I’m between projects right now, or rather I’m between phases of projects. I finished the first draft of my first complete novel a few weeks ago. Most of it was written in scribbled ink on hundreds of loose-leaf sheets. The typing is slow, so there will still be some time before I start editing. Ditto for my newest story featuring the character, Os. The chronologically first story, The Hzeen, in this series appears in Nonlocal Science Fiction #3. With the rights returning to me next month, I can compile all of the stories into a collection, when I hope to self-publish them.
So, what now? Hmmmmm…not sure. I know there will be writing. Most of what I write happens during my lunch breaks at work. Some of it might get published in my blog. Some time will hopefully be spent writing short stories that will get submitted to publishers. I would love to dive into the next Os tale, but the last turned out to be so lengthy that I want to outline any others I write. Other writing will likely be background information, character sketches, and other ancillary work. Unless I can make it interesting without plot details, I won’t make it public. I don’t know too many people who would find that stuff to be compelling reading material.
I recently started playing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign with some friends. We use Skype, since we live hundreds of miles from each other. I hadn’t played D&D for 30 (gasp!) years, even though we had been playing other RPGs for years through the power of the Internet. I knew it would be fun, but I underestimated just how invested I would become in the characters and story. You see, this is Basic, not Advanced D&D. It was made to be light on rules and complications, with an emphasis on combat and treasure. In fact, those are the only things that are really supposed to matter in the game, almost more like early RPG video games before the writing became so much better. Character death is so likely that my Dungeon Master suggested I create four characters before we started playing. They’re meant to replace each other like paper towels from a roll. In our first adventure, nearly half of our party died, either in combat or unlucky rolls of the dice. Neither I nor the other player lost his character, but it could easily have happened. Now our characters have leveled up, and I have become proportionally more attached to my third-level cleric, Brother Wayne.
As a joke, I wrote a letter from Brother Wayne to his superior at their monastery and shared it with my Dungeon Master. The letter summarized his adventures and the hints of those to come. I say it was a joke because it easily could have been Brother Wayne’s first and only letter. I even designated one of my other characters as an heir to the cleric’s belongings. Now I have written three letters. In each, Brother Wayne has requested his superior to be ready to send a replacement cleric should his letters stop arriving. Only time and the fickle dice can tell what will happen to him.
I rambled about D&D because I’ve mentioned RPGs as a source of my writing inspiration in the past. I hardly felt like Basic D&D would stir my imagination the way other games have, but I guess it’s not the game as much as the interaction with my friends that greases the cogs of my creativity. Since they’ve already been written, perhaps Brother Wayne’s letters will become blog entries at some point. There are at least a couple of my subscribers with an interest in RPGs. My hope is that I will feel inspired to write a few fantasy short stories. Maybe they will even lead me back to the fantasy novel I started and never finished. Even if they never get published, I know I’ll have fun writing them, and the fun is the real magic.