Paper Coach : Teach Yourself to Write Fiction
Teach yourself to write fiction while improving the course from which you're learning. This blog tracks an aspiring writer's efforts to design then take a course made from easy-to-find books on writing. Posts explore the craft, suggest writing exercises, and revise the course itself.
Best-Selling Author Finds Perfect RPG
It's quite a review and well worth reading - as are Scott's books - as is this RPG - as is *boom*
That was my wallet exploding as I run off to buy all this cool stuff. Check out this review at your own risk.
Launched a new RPG Writing Blog
I noticed I'd drifted off topic and begun filling up this blog with info and news about my rpg writing. Since that's different from fiction writing, I figured it deserved its own blog. And so here it is! You can find out about all things rpg+Lou Agresta at RPGAggression.
I haven't posted in nearly 6 months, and here's some of what has been going on:
- my wife and I had a baby. Kaylie Rain Agresta. If you like, you can check out some pictures at www.kaylierain.com
- I was accepted into a Freelance Writer's Guild call the Were Cabbages. Mostly writing RPG, other game, comic and related prodcut, this wonderful, talented international crew publishes like mad. You can check them out and even subscribe to a what's new email at www.werecabbages.com
- I've got my first publication coming out! Go me! It's a book called GM Gems and is written by a bunch of Werecabbages and published by Goodman Games. You can check it out here: http://www.goodmangames.com/4371preview.php.
- A few more pieces are coming out. With about 6 or 7 other Cabbages, we've written a city book with a working title of Azindralea: The Great City and it's going to be published by Mario Barbati of 0onegames. Soon, you'll be able to pick it up here: http://0onegames.com/catalog/
- I just submitted and adventure for Louis Porter Junior Designs, kicking off his new adenture line Sidetrek Adventure Weekly. I'm real pleased with this piece! Read more about it here: http://www.lpjdesign.com/
Last but not least, I'm working on 2 or 3 more projects that I'm not allowed to discuss just yet. Yay! Paid writing work.
Big thanks to: Nic Logue, Tim Hitchcock, Greg Oppedisano and my wife Martha!
The Merry Gazetteer, Part I
"The Merry Gazetteer, Part 1"
by Jay Robison
One can only bang one's head against the brick wall of the film industry for so long. Short fiction has proven to be my path—for now—to publication, but to tell that story, I'll have to start with the phenomenon of fan fiction.
I'm convinced that fan fiction has existed ever since the very first storyteller told the very first story. What probably happened was that the next day, a group of bored cavemen gathered around the fire and told their version of the story, spinning off tales starring minor characters in their own plot thread. As with other forms of self-publishing, however, fan-fiction has really exploded with the internet. At a fan site dedicated to Jean Auel's Earth's Children series (www.ecfans.com), there are stories covering everything from time travel involving Earth's Children characters to entire alternate novels. Proof, if nothing else, that fans will entertain themselves if they have to wait a decade-plus between installments, as Auel's readers (myself among them) had to wait 12 years between Plains of Passage and The Shelters of Stone.
There are any number of sites for any number of series, especially science fiction and fantasy television and literary series. Most creators choose to ignore what is technically a breach of copyright, since people running fan fiction sites are not profiting from giving fans a place to publish their fiction. But one author has taken a radically different approach.
Eric Flint had already published a couple of successful fantasy novels, including Mutter of Demons and The Philosophical Strangler, published by Baen Books. I will save the full story of the birth of the Baen's Bar online community and how it impacted the fictional universe of Flint's alternate history novel 1632 in part 2, but as part of his research for that novel—in which a West Virginia mining town gets swept back in time to war-ravaged 17th century Germany—Flint turned to Baen's budding online community to seek the technical advice in order to make a story with a fantastic premise as believable as possible.
A side effect was the fan fiction; inevitably, people started posting their own stories. Flint thought enough of them were good to include them in anthology of 1632-set stories entitled Ring of Fire, featuring stories by first-time authors from "The Bar" alongside work from professionals such as David Weber and Mercedes Lackey. But the stories kept coming, and enough of them were still good that Flint and the late Jim Baen created The Grantville Gazette as a home for these stories, paying semi-professional rates (2.5 cents per word for stories of 15,000 words or less). From there, things just took off—issue 12 has just been posted online at www.baen.com or www.grantvillegazette.com.
My first story appeared in issue number 5. Entitled "Breaking News," it dealt with a clash of source between of thirst for instant news on the part of the Grantville inhabitants born in the 20th century and the realities of their new home in the 17th century. It's also the beginning of a love story between my two main characters: fictional character James Byron "Jabe" McDougal, a shy 18 year-old with a digital camera and an iMac, and Prudentia Gentileschi, a "real" character from history—daughter of noted Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi.
How to describe the feeling of seeing a story of mine in print? It may be cliché, but it was a total rush! It wasn't so much getting paid for the first time, as gratifying as that was. It was a combination of the feeling that someone, a professional full-time writer no less, thought enough of one of my stories that he actually wanted to pay to run it and the fact that a few thousand people would be reading my work. It was validating and it boosted my confidence.
I've been writing ever since I can remember, filling notebooks with fictional adventures since about age 7. On some level, I suppose, I always knew I had to be a writer. But my formal training has come as a screenwriter, I'd abandoned prose in favor of the elusive dream of writing a hot script that would net me an agent if not a six- or seven-figure deal. I was locked into getting something produced for the screen to the exclusion of any other kind of writing.
Thanks to getting published in The Grantville Gazette, I can imagine other ways to be a professional writer. I haven't given up on the idea of writing for TV or film, but I feel like I can publish a novel or other work now and that getting a screenplay produced isn't my only option. Since "Breaking News" I've had four more fiction stories published in the Gazette and a non-fiction essay will appear in the upcoming issue #14. And my story "Trials" will appear in Ring of Fire 2, which should be available from Baen Books in January 2008.
In part two I'll give you the story from the people most involved in The Grantville Gazette, Eric Flint and Gazette editor Paula Goodlett.
Jay Robison's list of published stories:
"Breaking News" (Grantville Gazette #5)
"Mightier Than the Sword" (GG #6)
"The Sons of St. John" (GG #8)
"O For a Muse of Fire" (GG #11)
"Radio Killed the Video Star" (GG # 14, upcoming)
"Trials" (Ring of Fire 2, forthcoming)
The Adventures of DM Dubya - Chpt 6
The Adventures of DM Dubya - Chpt 5
The Adventures of DM Dubya - Chpt 4
The Adventures of DM Dubya - Chpt 3
The Adventures of DM Dubya - Chpt 2
The Adventures of DM Dubya - Chpt 1
There is already a link to DM Dubya on this site, and it points to contributor Jay Robison's (illustrator) excellent blog. Jay's blog is filled with excellent stuff, making DM Dubya a little hard to find; so I thought I'd help share by using a few posts. Enjoy!