Christmas Singles and Trades
I scream the battle cry of my people, “You spilled my pint.”
Out in comic shops (book shops next week) is the third volume of DIE, THE GREAT GAME.
This is the big scale epic arc in DIE. Players in charge of countries, playing politics. Others on the run from things they just can’t run away from. Trying to be sensible, while all the while the world conspires against them. It’s also the arc where some key parts of the mythology get unveiled. We’re proud of it. I hope you enjoy it.
To celebrate, Stephanie, myself and friends are going live to talk DIE and the adventures so far at 6pm GMT TODAY (1pm PST) . I suspect I’ll be streaming it at my Youtube channel, but if there’s a last minute change, I’ll tweet about it.
I’m going to bold that. Livestream with Stephanie and me today, in about an hour. Come!
There’s also a new big release for the DIE beta, but I’ll talk about that downthread.
Oh – I was wrong last week – I have another single out this year. I’m so far ahead on writing Once & Future, I thought this had already hit.
Issue 14 of Once & Future is the second part of A PARLIAMENT OF MAGPIES, and is a big collision between the action set-pieces, some of my favourite character writing in the run and thinking up new awesome things for Dan to make awesome and Tamra to make wonderfully uncanny. O&F has a weird sort of striding energy to it now? It’s clearly not experimental work, but it is very free work. I sense that the readers are enjoying seeing us clearly have so much fun.
Oh – while we’re talking new releases…
Ed, Sean and Jacob start their new series of crime OGNs. I’ve read it and, surprisingly nobody, is great. What will surprise folks is exactly how great.
Like the 1.2, this is additional to the core manual – it gives a bunch of whole new character sheets, replaces some sections and add some new rules. It’s main stuff is a complete rework of the Master (which can now be played by a character), an improved Godbinder, the ability to have antagonists be classes other than Masters and tweaks on everything that was in 1.2. You can read more in the post here, which mirrors the introduction to the document.
I think this is the last significant update I’ll do in the public Beta – in a real way, with the Master, it is feature complete for this part of the core game. The remaining development would be for a full campaign mode – I just finished the full DIE campaign a couple of weeks back, so “compile all that” is part of my general work in the next few weeks. It’s a lot of work, but it doesn’t seem impossible.
Honestly, if you want my actual self-inflicted goal for this, it’s “we have a complete enough manuscript that I feel no worry in kickstarting it shortly after we hit DIE 20.” I dunno if it’ll happen, but that’s where my head’s at.
I’ll likely write something about how my campaign ended next week – I was going to do this time, but it’s already an RPG heavy one, and I still remember the newsletter where I listed my fave RPGs of the year and thirty or forty of you unsubbed.
Yes, you’re seeing that bit of art a lot this newsletter.
Stephanie also has done a T-shirt of the DIE’s third cover. You can buy here, in a variety of sizes and colours and cuts. There’s one called “Performance”. I have no idea what that means, but it scares me.
A big interview about Eternals over at SyFy. Same warnings as last time – fairly major spoilers for issue 1 in here. If you’re sold and want to experience the work clean, bookmark it for afterwards. It’s got me doing my rambles about characters and throwing metaphors away, as if I was some kind of metaphoraphobe and I’d been covered with metaphors by some shit and I’m panicking and just have to get them away, and who actually would do that to someone with a phobia? What a shit. Let’s get them.
In other news, I’m no longer aloud to write metaphors.
Logan Dalton over at Graphic Policy starts a series of essays on the Singles Club. There’s days I still think Singles Club is the best thing we ever did. I still smile that this issue has more words on the cover than some comics have inside the comic. Also I’m reminded that one of the working titles was “CHRISTMAS SINGLES” but I went another way – the fact it is set a couple of days before Xmas and never mentioned seemed to be worth hiding, and the “Club” of it was key.
Mary Robinette Kowal doing a lecture on writing short stories as part of Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy/sci-fi writing lecture series. This is really strong, and got me thinking about how when we do writing for comics its rare we actually do it like this. As in, this is very much "how do you structure a short story, how long how it takes, how it works." The vast majority of comic writing advice is more akin "What is a sentence? How you can you make one?" There's obvious reasons for this. Part of it is writing for comics is learning to write a language. With prose you can talk prose style, but the basic concept of What Is A Sentence, What Is A Paragraph is prior knowledge. That's simply not true in comics, so we have to do that. And equally that a huge chunk of writing concepts and theory are transferable into comics ("the What to write" rather than "How to write advice") means that you don't need to. Comics is a bastard media, and we can lift stuff from everywhere. And do. But still. There's something that nags a little there, right? In comics, we spend so much time teaching people grammar and so little time teaching people how to write, just trusting the latter will sort itself out, and knowing you can't start on the latter without the former.
Which made it interesting the next thing I listened to was this, The Mask In The Mirror interviewing Alan Moore, at length about his Occultism – which is something which Alan sees interchangeably with art. If you’ve never actually listened to Alan talk about this, and you have the knee-jerk of “he talks to a sock!”, it’s worth your time. It’s also relevant to the above - I’ve heard him say it before, but that “Grimoire” means “Grammar” and “spell” is both for magic and writing is one of the things which is undeniable. As much as I beat myself up over the above (I like beating myself up. It’s my fave unhealthy productivity tool) that comics has some fundamentals which are expressed in its own language means that we have to not just touch them, but master them.
(Yes, it appears I’ve been watching a lot of Youtube in the last week. I’ve been giving my podcasts a break while painting.)
Satine Phoenix invited me and a bunch of other lovely folks to play Charity games last Saturday in – ahem – ChariD20, benefiting Reach Out & Read. Keith Baker of Eberron fame ran for us. I was a paladin, who was basically the world’s best pub bouncer. It was a lot of fun. I play a lot of RPGs, but rarely actual D&D, so this was a real change and a great time. I loved the fellow players, all who brought so much to the game.. You can go watch it, and still donate here.
This is the wind down before Christmas. I’ll be getting O&F off to the editors before the end of the week, and DIE to Chrissy after that. It’s not needed until mid-January, but it’s good to wrap it off this year. There’s a small script for a charity thing I’ve written, which is one draft away from being feature complete. Other than that, it’s been working on various proposals, which is fun. One is for a job that I haven’t said I want to do yet, but I keep on filling pages up with dialogue for various characters, so even if I don’t want to write it, it appears that it needs to be written.
I also have slightly changed up my working system. I’ve bought a decent Bluetooth keyboard, which I’m using with my Macbook Pro. This means that I have a better writing machine which I can use comfortably, without all the distractions of my actual PC. My productivity is almost always based around removing the option to do anything other than the actual work. I am a kitten chasing a strand of wool around the room.
Typing on this keyboard also makes me think how crappy the keyboards I’ve been working on is. I buy decent running shoes. Why wouldn’t I buy a decent tool for my job? Once more, distraction. If I don’t need to do it, it doesn’t get done.
Right – I better stop now, as otherwise the “Hey – we’re doing a chat at 6” part of this mail will be rendered completely pointless, being sent at 7:45.