish like I have so far. Or I could even let it stand at only three years. I have to make the decision quickly because that release date will come sooner than I might like otherwise.
Have your say.
Music: Run Silent Run Deep by Iron Maiden.
Name: Robert G. Male
Location: Ontario, Canada
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