Manuscript

Days Too Dark - a Post Apocalyptic Update

Sorry for the massive gap since the last entry, life has a way of happening. I've been working on the digital and physical proofs of my upcoming novel, Days Too Dark, and there have been some interesting complications. Beyond that there's been a massive spanner thrown into my plans in the form of a new girlfriend, so I've been trying to get to know her while also trying to figure out just what the hell I'm going to be doing with myself next year. With all that's going on, I haven't really had much time to do much of anything remotely video game related, which is just...  

I hate to start a blog post with a picture of Trump... but he's just so succinct. 

I hate to start a blog post with a picture of Trump... but he's just so succinct. 

For those who've been following, my book, Days Too Dark, will be released next month - just in time for Christmas, so why not buy it as a gift for the post apocalypse fanatic in your family? But seriously though, I have been putting some serious time and effort into it, and it's proving to be a really interesting and challenging project. I've had a great team working on it though, so even though we've encountered more than our fair share of hurdles we always managed to find a way over, or around, them. The biggest hurdle, that we're all going to have to deal with though, is how much I'm going to have to sell it for.

Yay, Capitalism? 

Yay, Capitalism? 

The thing with Amazon is that they're a business and they're looking to make a profit. Shock horror, I know. I'll give you a minute to collect yourself. The point is that they're happy to print my book and sell it for me, but they're going to make damn certain that they'll make a profit on it. Now, this set up isn't that big of a deal for most books - they're simply a cover and a word doc with some fancy formatting. This is an easy sell because because the amount of effort and costs involved on Amazon's part are relatively low, which means they can sell it for a relatively low price as well, but this just isn't the case with Days Too Dark.

My book is an epistolary novel, which means that it's laid out like an actual real world journal and that each page is made to look like an actual hand written journal. Now, some epistolary journals, such as Warday (thanks again Evan C. for the great recommendation) are epistolary novels but set out like a typical book - which is fine. But I wanted something that was more than a normal book, I wanted something that readers could pick up and engage with in a way that revealed more to them about the world they were reading about than just words alone could. Days Too Dark has a story, obviously, but it's also cram packed full of artwork and other artifacts from the world that have been crammed in there. If you just read the story on it's own, you'll get a pretty great story... if I'm allowed to be so humble, but you'll be missing out on a lot of detail. There are details that are placed in the drawings and inserts that give hints to the narrators state of mind, or of the truth of a matter that he's unaware of or simply not willing to write about. 

To make things simple - here's an example of an epistolary novel from the Gears of War universe. Mine will be a lot like this... just without the backing of a multi-billion dollar corporation.  

To make things simple - here's an example of an epistolary novel from the Gears of War universe. Mine will be a lot like this... just without the backing of a multi-billion dollar corporation.  

So I didn't fork out thousands of dollars for artists and graphic designers just for shits and giggles, I actually paid all that coin to create a deeper and more enriching experience for those that read the story. The downside of all this is that I'm not going to be able to charge the same sort of prices as others who sell eBooks and print books on Amazon - not even close. Even with the price differences between eBooks and print books, there's going to be a massive difference. For Amazon to make money on this goliath of a book, which has a full color picture for every page and comes in at over 600mb for the eBook, they're going to have to sell it for a pretty steep price.

Now, straight away that means that I'm going to lose out on some readers - which is fine, I get that. There's going to be a large percentage of people who will see the price of this book, which is published by an indie author, and just refuse to even think about it, and that's cool. It's stupid, but it's cool. If you're comparing this book to *just* a text-based book, then yes - the price does seem absurdly steep. But if you take into account all the artwork and other visual elements that're included, you'll realize that you're getting more than *just* a text-based book.

Don't be comparing my epistolary novel to any old normal novel...

Don't be comparing my epistolary novel to any old normal novel...

So you'll pay more but you'll also get more - which always makes sense. I'm also working on a competition with some mates over in the states to give away a few copies of the book as well, but we're still finalizing all the details there so I'll have to keep you posted on all of that. Beyond that, everything is progressing as it should and I'm already looking at the next project that I'll be working on, which thanks to an over enthusiastic fan, has been decided for me. I'll have to tell you about that next time though, because this post has already spiraled into much more than I'd originally intended.

I was going to write about the new girlfriend, but then common sense came up and beat the shit out of me - who wants someone writing about them on the internet when you've only been dating a month? Madness...

Until next time!

I'll just leave this here...

I'll just leave this here...

My Current Writing Projects

I'm pretty good at procrastination, because my procrastination is quite productive and therefore easily justifiable. I like world-building, it's an easy way to "create" without actually creating any content for publication. This is a problem, especially for someone who'd like to get paid for this one day.

God, I hope being represented by Lisa doesn't become a thing for me... 

God, I hope being represented by Lisa doesn't become a thing for me... 

I am working on a few things though, and just to put everyone's minds at ease - today I'll give you all a brief overview of what I'm working on and at what stage of the project I'm at for each.

Unnamed Sequel - First, it has a title, like all the others, I'm just not listing it because of reasons. This work is a sequel to my first novel which I've been ashamed about for the longest of times, but of which I'm slowly coming around to. I haven't been ashamed because it's bad writing, I was ashamed because of the actual story it tells.

Old artwork done for the characters in the first book, they're good but I probably wont use them for anything. 

Old artwork done for the characters in the first book, they're good but I probably wont use them for anything. 

Don't bother searching my name to try and find it, I'll be re-releasing an updated version of it soon anyway, you can gawk and gasp at it later. The point is, there's a first draft of the sequel out there and it's currently being read by a mate of mine. It's part of a bigger career spanning plan of mine so as much as I'd like to move away from the original, I've got to work with what I've got and finish it.

CODE - Brissy Story - This is the big one that I've been working on since... late 2009, I think? It started out as just a short 20,000 story and it's grown into this massive narrative that is just the first part of a planned trilogy.

It's never a good time to write about the end of the world, so just get to it!

It's never a good time to write about the end of the world, so just get to it!

It's a first person journal, like all the best post apocalyptic stories are, and it centers around one guy and his view of the world and his place in it. It's set in Australia and deals with the whole world ending and how the survivors organize themselves afterwards. There's a bit going on in this one, primarily because it's the first of a trilogy and I need to lay the seeds here so they can pay off in book two and even three. 

This project is in the late late stages of development, I've been getting some graphic design done by a mate down south and artwork done by another mate up in Russia. Although I, and several of my very talented writer mates, have edited it something like 15 times over the years, I'm going to get to looked over by a professional before release. 

It's been a fucking expensive venture, but I think it's worth it. 

Brissy Story Companion - This has been requested by a few people, it's only going to be a novella - sources of inspiration for it are One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Metro 2033. It will deal with the events of one day, from a third person point of view, in relation to the larger project above and will focus on the surrounding characters. I currently have it outlined but haven't begun work on it yet.

All the plucky side characters from the main story need to have their time in the spotlight! 

All the plucky side characters from the main story need to have their time in the spotlight! 

Metanoia - Tales of Forlorn Liberty  - This is another big project that I've probably been putting together in the background for three to four years now. Anyone who follows my mate Weilard on Twitter has probably seen some of the covers he's drawn up for me. Yes, I'm the type of dumbass that got 36 covers drawn up before he'd even written the stories. Lesson learned, I won't be doing that again. On the bright side though, I met another artistic fan of the post apocalyptic genre and helped him live off his art for a while, so it's not all bad.

I'd insert an example of the covers for this, but they're so damn big that it'd take forever to load, so I'll just redirect you here to see them all. They're actually fantastic, and I'm not just saying that to brag, Weilard is an amazing artist and if you ever want to commission some post apocalyptic art - hit him up.

Anyway, this series will deal with the survivors of an end of the world scenario, as they learn to live in the new world and alongside one another. It's more about the social interaction between the people themselves, rather than the apocalyptic backdrop. The intended writing style has changed over the years and one of the main reasons it's taken me so long to even start writing is because I've had to read a pile of books for inspiration and direction. 

 

These are just the projects that I'm actively working on at the moment, and more details for each will be released as time goes on, but there's also a whole mess of other things going on too. I've got notepads (physical and digital) all over the place full of notes for specific story ideas - but these are the ones that I'm focusing on at the moment. My problem isn't lack of ideas or too little motivation, it's that I like to have everything planned out before I even start writing, and that is damn time consuming. 

I am working though, always working.

Australia and the Post Apocalypse

I've spent the last week Ozifying a 77,000 word document. Don't bother looking up that word, I just pulled it from you know where - I needed a word to describe what I was doing when people asked, and pretty much everyone got what I meant.

I don't know if that's because the people that asked already have a fair idea of what the project is, or if it's because I live in Australia where stupid made up words get thrown into the public lexicon pretty regularly. With the heavy accent, the relaxed pronunciation and the absurd amount of idioms and slang, you get used to figuring language out on the fly. 

For those who speak normal English; I've basically been making my manuscript more Australian.

A sneaky nod to the origins of Mad Max.

A sneaky nod to the origins of Mad Max.

It's a first person account of events surrounding the end of the world, down under. This narrator is a character in the story, and as such he's writing just like he, and everyone else that's still around, speaks now days.... then days? When days? What's the tense for a fictional account set in the future, but written in a past that's still ahead of where we are now?

Never mind.

Originally I wasn't going to do this, it was just going to be a run of the mill journal that's written in basic English. Maybe a few slang words thrown in, along with the few that sneaked in because I incorrectly assumed that everyone on the planet uses them, but besides that it was going to be a pretty standard affair. But I was talking to a few people on Twitter and one of them suggested that I watch the Aussie zombie film - Wyrmwood.

Two of our Aussie zombie killers, really top blokes!

Two of our Aussie zombie killers, really top blokes!

I don't usually go for the cringy sort of humor - I've never been able to get past the first 10 minutes of The Office, and getting into Parks and Recreation was difficult at first (but fear not, I was quickly converted!) so Wyrmwood struck a bad cord with me the very moment I saw the poster. I have to be honest though, while production value was the typical Aussie-Horror low, it was actually a fantastically unique zombie story. 

It was just so... Australian! At one point, a guy literally busts out of a shed wearing Ned Kelly's armor, it's hilariously ocker. Despite the unrealistic number of guns and the ridiculous amount of people just wandering around the outback, I really enjoyed it. It brought something fresh to the table, which is pretty impressive at this point for the zombie horror genre. 

And it got me thinking about my own story; it's set in Australia, so why was I not taking advantage of that? There are countless post apocalyptic stories set in the United States, the easiest path to differentiate my story from all of them is to take advantage of the unique setting. And since it's written in the first person, I could have the whole bloody thing written like a true blue yarn from the great southern land. 

I'm not going to lie; it was hard to go back and change a lot of the spelling and wording, and I know it's going to leave some people shaking their heads and running to Google. A lot of it is everyday slang we use, some of it is the rarer stuff that even we roll our eyes at, while the most prominent feature is the way that words are written like we say'em. It'll be hard to not read this in an Aussie accent. Despite all this, I think the changes really add something to the story beyond simply differentiating it from a potentially similar story that's set in the states, the changes actually mesh really well with some of the stories themes. 

 

"He writes like people talk!"

"He writes like people talk!"

The manuscript has to sit there for a while now, I've need to get some artwork and graphics finished, then I can get a professional edit done to ensure that I haven't let any (unintentional) spelling errors get through. After all that, it'll be time to get it published. 

I'm looking forward to it, I really hope people get a kick out of it.