Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Ram Has Touched The Wall

Or, more specifically, the Ram of writing a short story for possible publication has touched the Wall of me having an externally imposed deadline.

Games Workshop's Black Library, which is the publishing arm that handles all of the Games Workshop fiction for Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000, is now in the beginning of it's 2010 fiction submissions window. BL does, in fact, accept unsolicited fiction submissions, and people do, in fact, get published and eventually go on to become regular BL authors. The deadline for submissions during the 2010 window is July 31st, and I've decided to submit a short story, come hell or high water.

Like I've mentioned before, I have very poor follow-through when it comes to self-imposed project deadlines. I tend to get all fired up about an idea, work fervently on that idea for a few weeks, and then as another idea comes into my mind, the first idea slowly falls by the wayside until it's finally forgotten. I might have ideas for deadlines, but since I'm the only one who cares about the deadlines, blowing through them doesn't affect anyone but my own sense of progress, which is notoriously poor to begin with.

On the plus side though, I've got what I think is a pretty good idea for a short story, and I've made some decent progress. I've decided that rather than just banging out 10K words, I'm going to approach this little project in a very concise manner, and I've begun writing short summaries of the major characters, as well as a breakdown of all the events that take place in the short story. By mapping everything out, I hope to encourage my writing by treating the short story not so much as creating the entire thing from whole cloth when I write it, but fleshing out the outline through prose, with actual narration and dialogue.

Other projects and such currently in the queue:

- I've got Pete Nash's BRP-centric gaming sourcebook Rome: The Life and Death of the Republic, on deck for reading and review. I picked it up on for a good price (Pete, sorry if that bites into your royalties...), and it's a great looking book that really is going to need a weekend of me curled up on the couch with a tumbler of something honey-colored and on the rocks to do it justice.

- In a similar vein, I just finished reading Caesar Against The Celts, and I intend to read Caesar's own memoirs on the campaigns in the next week or so.

- This is all wrapped up in me having just bought a bargain copy of Rome: Total War. I wasn't all that fond of Medieval: Total War, as I found moving and arranging units to be way too time-consuming. Moving units in R:TW seems to be a lot easier and not quite so complicated.

- I'm beginning to paint not one, but two Warhammer: 40,000 Space Marine chapters; Space Wolves and Crimson Fists. Right now I'm just beginning to work out the paint schemes, but I hope to have photos of some completed units at some point soon.

- I didn't want to jump on the Frazetta bandwagon like everyone else has over the last two days, since it would just be another "tribute post" in a sea of the same, so I'll just say I'm sorry to see the man pass on, but greatly appreciate everything he's done. I own two prints of his that hang in my home office, and it's always inspirational to look up and gander at them whenever I need suitable inspiration. Cheers to you, Frank.


Timeshadows said...

Don't do it.
--Gamers aren't writers.
---You said so yourself.

Badelaire said...

Either you're just being snarky, or you really didn't read / get the point of those columns.

- Plenty of gamers have gone on to be writers, and I noted that.

- I said gamers should not rely on their RPG campaign material to create fiction with the expectation that it will be in any way marketable.

Actually, to quote myself:

"If you just find it easier to play in someone else's world than to create your own, you can always consider pastiche fiction or media tie-in novels (aka, "shared-world fiction"). There are plenty of writers who started out working for TSR, or writing Star Wars or Star Trek fiction, or even writing for Games Workshop's Black Library, who have made good careers out of working with someone else's material. These sorts of venues are the perfect places for a writer to learn the tools they need and build the confidence necessary to step out and begin writing their own original works. I'm also willing to bet it's a somewhat easier venue to break into as an amateur writer."

Now, if I was submitting to some short story anthology a piece set in one of my campaign settings, yes I would be contradicting myself. But I'm not.

Of course, the key is to still be wary of allowing game mechanics-related baggage make its way into the story (having a character's plasma pistol overheat one out of every six shots would get really tiresome, really quickly).

Timeshadows said...

See what happens when one leaves off a wink-smiley? :(

I hope I didn't upset you too badly with my clerical error, J.

So sorry about that. :(

Badelaire said...

No worries, but I have had people tell me "great, I should just stop writing".

Quoth Chgowiz, in the comments section of Part Two:

"The more I read this, the more I think I shouldn't write anymore. It probably is a fool's errand."

"I really try hard not to snark in my comments and posts, unless it's at myself. This was dead serious... the points you make about trying to express RPG elements in one's writing or vice versa, I'm not a pro, I'm not a good writer and I shouldn't be trying to do something I'm not."

So yeah, you might have been serious, although I was a little taken aback by it coming from you. Who knows? Everyone is entitled to a cranky blogging comment day.

Obligatory smiley :-)

Timeshadows said...

I remember reading that, and I was deeply saddened by it.

I felt your articles were too emphatically-voiced from a non-writer to be anything less than bitterness on your part, but as they progressed, and crushed readers corresponded with you, I understood that you were simply stating your opinion in a very structured manner.

So, yes, for all their marvellous capabilities, words on a page or screen can easily lose their intended nuances.

Whew! I'm glad we've sorted this mess out. :D

We can continue this by e-mail. :)

Badelaire said...

Yeah, I approached that series from a "knock it down before building it back up again" frame of mind.

Having tried for, geez, I guess it's decades now, to be if not a successful published writer an unsuccessful unpublished writer, I was very much speaking from a "you don't want to go down that road, that way lies madness" perspective.