Projects

Twitter Poll Project

At the start of September I had this random idea that I didn’t really put much thought into and it sort of sprawled in such a fashion that it’s totally fucked up my schedule. I put out a poll on Twitter asking what sort of protagonist people would like to see in a new Post Apocalyptic story, and so people voted.

Poll the 1st!

Poll the 1st!

I didn’t actually think anyone would vote, but it turns out a decent amount did. I chose a bunch of random character ideas, some would say they’re cliche but I’d just call them bare boned at this point, and threw them all together on a poll. We ended up with a Professional Criminal as a protagonist, which is certainly a character that allows for a lot of possibilities - especially in a Post Apocalyptic story.

But then I did a second poll…

Poll the 2nd…

Poll the 2nd…

Instant. Fucking. Derailment.

While I was hoping for a single category of post apocalyptic scenarios to choose from, this poll ended up in a three way draw that meant I’d need another three polls just to get the basics of the plot down. While it’s true that an apocalypse is never simply a single event, you’re pretty much always going to get an Economic Collapse as well as whatever primary scenario you’re working with, this was far more than I was expecting. But then a multifaceted apocalypse is always going to be pretty damn interesting, and so I jumped into it.

3rd poll

3rd poll

The first category I asked about was the Environmental category; ends of the world that tend to be about the physical world itself, while not being anything supernatural or overly strange. They’re you more down to earth, mundane apocalypses. In the end, the public wanted an Environmental Collapse. Crops fail, whole species go extinct and in general the natural world starts falling apart at the seams. That’s not a bad start, but let’s see what happened in the Social/Political scenario!

4th poll

4th poll


Social Decay.

This is a difficult one to nail down, because typically in Post Apocalyptic stories the social bonds fall apart in response to the apocalypse. In this scenario, however, the actual apocalypse is the breaking of those very social bonds. Humanity loses any sense of cohesion for whatever reason and tears itself apart. Politics, religion, some new technology, whatever the reason is we just can’t go on together and so turn on one another.

So the natural world is collapsing and so is the human world… okay, interesting. Let’s see what the final poll comes up with from the Reality scenarios and maybe we can tie it all together?

5th and final poll

5th and final poll

Shit…

Reality scenarios are the ends of the world that are just bat shit insane; gods giving up on us, reality breaking or time itself fracturing. With that in mind, somehow we managed to get two of them. So that’s totally not going to complicate things at all, is it? We ended up with Forces from Outer Reality and Paranormal apocalypses. So we’ve got Lovecraftian creatures from beyond time and space coming in to cause madness at every turn, as well as ghosts and the afterlife to deal with.

So, just to recap. We’ve got a Professional Criminal who survived a Environmental Collapse/Social Decay/Forces from Outer Reality/Paranormal Apocalypse… that it some complicated shit right there!

If you look back at the dates of the polls, they went from September 1st to September 6th. At the time of writing this it’s the 23rd of September, so clearly it’s been a few weeks since I did the polls and there’s still been nothing written. That’s because this is a seriously complicated set up that I wanted to properly tackle, so I took some time and thought about it. I caught up with some mates last night at a bar and a song came on that gave me the keystone I needed to lock all these disparate building blocks into place.

I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it’s still going to be a short story though I don’t know the exact length. It’s going to be a mindfuck, I know that much. Any story with elder gods and ghosts is sure to be a little weird in parts, so we’re going to have something of a less than conventional Post Apocalyptic story. I’m okay with that.

I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to complete, but this is going to be something that I’m publishing so it’s going to need a cover and everything so despite its low word count it’s not going to be a quick release. On the same page it’s not going to be a Days Too Dark-esque 7-years-in-the-making situation either. So this whole post is basically just a status update. I am actually working on the project and I have made significant progress.

Fret not, those irritating polls weren’t for naught!




The Post Apocalyptic Writing Guide

This is the secret project that I've been working on since the end of last year - The Post Apocalyptic Writing Guide. I sent out a few Advanced Reader Copies last week via Twitter, and so far I'm really happy with how the book has been received. I plan to release on 09/09/18.

The hallowed cover reveal!

The hallowed cover reveal!

There are obviously going to be some who question the legitimacy of me putting out this book when I've only got a single published post apocalyptic work under my belt. Which is, I must admit, a fair claim. To anyone who has any concerns though, I would offer that you should go read Days Too Dark and then decide if this whole venture is appropriate. 

I haven't just written one book and used that as validation for writing a guide on how to create post apocalyptic stories however. I have studied the post apocalyptic genre for years. Decades, even. You know those nerds who abandon society to go down some obscure rabbit hole and become experts on some arcane subject? Yeah - that's me. Before you freak the fuck out and shriek "he think's he's an expert!" just read the following sentence. I don't know everything there is to know about the post apocalyptic genre. I would hate it if I knew everything, because that'd mean that there's nothing new to learn.

I've read a lot, but there are a lot of people who've read far more than I have. I've played and watched a lot too, but just as before - there are those who have consumed way more post apocalyptic content than I have. This guide isn't me trying to lord it over anyone else, especially other authors. The thing is that I'm not interested in being better than anyone else, I'm only interested in being better than who I was yesterday. One of the best ways for me to do that is to be surrounded by, and learn from, people who are better than me. 

I feel old...

I feel old...

This guide is the culmination of everything that I have learned across the years about the post apocalyptic genre, from *many* disparate sources, condensed into a single volume. Whoever comes next, and there will always be someone next because humanity is always freaking out about its demise, won't have to do the leg work that I've done because I've done it for them. The Post Apocalyptic Writing Guide is an effort to bring as many people up to speed as quickly possible. If a newbie Indie Author reads the guide they will know everything I knew about the post apocalyptic genre at the time of writing it. They're still going to have to go read the original texts, obviously, but they're going to be able to find, deconstruct and use them much more efficiently.

I want better post apocalyptic content, that's what this is all about. The genre is having its day at the moment and while that means we're getting a lot of fantastic stories we're also getting a lot of formulaic and mundane shit that's muddying the genre as a whole. I can't learn anything from a cookie-cutter story and I sure as hell can't enjoy it. By putting this guide out, I'm letting everyone know what I know, and that will increase the likelihood that others can/will surpass me. I'll get more to learn from and I'll have more to enjoy. I'm not just a creator of post apocalyptic fiction, I'm also a massive fan. I want to have access to more stories that are of a better quality. So I made the Post Apocalyptic Writing Guide, and I hope that it helps people make better stories.

It's all about passing the reins... and making sure they know everything you do.

It's all about passing the reins... and making sure they know everything you do.

If I've gotten anything wrong in the guide, or if you disagree with anything I've written, then feel free to hit me up. Let's hash it out and make the guide better, because I honestly don't want it out there if it's going to make things harder for people by leading them in the wrong direction. Not everyone is going to agree with everything I've written, I get that, but hopefully something good can come out of the discussion. 

I didn't create the guide on my own, either. If you look in the front you'll see a list of names of people who helped me put the content together, hash out concepts and ideas and just generally told me when I got something stupidly wrong. So, just like in the book, I'd like to thank those who helped me put the guide together.

You may stand alone at the end, but you never got there on your own.

You may stand alone at the end, but you never got there on your own.

If you're wondering about the cover of the book - they're a group of models called the Demolition Dolls who dress up in post apocalyptic attire and attend events. There's this whole other side of the post apocalyptic community that focuses on clothing and props and generally LARP'ing (sort of like cosplay, but with some role playing involved) the post apocalyptic life. There's this weird divide in the community, with some people focusing on the books/movies/games while others do the festivals. Getting the Demolition Dolls on the cover was sort of an olive branch between the two halves of the community. Also, they're all pretty hot and tempting, so there's that aspect to. 

So that's that, there's still a week or two until the planned launch but everything looks to be progressing according to plan. Currently it's going to be an eBook only, but print may become available down the line. It will be available on Amazon, here, and I'm looking at a $2.99 price tag.

If you have any questions or concerns, hit me up or Twitter. 

Cheers

 

My Post Apocalyptic Project

So I was meant to come home and start working on my secret project tonight, but while at the gym I ended up talking to this lovely woman... until 1:30am. So, obviously nothing much has or will be written tonight. However, I will be damn sure to get at least a blog post out!

I have big news in relation to my upcoming book; after an overly long time of faffing about - it's now all in the hands of the graphic designer who will be putting it together for me. This is the last stage of the project, I can't even edit it any more. This  fact alone is terrifying the shit out of me. Just to give you some context, here's a pic from my computer. 

That first file had a bunch of stupid directions in it that were throwing out the word count, but basically it was written in March 2011

That first file had a bunch of stupid directions in it that were throwing out the word count, but basically it was written in March 2011

March 2011 is the earliest copy I've got, but I know I started this story in late 2010. So that's a good seven years that I've been tinkering away at this story, building and adding to it. Now that it's out of my hands I'm obviously relieved but also freaking the hell out - I've been able to work with it for so long!

Those are some interesting jumps in word count there, each time the story has grown in complexity as I've thrown more and more into it. It's not like I've been working on it for seven years straight either, it's done a lot of sitting around while things peculate.

The thing with this story is, and part of me is screaming that I'm even writing this down, it's mostly based on my life. The original inspiration for the story was a dream I had, and the setting never changed, but the plot has grown over the years as I've dug deeper and deeper into a lot of childhood issues that have left some damage. I don't know when exactly, but at a certain point it stopped being just a story and became an outlet for me, a way to deal with some of the stuff I'd been through while growing up.

The main character is based on me, but he's not me. It's a worse off, never tried to fix himself, version of me. My worst case scenario, if you will. I don't know why I even though it possible to write a story about myself and keep that fact a secret, but I've been operating under that delusion for a few years now. But I've been looking at the artwork... and there's pictures of me in there and there's just too many anecdotal stories for readers not to notice something was going on. 

I think I needed to tell myself that I could hide the fact that it's based on my life, but this close to release I can't maintain the lie anymore. The vast majority of characters in this story are based upon people I know, and the vast majority of situations are real events that have happened. The world didn't end though, well... not for you lot, so you're going to have to use some common sense to figure out which parts of the story are true and which are fiction. I think you'll be surprised by the ratio, however.

This story is going to piss some people off...

This story is going to piss some people off...

You don't end up in therapy, for three years, if everything went as it should have. There are going to be some characters in this story who are not shown in the best of lights, and the protagonist is definitely one of them. He's just at the start of his journey though, so cut him some slack.

For other people who don't like how they're portrayed in the story, well... take comfort in the fact that you had an impact on my life, even if it wasn't for the best. I'm not out to get anyone specifically, I should clear that up, but certain individuals are going to get called out for certain things they've done in the past. How they chose to take this is up to them... 

But, to end things on a lighter note - I've got something of an announcement. To kick off the count down to completion, and hopefully, subsequent release - I'm doing a cover and title reveal! 

Those tears will look better when they're backed by cardboard....

Those tears will look better when they're backed by cardboard....

Days too Dark is the name of my upcoming novel, it's a Post Apocalyptic Log set after the world was plunged into darkness. It's an exploration of the narrators background as well as the end times - and why the former makes him so suited to the later. This is his actual journal mind you, so it's going to be jam packed with his scrawled writing and there's some fantastic artwork in there from a few very talented artists. 

What this means though, is that I had to get creative with the cover. He can't have an awesome picture of himself standing outside some ruined building, the tattered remains of civilization scattered about, because this is his actual journal. It's got to look like something that a person would be writing in after the world ends! So this is what I came up with... I managed to get a little creative with the symbolism, and I get that it's not the most flashy cover but it meshes really well with the overall project. 

There's still a little way to go before I'm ready to announce the release date, but I figured that I'm all giddy with excitement so I'd give an announcement.

So that's it! What do you all think?

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.