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Anthology and Adventure

I'm sadly unable to talk about my current writing projects by name. They are, however, all keeping me very happy and just a little tense. I want to love all my children equally, but... they're so different.

Anthology Story: I submitted a précis for an anthology recently, and today I got the go-ahead: the outline is good. The anthology is a small one but includes two authors whose work I read and loved in high school. They're pretty much a literary icons, for me at any rate. The writing's going well, but the idea of writing in this particular shared world freaks me out, a little.

Adventure Design: I'm closing in on a first draft for a gigantic WotC project that I can't discuss for the perfectly good reason that it won't be published until next April 2007. I can say that I'm pleased with how it is going, for several reasons. While there's some definite nostalgia in the topic, I've put together a few sections that include atmospheric worldbuilding. Finally, I've noticed my design is being (oddly) informed by tricks from video games. They include explicit text support for multiple play styles, some unusual tactical solutions, and what I can only call "widgets."

Widgets are those elements of encounter scenery that make it memorable. They are the single visual cues or bits of terrain that change the way the whole thing plays out, such as mouth-shaped archway containing a sphere of annihilation, or the single black rose left on the blackguard's tomb. Too many widgets, of course, and the adventure just seems like a string of gimmicks. Too few, and every room looks like another pretty-much-identical slugfest. I'm liking the widgets I've got so far.

Maps: I've always been a fiend for maps. They seem to explain relationships, though some say "the map is not the territory". This is a short form of the correct quotation from the father of general semantics, Alford Korzybski, who said "A map is not the territory it represents, but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness".

Yes, I went to grad school once.

It doesn't matter: for me, maps are a tool for imagination, and I wish I could scan and share a very particular set of maps that arrived in the mail yesterday. Oh, have I been waiting for these maps. I first heard they might arrive in January. I was like the kid who sent away for the Secret Decoder Ring in the mail, walking down to the mailbox every day, hoping that my package had arrived. Nothing. Nada. Days and days of nada.

Last night, there they were, in an A4 brown paper envelope: hand-drawn maps by a fantasy author you might know. They show the author's setting in loving detail, and it feels a bit like Christmas around the Baur house. Ok, they aren't perfect, as there's a bit of confusion about how watersheds work, but I'm sure we can fix that. Having these particular maps in hand makes me very happy indeed. Now I just need to do my half of the related work. Which I still can't talk about.

::grinds teeth::

In unrelated news, all metalheads should please note the sad decline of Cookie Monster death voice in metal (hat tip to Boing Boing).

Also noted, a "Garden of Eden" valley in New Guinea filled with dozens of species previously unknown to science, as well as many very rare animals, such as the giant cassowary and the lace-eyed frog.

Comments

( 4 sutras — Your wisdom )
damndirtycrane
Feb. 8th, 2006 01:26 am (UTC)
By "next April" are you meaning 2007?
the_monkey_king
Feb. 8th, 2006 02:05 am (UTC)
Yeah, in book or game publishing terms, this April is already over.
godeater_sw
Feb. 9th, 2006 03:04 am (UTC)
I'm guessing the fantasy maps are . . . wait, I have no idea who they are drawn by. Curses.
the_monkey_king
Feb. 9th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
Sadly, I cannot say.

But trust me, I'll be shooting my mouth off when these are published. Next week I should have a better idea when that might be.

( 4 sutras — Your wisdom )

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