Shadow of an Empire Update

Hey readers! Dropping a small news update here for Friday afternoon to keep you updated on Shadow of an Empire‘s Alpha progress!

And the update is … It’s going well! I’m about halfway through cleaning up miscellaneous errors and fixing little plot niggles that slipped through, and so far the feedback from the Alpha Readers seems to be that it’s a fantastic story with fascinating characters, a cool setting, unique magic system, and fun plot. With, you know, minor Alpha stuff to fix here and there, which is the point of an Alpha after all. Making sure all the numbers add up, that there aren’t any lingering loose ends, etc etc.

Crud, two of them finished it in the first week. I’m playing catch up with the changes!

Bottom line, though, is that the Alpha is going well and it doesn’t appear that there will be a third Alpha, which means … Yes, Shadow of an Empire will be moving into Beta! Which, naturally, means that there will be openings for Beta Readers soon. Interested? Let me know. If you’re a prior Beta Reader, especially, as you guys are basically instant welcomes.

So, what does this mean in the long run? Well … it means that a release could come as early as, oh … Mid-April! No promises, but … that’s the goal!

Anyway, back to it! I need to get a bunch of chapters done today so I can get this into Beta!

The Tabletop Report – Gears of War: Session 6

It’s time for Tabletop Report! For the uninitiated, Tabletop Report is a new series chronicling the adventures of my DnD group as I run them through a custom campaign and ruleset based off of Microsoft’s Gears of War universe.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gears of War, and I’m totally not claiming otherwise. I just really love the universe, and have wanted to run a campaign set in it for the longest time. The system I built is entirely my own, and this game is a test-run of its viability as a full tabletop system.

This is the report summary for session 6! Prior sessions will be listed before the break if you need to catch up. Some knowledge of Gears of War‘s greater universe may be helpful. Now, let’s see what happened to our players after last week!

Session Six – Act 1, Chapter 3 Part 2

When we’d last left our players, they’d decided to head out the following morning for a remote weather station out to the east, with the goal of installing a relay into it so that Ray—and the team—would have radio coverage over a larger area, as well as weather reports. However, the team didn’t want to leave the moment the sun rose. Instead, after camping out in Ray’s shop (he didn’t let them into the heavily fortified house above it) they decided to spend a little time first acquiring some more stuff from his scrapyard—mostly odds and ends to make sure that their own equipment would stay in good shape. They also hunted down a few more bike frames in order to make travel easier. Of course, they were missing tires and gears, but it was a start. They added the bike frames to the wagon and trailers they’d put together. Unfortunately, due to some poor rolls, this took them several hours.

Continue reading

Being a Better Writer: Good Subversions

Welcome back, readers, to another Being a Better Writer post!

Okay, so it’s not that surprising. After all, these things have been dropping like clockwork each Monday for almost five years now, so any surprise at this point either means you’re new or really poor at picking up on patterns. But in any case, it’s Unusual Things‘ … well, thing!

Anyway, I got all relevant news out of the way last week with the last news post, and there’s nothing new that’s worth bringing up at this time, so let’s just dive in to today’s topic shall we? And, oh yes, this is a request topic (clearing out the last of Topic List Ten, so get ready to suggest new topics), one that’s been a long time coming!

So, today we’re going to talk about writing good subversions. Which, almost immediately, means that our first question is going to be “What is a subversion?”

Well, it’s both simple and more complicated than it seems at the same time. But a subversion is when the story sets up an expected path, event, trope, etc, and then when the moment arrives to bring that same event/trope/story element to its expected conclusion … something happens to turn everything the reader expected about said element on its head. It’s called a subversion because when you subvert something, you undermine the established “traditional” narrative, or disrupt it. In other words, you—the author—have become a subversive element to an established trope, event, etc.

Let’s talk examples, and pick one of the more famous ones: The classic fantasy damsel in distress. We’ll start with an even more common story-arc in this formula, that of the princess being kidnapped by a dragon, and a heroic knight sent out to rescue her in return for her hand in marriage. That’s the classic setup echoed across fairy-tale and folklore for the longest time.

Now? Let’s subvert it! Sat we follow this story, it’s novella length, from the knight’s perspective as he travels across the land, in pursuit of this dragon and hunting for its lair. Then, after a time and some arduous travels, he arrives to find … That the princess doesn’t want to be rescued, thank you very much. She’s best friends with the dragon, been pen pals for years, and her dragon friend wasn’t kidnapping her but saving her from … Oh, an abusive parentage, or an arranged marriage of political convenience that the knight was specifically not told about (so that the king can conveniently backstab him later). The princess isn’t being poorly treated, but in fact is living well and finding her true calling as a baker …

Continue reading

February Patreon Supporter Reward News, Shadow of an Empire News, and Other News! Basically News.

Just a quick heads up for those of you that are Patreon Supporters, but the February Patreon Supporter Reward is up! Continuing with the theme started in December, it’s an early look at Shadow of an Empire, chapters six and seven. Yes, which means Patreon Supporters now have access to the first seven alpha chapters of Shadow. That’s about a sixth or seventh of the book; not a bad primer for the upcoming release!

If you’re not a Patreon Supporter, but the prospect interests you, then you can click your way over to my Patreon page and take a look at what’s there!

On to other news, what about Shadow of an Empire? Well, at this point, several of the Alpha Readers have finished running through it and are already going back over the Alpha 2 for a second run. From what I’m hearing, there won’t be an Alpha 3, but instead, Shadow will be moving into Beta 1! Hoorah! Granted, we’re not quite all the way through, so something could still crop up. But it hasn’t yet!

Continue reading