I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a short story written from Brendan’s point of view. It takes place during the span of time when Saeli is missing from Aschamon, just before she makes her reappearance. I’m planning to enter it in the Writer’s Digest contest, as well as one other (that isn’t picky about simultaneous submissions). If it places, I’m hoping it will generate interest in Hands, Like Secrets.
My other big project this last week was overhauling the bestiary of Amphitere’s Vision. I’ll talk about that in a separate post.
I have also decided to change the format of the game from computer-based to table-top. Because getting a computer game concept into the right hands is next to impossible for someone like me. If you want to create a game, you essentially have to work for a game company. There really isn’t a clear avenue of gatekeepers for ideas from outside the industry. However, if I go table-top, I will essentially be able to self-publish the concept and rules. I don’t have to worry about the look of the finished product, or about handing stuff over to a company or a programmer. I don’t have to invent every single little rule and quest and NPC and outcome for every single scenario that could possibly happen in the world, because I can leave most of that in the hands of the individual GMs who run campaigns. I think the move makes sense. And later, if someone wants to pick it up and make a computer game out of it…hey, I won’t complain
I will have to reacquaint myself with GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System) in order to set up the dice rolling and gameplay rules. GURPS is the most straightforward and flexible system that I’m aware of (D&D is a mess and copyrighted besides, and I don’t want to have to invent a system from scratch).
I’ve changed the title of one of my stories. “Empty Eyes” is now “Dog Prince”. The sorcerers of that world have tamed these giant desert jackals, which they use both as horses and as guard dogs. The rest of the world, that hates and fears magic anyway, thus disparagingly calls anyone who can use magic a “dog”, after the jackals the sorcerers ride. Since Arav was heir to the throne before getting disowned, and then joins the sorcerers and discovers that he can use magic himself…kind of makes him a dog prince. I’ve also decided this is an adult story as opposed to a YA. Only because of tone and mood, not content! 😉
The other major change I’ve made to the queue has to do with Windwaker. I’m…removing the main character and replacing him with a girl. Because I think there aren’t enough stories where a girl goes on a sword and wits adventure by herself. And I mean one that doesn’t end with her meeting a prince and falling in love. I want to write an adventure where a young woman takes the Hero’s Journey, not as an accessory or “helper” to a man but on her own, and becomes the Windwaker herself…not just a prince’s bride.
This is something that I struggle with as a writer. As much as I don’t want to insert an “agenda” into my stories, the more I learn from blogs and online people about privilege and minorities and other viewpoints…the less I can ignore them in my writing. Yes, I originally wanted to write Windwaker about a male, but I cannot help but realize that if I do so, I will be unconsciously reinforcing the stereotype that only boys can have adventures. And I don’t want to do that. So I will write the same story, only about a girl. Because if authors write stories about boys who have adventures that aren’t about falling in love, then they should do the same for girls. Otherwise, girls may take away the subconscious message that the greatest adventure their gender is capable of is love and marriage…and it makes the girls who find swords more fascinating than boys feel like there’s something wrong with them.
Another example of this interplay of privilege and writing is that most of the relationships in my stories tend to be heterosexual. It’s what I know. But I cannot in good conscience deny the fact that gay people exist, and I feel that ignoring them in my writing is really not much better than ignoring them in real life. So in stories where they fit, I deliberately insert gay characters or have characters deal with homosexual people, not because it’s “politically correct” or to promote a positive or negative view of homosexuality…but because homosexual people are first and foremost people, and writing is about people. I don’t get to write stories with no gay people just because I’m straight, in the same way that I don’t get to write stories with no men in them just because I’m a woman, or no people of color just because I’m white. I have to make myself write such characters because I know I don’t do it naturally…and I don’t think the fact that certain thinking doesn’t come natural to me is an excuse to not do it. Not all of my readers will share my gender, race, or orientation, and I don’t think it’s fair to pretend, intentionally or not, that they and their struggles don’t exist or aren’t worth talking about.
So, Meghan Iris McKenna was born this last weekend. She’s a drummer from a religious town and a family that doesn’t think drums are a “proper” instrument for a girl to play, and that women have no business in leadership of any kind. I’m shelving the character Quintin for now, but he’ll probably show up in a different story that calls for an introverted geek. I rather like him.