August 18, 2006
Total Constant Amazement
Now that I've had some time and distance (not to mention some sleep in a real bed) to get my head on straight, I'm thinking about, and processing, everything that happened at Gen Con. It was an amazing trip. I'm so glad I went. It did so much for me as a person and as an author, I can't really express how much.
On the Game Writing Front...
I went to Gen Con mainly to meet up with my editors from Sovereign Press, Jamie and Sean. As a bonus, I got to also meet Renee (office guru and art director), Brian (freelance copy editor) who was my editor on my book The Player's Setting Guide to Castlemourn. Each of these people made me feel so welcome and wanted. It made me wish I could sit down with them over coffee or a meal and leisurely get to know them. For the most part, that was impossible for Gen Con.
The next reason I went to Gen Con was to sign my book and talk about upcoming work. Honestly, I was not looking for more work outside of Sovereign Press and maybe Shadowrun. I knew I had Sovereign Press and Otherworld Creations. Shadowrun is just one of my favorite settings. I did not need more. Not with a full time job and my Writing Year coming up.
I did get information on my next SP project. It is, for me, fricking amazing. I'm thrilled at the project and my new co-author. I'm totally dancing in the streets over it. Also, I have my Shadowrun contact. I walked up to the SP booth where Sean waved me over.
"Sprite, this is Jennifer, one of my best writers and just co-wrote a book with Ed Greenwood. She really likes Shadowrun and said she'd like to write for you."
Green haired "Sprite" smiled at me, "Oh, really?" *whips out a business card and hands it to me* "That's great. I'm looking for new developers. Email me."
One of my best contacts was with Brian Gute, my copy editor. He was very interesting. The second day, he pulled me aside, "Yesterday, you asked me what I thought of your work and I said I liked it. I did and still do. However, now that I've figured out you are confident person and author, here are some issues I saw." He sat me down and pointed out some issues. A couple minor, one big one. The big one was so glaring that I wished I had been able to work with him in a back and forth manner instead of writing the whole darned thing and tossing it over the wall at him. We talked pretty deeply about writing and editing. I was so impressed that I asked Sean that if he was going to get a freelance copy editor for the new SP project, I would really like it to be Brian. It looks like that is a done deal now.
Ed Greenwood and Our Book...
Meeting Ed and seeing our book in hardcopy was too cool for words. There it was, in print, my name on the cover of a book. The first of many, I hope. Ed was an outrageous flirt and tease. When I didn't react in horror, he poured it on, making sure to get me to blush every single time we met. Other than that, he was kind, generous and helpful. I learned a whole lot about the writing business and about being a minor celebrity by watching him.
At one point, after one guy had regaled Ed with his character's "No shit, there I was..." story (which he had done for the past 6 Gen Cons running; picking up the story exactly where he left off), then went to buy the Castlemourn book, Ed leaned to me and said, "Imagine being stuck in a room filled with 5000 clones of that guy and everyone of them wants to make love to you." Aghast, I asked, "Why on earth would I want to do that?" "Because..." he said, "when you can handle that, you will be able to handle anything." It was quite the revelation.
He never had to let me sign with him. The only Sov Press signing was the one on Sunday. The rest, he was signing in the WotC booth and simply told them that he'd like me there with him. Please. They, of course, said yes and I got to talk to other copy editors about their opinions. It was very interesting.
The other really cool thing Ed did was constantly tell people that I did all the work on the book. His name was slapped on there for good measure. I was pretty pleased. I did do the bulk of the work on that book but it was all based on pages and pages of his work. All I had to do was reference it and spin a tale around it.
People I met - Famous, Sorta Famous and Not Famous...
I met a number of very interesting folk. The ones I'm listing are the ones I had a meaningful interaction with. There are probably more but I don't really remember right now.
Famous: Ed Greenwood, Larry Elmore, Donato Giancola, Margaret Weis, James Ward
Famous people, by and large, are really nice people. At least at Gen Con they were. Every one greeted me warmly and spoke to me like I was a real human being. Watching Ed, Larry and Margaret graciously deal with rabid fanboys was amazing to see. They were patient and attentive. It was a good learning experience for me.
Sorta Famous: Jamie & Renae Chambers, Sean Everette, Brian Gute, Rob Boyle, Cam Banks
These known-within-the-business people were also really great to be around. Each one of them made me feel welcome and checked on me from time to time. They also endured lots and lots and lots of questions from me on how things worked. Plus, when I really liked one artist, Renae allowed me to drag her over to see his work. Looks like I got him a couple of starter contracts because of it. That makes me feel good.
Not Famous (yet and still cool): Eddy (eddyfate), Ari (mouseferatu), Ivan (ivan23), Rick (shaharazad), Ryan (macklinr), Adam
Meeting my TEoP authors was beyond excellent and I will wax lyrical about them soon. There were two other people from LJ that I knew were coming - Eddy and Ari. I sought out Eddy and found him. We had a short talk that made me wish we could talk quietly elsewhere but that was not to be. Ari sought me out and I felt terrible when I discovered it. I was talking the only other female freelance author at Sov Press that I know of and there was a guy waiting patiently nearby. I thought he was waiting for her. So, ten minutes later when she left, I expected him to go with her. But, instead, he introduced himself to me, said hello from Matt and asked me to sign his book. I was so surprised and pleased that I think I made a fool of myself. I honestly can't remember what I said.
Adam was unexpected. You see, I used to work with Adam at EED. So, when Renae shouted at me and pointed at me, I was startled, thinking I had messed up somehow. Then, Adam showed up with his girlfriend and we talked. He got a couple of Castlemourn books and I promised to get Ed to sign them. As it turned out, they found Ed earlier and asked him where I was! He pointed them at the Sov Press booth and told them that I did all the work on the book. It was way cool. Both books got signed; one for Elspeth back home, one for Adam.
Why yes, I did game at Gen Con. Four times, even. No one is more surprised than I at this fact. I thought I would get to game once, maybe, in a Thursday night pick up game.
Ferstaal - Ferstaal is a fantasy based game that Ivan and I play online that Rick GMs. We invited Ryan to come play too because we all wanted to game together and it would be right after the TEoP meeting Thursday night. It was a great pick up game that advanced the plot in the LJ community a whole lot. Plus, there will be much angst soon due to the Romeo and Juliet Not-Romance that two of the characters are in.
7th Sea - Friday night, Ivan invited me to go play 7th Sea with him. I didn't think I'd get in but I did. Not sure what Ivan said to the GM but it must have been good because I was pretty much told to go screw with everyone's head. The only background I was given was that I was a "Free Thinker" - anti-government. Therefore, I pulled out a very old darling, Cathena Rivera, and played her to the hilt. I completely mucked up two plotlines with the GM's blessing and had a marvelous time. Next year, I will definitely sign up for this event.
Truth & Justice - Saturday morning, we decided to make Ryan run Truth & Justice, Chad Underkoffler's (chadu) game. He had been raving about it all weekend and it was time to put up or shut up. I know I was a hard sell. My goodness, not only did he put up, he anty-ed up. I don't like superhero games. I don't really like superhero comics. Most superhero games are so complicated that you need calculators to work it all out. By the time I'm done making the character, trying to express a straight forward concept in complex stats, I don't want to have anything to do with the bloody character.
Not so with T&J. I came up with a concept: A woman who can look at a situation, assess it and then manipulate the probabilities (or fate or luck) around it to make things go the way she wants them to. It's a hard one for some games to put into stats. However, less than 10 minutes later, I had a full character sheet. Settling on her name took me longer than figuring out her stats.
Ryan then meshed the three characters together and had a really good adventure set and played in under two hours. I really like the way the dice rolling went. It augmented the game instead of interrupting it. I was so impressed with this game that I went out and bought it. It was the last copy on the shelf. I am seriously considering turning my Conquest game from Unisystem to T&J.
Burning Wheel - Saturday night, I got abandoned by everyone. So, I meekly called up Ivan and asked if I could come over and hang out with him and his crew. It was good timing since they were done with a board game and were about to start Burning Wheel. Unlike T&J, character creation was a bit crunchy and confusing. However, we had a Burning Wheel expert there who ran us through character creation quickly when we got bogged down.
However, once creation was done, the system played well. I really liked the "What is your intent?" question when making decisions. Ivan had a really good grasp of the GM narrative to reflect the players' intent whether or not they succeeded. I really enjoyed the game once it started.
The Edge of Propinquity...
At the end of 2005, I had an idea for a webzine I wanted to do. I wanted it to be a collaborative effort with 3-4 other authors. I put a call out on the net for this to see who might be interested. I got several responses and talked to them all about my vision and what I wanted to see. To my amazement, everyone seemed to like it - from the theme of the webzine, to the look of it, to the rules and schedules I wanted to put in place. Every one of us could see the potential in it for a wonderful creative endeavor.
Here we are eight months later and I still see the enthusiasm from myself and my authors: Ivan Ewert, Ryan Macklin and Rick Silva. I said thank you to them at Gen Con and I hope I was able to express how grateful and pleased I have been that they have all followed my vision and helped make it better than I ever thought possible. I can't say enough good things about them. So, guys - thank you for everything.
Now, on to the business part of things.
1. The first question was - Are we willing to do a second year? I was but I wanted to make sure they were, too. They were. So, I unveiled my thoughts for Year Two. As Year One was all about Revelations, Year Two would encompass the Consequences of those Revelations. However, since no mystery is truly known and more that is known, the more we realize how little we do know. So, Year Two is officially "Revelations & Consequences."
2. The next order of business was the addition of another regular TEoP author. I have been talking back and forth with a friend for some time about this and he wants to do it. Now that the crew has approved this, I need to have an editor/writer talk with him. He may decline the invitation to join because I'm a big meanie when it comes to herding cats. If he accepts, there will be an announcement later in the year.
3. The next big change will involve Guest Authors. Instead of having two guest authors on the cardinal months, we will be having one guest author every month. We will be holding open an open Call for Submission. That means you do not need to be invited to write for TEoP to get in. However, I suspect I will be inviting people to submit on a regular basis. Also, TEoP is a paying market. We will be paying a flat fee per story. That fee will be announced when the Call for Submissions goes up.
4. Once we move to Year Two, we will be hosting permanent archives for the regular TEoP authors and guest author stories will stay in the archives for one year.
5. We decided not to host a private forum as we do have a LiveJournal where people can give us feedback. We really do want to hear what you guys think of our work. Every author wants to know if they connected emotionally to a reader.
6. We discussed all sorts of interesting marketing strategies. Nothing definite. More to come as it warrants.
7. Finally, we will be instituting an RSS Feed for the front page of the Edge of Propinquity. So, if you don't want to be on the yahoo group notify list or the various livejournals, this will be one more way for you to be reminded when we have updated.
We wanted to thank everyone who supported us thus far and hope you will all join us for Year Two of the Edge of Propinquity!
Tarot Card for the Day: The Hierophant