Tag Archives: Imagination

The day I introduce “Infinite Advent,” a different kind of RPG.

The following excerpts in full the first chapter of my source rulebook. “Infinite Advent” is a working title.


Infinite Advent is a tabletop fantasy role-playing game with several breaks from traditional staples of the genre:

  • There aren’t specific character classes (like Fighter, Wizard or Cleric). However, archetypical characters like those classes can be developed if the player chooses.
  • Character development is determined by the player’s choice to explore paths and disciplines in any order or combination.
  • There is no arbitrary division in mechanics between attacks, feats, skills, proficiencies, spells, powers, rituals, saves and defenses. Read More →

Is networking really the answer? Are we really that shallow?

Two of the authors in the Writing Excuses podcast have mentioned they broke in with a boost due to networking.

The last query letter I submitted (and many prior) received a form rejection letter. It can’t be the quality of the story, the work, which they haven’t even seen. It might be the quality of the query letter, but I can correspond professionally. Hell, in my day job, people ask me to help them compose messages so they sound cleaner, easier to read, and more professional.

It might be that the story didn’t grab the agent’s or intern’s imagination, which sometimes happens. But it’s hard to give a story full credit in synopsis. They have a tendency to all sound flat, lame, contrived.


Try to summarize your favorite film or show right now in a few short sentences and see if it wouldn’t sound lame to someone else (assuming they weren’t already a fan).

So what’s the difference between having your query letter read or ignored?

Seems like whether or not you’ve had coffee with the recipient is the key ingredient.

Happy Blue Year

A Blue MoonWelcome 2010.

To me, a new year is intimidating in much the same way a blank sheet of paper (physical or word processed). My imagination offers me limitless potential, which has a way of freezing me in place. There are too many possibilities, and I don’t dare sully the new page or year with throwaway text. Whatever I write next sets the tone for every page that follows, right?

There’s just too much pressure to get it right.

What shall I cover?

The most dangerous drive, round trip, of my entire life?

Finally seeing my family again after a year and a half?

North Carolina’s new ban on smoking in restaurants and bars?

My co-worker who was arrested after living for years under a secret identity?

New Year’s [yawn] resolutions?

My vote is:

None of the above. As a storyteller, I have an obligation to share with you each of those tales. But I have a bigger obligation to get them right, and there just isn’t time right now.

Mentioning the constraint of time remains me that a New Year is less like a blank page than you might think. It is already filled with commitments and obligations; we don’t return to work to scrap last year’s projects and start with new ones. Our financial situation is the same on 1/1 as it was on 12/31. There’s no mystical erasure at work when the clock strikes midnight.

Just an opportunity to reflect how we might do better going forward. Last year, for example, I started this website. It didn’t magically infuse my writing career, but it has helped mold me as a writer.

So let me contend myself with wishing you well, and hoping you had as much fun over the holidays as I did, sans road hazards and travel aggravations.I urge you not to make undeliverable promises to yourselves or others. I think it’s more useful just to consider how we might improve in general, and to make progress on some of the goals we already had.

A New Year, much like a blue moon (which occurred this New Year’s Eve), is a mundane rarity. Make use of it without letting it hold you in awe.

But make it a good one.

Past due events don’t show up

In the previous post, I mentioned that IGMS had not replied to Woman’s Best Friend yet and referred you to the sidebar on the right.

However, the sidebar only states, “No upcoming events.”

I guess my calendar addon doesn’t support “past due” events; it assumes if the date has passed, the event is complete. This is not the case. IGMS is due to respond to me by Mar 28th and hasn’t yet; granted, that date fell on a weekend, so if they reply on the 30th, it’s effectively the same.

But in the meanwhile I am crossing my fingers (and other extremeties I shall leave to thine imagination) that they are giving WBF more consideration than most manuscripts.

So say we all.

The goal

woahOstensibly, my goal is publication. But publication is just the beginning.

A bigger goal is a full-time writing career. But the time/money relationship is very incidental; there are politics and processes involved which have nothing to do with raw talent or imagination.

The REAL goal, the one I don’t think I have met yet, is for my reader to finish a story I wrote, and say (very Neo-like):


The feedback since starting the blog is very helpful, but it’s also very dry. My readers acknowledge that I am professional, that I have skill, that a story works. What they don’t say is, “Damn, that story blew me away.”

And I’m not saying it should have…yet. It’s only been a few weeks since I began devoting this much time to my writing career.

But that’s the goal. And I want you, my friends, to understand that’s where I set the bar. Not on publication, not on wealth, not on accolades or awards or reviews.

If my science fiction doesn’t make you think, if my fantasy doesn’t awe you, if my horror doesn’t chill you to the bone, I’m not the writer I strive to be. And I need your help to get there. That’s what this blog is about.

This was unexpected…

spore_galaxy_wallpaper_1680px_by_weejewelI ventured back into Spore the other day for the simple reason of refreshing myself for the review of it (below).

Now I’m hooked on it all over again, even after I raked it over the coals for lack of replay value. I expect my enthusiasm to fade again with repetition, at least until the xpac release, but for the time being I’m fully immersed again, and recently uploaded both my 50th vehicle and 50th building designs.

What does this have to do with writing science fiction? Spore lets me design, evolve, animate, and control my own aliens! What the gameplay lacks, imagination supplies.