In November I published the first part of The Skid Journal’s first chapter. Needless to say, given the length of time it took to complete, I had a little trouble with this part. It is difficult to put my finger on why, though one thing I was conscious of was a need to work on something new and interesting while the idea was fresh in my brain.
In my last blog I spoke about a new project called Ferum Republic. I started making notes for this story earlier in 2016 and found it turned into a larger than expected world building project which has given me more story to work with as a result. Besides being a different kind of story to The Skid, I am also exploring a different style of writing. More off the cuff, with less actual planning ahead. This is new to me as I have always plotted out the script ahead of time and tried to write to that. I found with the last part of The Skid Journal that this sometimes creates problems. Maybe because my creative impulse is spent on the planning phase, leaving little else to offer when I was fleshing out my skeleton of a story.
With Ferum I have found that writing without a direct plan is helping me enjoy my writing a lot more as it feels more fluid in the moment from something I scribbled down weeks before. Instead of working to a pre-set story plan, I focus on providing myself with more detailed information about the world instead. Its history, society, key character information and so on. And as I write out a scene with only a vague direction to guide me, I finish by listing some questions raised by what I have just written. Things like “Why does this character go along with this other character?” and “If these people succeed with their plan, how will that affect the town?”. I have found they give me good leads on what to write next without pre-answering what specifically happens. And, ironically, this is a method of story telling I came across in the tabletop roleplay game, Apocalypse World. Which The Skid Journals are based off, by the way.
As for progress so far with the Ferum Republic story. Over Christmas and New Year I took a trip to Canada for a holiday, and to visit my friend, Sakaane. As it turns out, coffee mornings and good company with a fellow writer enthusiast can be quite productive. Over the course of the two weeks I had, on and off, written close to 14,000 words on top of the initial drafting I had already worked on. And then I edited some of the early writing to bring it more in line with where my mind was going now I am writing on it more directly. Anyway, let’s get some perspective on that number, shall we?
Chapter 1, part 3 of The Skid Journal comes in at 8,544 words.
Chapter 1, part 1 of Ferum Republic is 9,333 words. So, we can call this comparable so far, right? And I had initially written around 1,000 of those words already as an early draft, long before I left for Canada, so the net total was more like 8,300ish words.
I then wrote a chunk of chapter 1, part 2 which is so far up to 4,452 words. And it is just getting started.
Finally, I have another part of an as yet unknown chapter, which I had already written a small chunk of while making notes two months ago. That so far comes up to 1,131 words. And the reason I say this is an as yet unknown chapter number is because it might get pushed back further to make way for more early story content I had not even thought about when I had the inspiration for this story early last year. Originally it was meant to directly follow what is now only the first half of chapter 1, part 1. I have mentioned in my last blog that I wish to explore writing short stories, taking only a glimpse of a realised world and displaying a small slice of it here on my site. Ferum Republic was meant to be a writing exercise, where a story may be no longer than around 6,000-8,000 words before it was done. However as I have worked on it, and the world around the story, I have seen much greater potential. In the two weeks I spent in Canada, I have found even more story to write than I had originally expected. So, let’s see where it takes us, shall we?
When does this new story land? I am not entirely sure yet. These are only first drafts still and I may wish to publish them in short installments as I have done with The Skid. I do also wish to be some way ahead of where I publish, to give myself a little breathing room. As long as I am riding this wave of motivation and inspiration I would like to keep following it and see how far the stream of words takes me. I also intend to focus on Ferum Republic in the immediate future, since I am having fun with the story so far as well. I will, however, continue to develop The Skid Journals alongside it, after I find my groove for it again. Which will not be too long, I am confident of that. I will aim to publish them around a similar time frame as each other, with a little gap between. So keep your eyes peeled.
The second subject of discussion is a little reshuffle of the website’s structure. At current, I have Vandeamon Writing and EVE Works. EVE Works has become quite neglected as I focused on The Skid Journals, and now Ferum Republic is taking a lot of my attention. And in the latter half of last year, I came to a decision to leave EVE Online outright for the foreseeable future. I am not sure I will be back, as the game itself holds little interest for me anymore. Even though I find the world setting and the history to still hold much interest. Without fresh experiences in gameplay I have little ambition to write any fresh character fiction for the site. I still have my backlog to work through and get them ready to publish, after a few brief edits here and there. However, it makes little sense at this point to keep them as two different sites.
I will be looking to move the EVE content to Vandeamon Writing, giving the content its own section. I am exploring ideas of how to effectively do this, though most likely it will dwell within a menu much like the Apocalypse World stories and, eventually, Ferum Republic and the scrapbook.
Finally, on a similar note, I have been thinking about blogging a little more than just my writing on Vandeamon. I am still not entirely sure what would go there yet. Anything? Everything? Writing related thoughts only, or as well as? I will let this idea ferment a little more before I move on it, though if something comes along that feels like it belongs in its own blog area, I will certainly write it and feel the rest of the process out.