Monday, June 3, 2024

Six-Bits (working title): First draft

There's a new trilogy in the works, and the first book is done.  That is to say, the first draft of the first book is done.  It took about 7 months, which is slower than I'd like, but work and life and adulting are taking up a lot of time.  What can you do?

The working title is "Six-Bits", but I might change that to something like "Shipwright & Six-Bits" because a lot of the story is told from the point of view of Mell, the shipwright from the previous trilogy.

I'm going to let it sit for a week or two, then start with a first round of edits.  When I'm more or less satisfied, it'll be time to start the second book in the trilogy.  

I wrote the previous trilogy all in one go (not publishing anything until it was all done) and that really made things easier.  So I think I'm going to do that again.  It means a lot longer (another year? two?) before the whole trilogy is ready to go, but I think it's worth it.

I'll keep you posted on what happens next!

Three-hole-punch printer paper is a godsend.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024


I'm happy to report that, after a busy weekend of scribbling (and rather a lot of energy drinks), the first draft of the next book stands at 90000 words.  The big crazy climactic scene is done, and I'm happy with the first version of it.

All that's left now is the aftermath/cleanup/denouement, where I clean up the mess I made, tie up the loose ends, complete the story for this book, and get things ready for the next book.  I'm hoping to get it done this coming weekend, but we'll see.

In other news, our happy D&D group continues to find new ways to be silly and/or incompetent.  I'm doing my very best to lead the charge, setting an example of poor decision making for others to not follow.

Our group of lunatics was going cross-country, still trying to get away from the Big Baddie.  During the night, someone got into our camp and robbed us, stealing something valuable from each character.  The next day, a Mysteriously Convenient Visitor showed up to make us a deal:  if we help them, they'll get our stuff back.  I'm still about 99% sure that MCV is the one who took our stuff in the first place, but what can you do?  

We agreed (see 'poor decision making', above) to go break into a home of a local Bad Person and break some magical seals that were preventing the local Good People from apprehending them.  Again, I'm fairly certain that we've got it all wrong, and the Good People are actually the Bad People, and so on.

Arriving at the home of the alleged Bad Person, we had a committee meeting about what to do.  We agreed, first and foremost, to not split the party.

So, of course, we split the party.  Team 'Sneak In Through The Basement' went to sneak in through the basement, while Team 'Try The Front Door', of which I was a part, went to try the front door.  Which had traps.  Traps that shot at party members.  So now the party warlock is on the ground.  And, I think, on fire.  That counts as a result, right?  Can't wait to get back together for more hilariously poor decision making.


Friday, April 26, 2024

Happy Incompetence

I've always got a kick out of playing D&D, and especially the co-operative storytelling aspect of it.  Specifically, it's co-operative storytelling about a bunch of characters who are insane and/or bad at what they do.  It's weaponised incompetence, and so much fun.

Case in point:  in a recent session, the party was in town and found out that a Big Bad was coming to get them.  They needed to leave town immediately.

The initial plan was as follows:

  1. Walk out of town, past the guards and through the gate, like normal people.

Now, being D&D, that wasn't going to happen.  The players immediately launched into a spirited, if futile, discussion of how we were going to do this.  Everyone whose character had a special ability wanted to find a way to use that special ability in the course of the plan.  

So, after lord knows how long, the final plan went something like this:

  1. Break into three groups.
    • Group A:
      1. one character walked out through the main gate like a normal person
      2. one character struck up a conversation with the guards, oversharing to the point of making the guards suspicious
      3. one character tried to pickpocket the guards
      4. one character turned into a highly-conspicuous magical horse, then convinced another character to ride them out through the gate, making the guards suspicious
    • Group B:
      1. two characters went to the dock to smuggle themselves out on a ship; one somehow drowned
    • Group C:
      1. one character used their contacts with the thieves guild to get themselves smuggled out of the city through the sewers or something

I'm not 100% sure about the details, because no one was.  But, while incurring only 1 in 8 fatalities, we made it out of the city.  At this point, we we realised that no one had thought of how we should all meet up again.  A bunch of stuff had to be retconned so the adventure could continue.  

And that's the fun of adventures and storytelling: whatever you think is going to happen, won't happen, and everything is going to go to hell.  But if you're all sitting around the table laughing like idiots and having a great time, who cares?

Also, I should introduce my own character, Father Hiram the halfling cleric.  I used HeroForge to create his character in 3D, then bought a full-colour 3D-printed miniature of the little twerp.  I was amazed at the quality of the end result.  Awesome stuff.

Father Hiram, the cleric who thinks the gods are a bunch of jerks.

In other news, the first draft of the new book is going great!  I'm at 75000 words and counting, and just starting the buildup to what will be a wonderfully chaotic climax.  The characters are really starting to shine, and I'm looking forward to introducing them to everyone.




Saturday, March 9, 2024

Winter, Part Deux

Our winter turned into something quite atypical as the weeks went by.  Very little snow, and very high average temperatures (as things go).  Right now it's early March, about 8C and raining, so that's unusual.  Or maybe it's the new 'usual'.  In any event, we're not frozen solid and there's nothing to shovel and/or scrape, so that's nice.

Writing is moving along very well.  The first book of the new trilogy is at 55000 words and counting.  I'm thinking the final count will come in somewhere around 90000, but from book to book I've been pretty consistently wrong on estimating that sort of thing.

In other news, I've recently joined (rejoined?) a local dungeons & dragons club for adults, and I'm looking forward to it more than I expected.  Last month was my first time attending, and I had a blast introducing the team to their new friend: Hiram Redleaf, the cleric who has had it up to here with his deity.  He's not even a religious person, as halflings go.  He thinks the gods are a bunch of thugs and bullies.  But at the same time, he's not an idiot: when a god tells you to do something, well, religious person or not, you do it.  I'm looking forward to providing updates on his adventures, assuming he doesn't get smited (smitten?) or otherwise falls victim to misadventure.  Three cheers for bad choices!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Yay, winter.

I'm not really the sort that loves winter sports.  Unless you count 'shovelling snow' or 'scraping the ice off the windshield', in which case... no, wait, I don't really love that either.  I suppose the right person could convince me to try tubing or snowshoeing or skiing, as long as when I'm done I have ready access to (a) drinks, (b) a fireplace, and (c) an ambulance.

Instead, I've been spending the winter so far surrounded by books.  I work part-time at the local libary, which has been great.  The patrons (and the staff, for that matter) are the most delightful collection of smart, friendly, and eccentric people.  

When I'm not there (and not shovelling/scraping/etc.) I'm locked away in my hovel, scribbling furiously away at the new series.  I'm 35000 words into the first book (so maybe halfway?) and it's going great.  It's the first draft, so naturally it's still quite rough and/or incoherent, but pages are filling up at comfortable pace.  Some new (and old) characters are starting to shine, and I'm having fun getting to know them.

For those of you who love winter, boy, are you in luck around here.  Go out and enjoy yourself.  When you get back, the drinks will be cold, the fire will have gone out, and the ambulance won't start.  But that's the magic of winter.  Isn't it?


Friday, November 10, 2023

Sitting Outside the Principal's Office

Okay, so it's been a hot minute since I was last in a high school, sitting outside the principal's office.  But that's where I was this morning.

I was at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School over in Tottenham, not far from the Compound, waiting for a student to come and escort me upstairs.  I was thinking how strangely familiar it was: the sights and sounds of the office, and of the students coming in to hesitantly ask something of the office staff.  A tardy slip; a broken padlock from a locker; a missing wallet.  

I didn't have long to wait; two students came to get me.  I'd been invited to speak to the Grade 12 'Writer's Craft' class about writing because I am, apparently, an 'expert'.  That's not something I've ever thought about myself.  

But there I was, at the front of Mrs. McCabe's class, nervous as hell, introducing myself and starting to talk about writing.  About world-building and character building, and how to finish the first draft at all costs, and how to work with that first draft to (slowly) turn it into gold.

My nerves slowly faded away, and I think I connected with some students who showed genuine interest.  Some others were, as I once was, just high school students waiting for lunch.  I remember that feeling, too.

Hopefully, some of them found something useful in what I was talking about; I reinforced my points by giving a handout (with shameless self-promotion on the back, as suggested).  If even one of those students pushes through and finishes their own creation because of something I said, then the day was a huge success!

Thanks again to Mrs. McCabe and the class!  It was great meeting you all!

Friday, September 29, 2023

What Comes Next

Here at the Compound, it's been an unusually hot and dry September, and the start of October is looking to be much the same.  It's the time of year when the wildlife starts looking for somewhere warm and safe to spend the winter; right now, I'm pretty sure I can hear something snoring inside the wall.  It might just be a particularly loud-sleeping squirrel, but I'm not sure.  I mean, it might be a rhinoceros, for all I know.  I'll have to keep an eye out for horn-holes poked in the siding.

The new trilogy has been out for a while, and thank you to everyone who has enjoyed it so far.  I've received some great feedback, as well as some questions about what comes next.

What's next is another trilogy.  I've had a few ideas for a while, and they're starting to come together into a coherent (for me) plan.  We'll be following a little while after the events of Salvation & Sacrifice, seeing what Mell (and other people) get up to next.  There will be some new characters coming to join the story, and some big events are lined up that will (ideally) spin everything out of control.

It's going to take a while to get the outline finished up -- hopefully by the end of October or thereabouts -- and after that I'll get started on the actual writing, which will probably take a year or more.

Of course, everything is subject to change (isn't it always?) and I'll pop back in here from time to time to update what's going on.