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Archive for October, 2010

October 29th, 2010: Ever-Changing Roles

WITH November and December promising to be stormy, hectic months in regards to work, I decided to relax these last few days before the big end-of-year push for our project. Sadly, I can’t share what I’m doing at Ubisoft other than to say I’m a Story Designer on a Triple A Title, but I’m hoping for the big reveal next summer.

            The interesting part about work is trying to define my role, or rather lock it down. Hell, it’s a problem the entire industry is facing with each company and even team within a company redefining the role on a project per project basis. Most folks assume it’s a simple deal… hire the writer to write. But a writer on a project has become so much more than the words she puts to paper (or screen… I’m showing my age, aren’t I?). A writer becomes a designer, on par with level design and game design and animation and art and AI and sound design. Some teams call her Narrative Designer or Story Designer or Narrative Director; regardless, she’s there to play intermediary between story and the team’s narrative needs.

            Sometimes this means championing a story idea so the team integrates it properly, and sometimes it means reworking a plot element because it needs to be done. She is part problem solver and part mediator, but above all, she is a team member. Over the next few months, I’ll be talking about what it means to be a writer on a team, and hopefully illuminate more properly our role, even when it sometimes seems like a mystery to me too.

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October 28th, 2010: The Absence

SO why absent of late? Why did I stop posting to my website? Because I’m an idiot. Or maybe I just didn’t have the right outlook on matters. I hate filling the ether with noise just for the sake of being heard, so I waited for “big things” to happen before I raised my voice. To avoid one extreme, I fell into the other. Unfortunately, rarely do big things happen suddenly. They take months and years of patience and planning just for the opportunity at that stroke of luck. Unfortunately, we’re sold on the success stories of absolute flukes intersecting with synchronicity, and we want that lightning in the bottle for ourselves. We think that because the universe paid it out once that we’re all entitled to it. We’re sold on the human concept of fair play.

            The universe doesn’t work that way, however, and while I was desperately waiting for some bit of good news to share as far as selling a novel or what have you, I let everything else rot on the vine. Hence, the “Because I’m an idiot” portion of my explanation. I stopped going to cons I loved like Necon and World Horror and World Fantasy because I felt like a) a failure and b) like I had nothing new to offer. I forgot that these professional cons existed not to promote ourselves above others, but to remind ourselves we weren’t along in our struggles and worries. We are a part of something… a community, and I miss my community.

To address that unfortunate shortsightedness on my part, I decided to keep my website regularly updated as best I could with facets of my professional life. Some posts will merely be a window into the previous day’s works or efforts, others will be about my professional accomplishments, and still others will be about my thoughts and observations about being a fiction writer and a story designer/scriptwriter for videogames. I’ll avoid the interrupted service and empty noise ratio as best I can.

And I’ll try to be more patient when it comes to the proverbial “Big Break.” The small ones have been tremendous thus far. 

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October 27th, 2010: Juggling My Stories

                 These days I’m working on my main fiction project (AKA: The Steampunk Novel) and on two short stories with completely different voices. Short stories are a strange experience for me, because I can never write more than 500 words at a time on average. I’m not sure why, but something about the format and style of short stories makes them denser to write. There’s less room for waste, so I have to be far more deliberate with my scenes and word choices. In fact, I revisit sections constantly, excising sentences in favor of shortening the work and replacing good words with better ones.

As to why I’m working on two? Well, the first one is a comedy horror piece, but my subject matter is much more difficult to capture properly. This one will require extensive redrafts to get the flow and cadence of it right. The second story is my escape fiction that I’m hoping to submit to an anthology before November’s end. It’s another horror piece and easier to write. And yet, still, I find myself proceeding oh so slowly. Still, if all goes well, the non-comedic piece will be done before Halloween, giving me two weeks of edits and bugging my friends with “did you read it yet? Did you read it yet? Did you read it yet?” Yeah… I owe some people a damn good Christmas gift this year.

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October 26th, 2010: To Linda D. Addison, Thanks for every Second

Ever since I began working full time as a Story Designer at Ubisoft again, I’ve discovered something interesting. It isn’t an open schedule that affords me the time to write, it’s what I do with whatever time I have that matters. Okay, so it seems a little obvious as a realization, I’ll admit that. What I’m getting at, though, is taking advantage of the 30 minutes or one hour I have each evening to get some writing done. No stress on the word count… just a determination that even if I only get 100 words written, I’ll be 100 words further ahead of the game than I was yesterday.


I have to thank poetess Linda D. Addison ( for that realization. Linda is the first African-American to win a Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in poetry and I had the honor of meeting her and hearing her speak at what I believe was Necon about 8 years ago. Or maybe it was World Horror? Don’t ask me for specifics, I’m barely aware of today. Linda spoke about her experiences as a single mother with a full time job and about how she trained herself to write a little a day until (over time) she’d built up a body of work.

I’ve taken Linda’s message to heart. Since writing is something you do despite what life throws your way, I’ve managed to reach 25K on a novel. It’s not the pace I’m used to or one I’d hoped for myself, but it beats being 25K under where I am now, wondering when I’ll have the time to write. I always have time to write even if the duration isn’t always negotiable. So thanks, Linda, for making me aware of those precious minutes and seconds I was overlooking. I never realized how potent they were. 

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October 25th, 2010: Steampunk Dreams

While my agent stalks various editors, trying to get them to buy my two horror novels, I’ve shifted gears and started on a Steampunk novel in my free hours in the evening. I’m only inches from 25,000 words on my manuscript, but I have to admit I’m enjoying the genre. Maybe it’s because the conventions surrounding it are a bit looser, less rigidly defined than what I’ve previously written. Or maybe there’s just something magical about Steampunk worlds… a cocktail of innocence, romance, elegance, adventure and whimsy that make it irrepressibly irresistible.


Actually, while I can’t reveal much about the novel currently (and even the name is a huge spoiler, on par with if Lucas had named “The Empire Strikes Back” “Vader is Really Luke’s Father”), I can say that it straddles that line between Steampunk and Dieselpunk.


Either way, I’m having fun and I hope my readers feel the same way if it’s given a chance to shine. So once my work day is done, I go home for dinner, a bit of R&R and some more writing before heading off to bed.




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October 24th, 2010: Hello Old Friend

It’s been a while, I know. And for that, I owe you all an apology. The last year has been a strange combination of rough and blessed, but I had slipped into a professional depression and nearly fell in all the way. While the circumstances for that haven’t changed, my attitudes have. I’m learning and I’m hoping my return is a permanent one, meaning updates will come to this website far more frequently.

So, I have good news in regards to my publications. Some of it is older than I’d like, and some more recent. I’ll get to those in the upcoming days. Meanwhile, to mark my return, I give you a free short story… unpublished anywhere, entitled: The Drowning Moon.

The short story is something I promised to share for free if I received $100s in donation for something called “Movember,” a charity to fight prostate cancer by growing a mustache over the month of November ( My dear friends blew that mark out of the water in the first day. So, true to my word… I offer you free fiction. Just follow the link and enjoy:

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