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2016 Book Blitz - February: Spiral Island 1

Okay, so I very clearly failed here. But for reasons. Not necessarily good reason, but reason.

This was, perhaps, the hardest of all of the books I'll be writing this year. Becuase it's nature is very different. Several of the books I have a detailed outline of chapter to chapter, some of them I just have a general plot that I'll be making up as I go along. But for this one, this is a true adaptation, because I had an outline of where to go for it, but it wasn't nearly as simple as that.

Spiral Island was planned as a video game. So, too, are the next two books, making up the trilogy. But in this case it was the only one that was already planned as a video game. I had already written a complete script, and was working off of that when I was working on making the game to publis on Xbox Live Indie Games back in 2009-2010, before I shelved it for a while for my lack of artistic talent. But I had everything planned out, everything written. Some of the story has been changed since then as I'd expanded, changed, or clarified things as I further worked on the worldbuilding after that game effort ended, so there was some script rewriting that was going to be going along with this in prelude to a full script overhaul, but still, as I sat there working on properly novelizing it, I realized more than ever what an undertaking it was. A lot of the game's events exist as gameplay for a JRPG, and that doesn't really translate easily to a novel. So then it was down to what was needed and what wasn't.

I rewrote my outline several times, adding and deleting sections. I skipped boss battles or character interactions that weren't necessary to the overal theme of the book itself, as a consolidation of the story for a specific purpose. Characters are mentioned briefly in passages as we skip around in the complete game's script that don't actually get introduced, and other characters that are important to certain plot lines in the game aren't mentioned at all. At one point, following the origianl script turned out that all of the original script for a very key scene, with everything that had been changed in the lore since meant everything in that original dialogue had to be tossed out and written from scratch, and so I had to make up a whole new plot line to fill in gap left by the fact that removing that meant the plot wasn't moving anymore. Keeping the whole thing as one cohesive peice proved difficult, and with it finally done I'll have to go through it all very thorougly to make sure it all does make sense with the skipping around and fits the theme of what's going on. 

That's partially why I fell behind and never caught up. I was slacking, for sure, as I missed seven whole days of writing period, which is a whole quarter of the month, but days where I got well under the 2500 word goal was because I was just there tyring to figure out how to write a scene in prose that was designed for the visuals of a game, and try to decide whether I should describe something or leave it out. Spiral Island the game, way back when it started as a RPG Maker 95 project had three main bosses that it started with before any story was written just placed on the open map. Those remain, written into the game's script, but here in the novelization the only critical elment was what lead up to the first so the first was skipped, the second was skipped entirely without mention, and so only the last got any description. Other boss battles from the game's script I skip entirely, skip over with a scene break mid-chapter, or abberviate because they have actual dialogue  going on in them. It was actually easiest to write the chapter that fit the newly introduced plot, overall, because making it up from scratch meant I only minimaly had to make sure it fit with everything else, and didn't have to worry about trying to go from a script and scene directions into prose writing. I'm going to write a couple more post-mortem articles with chapter samples about how this all, so that will come later this month. 

For sure, this kind of slacking isn't going to work for the rest of the year, that chart filled with red is awful. But the worst is behind me, the most difficult part of this blitz done, and so the rest of the year should run smoother.

Sat, 05 Mar 2016 16:00:00 -0600

Eliza’s Notes - 03: Age of Darkness

The darkest sides of man shine through when people live in fear.

The curse from the lord of the underworld is not without its place. Wrath, Pride, Greed Envy, and Sloth, the great sins described as from which all evil spawns, but I could tell you now that it’s simpler than that. Evil spawns from hunger, and evil spawns from fear.

Let it not be known that, even as ages pass, people have forgotten yet what took place on Aughylia. It is still ever-present in the sky, clear to see whenever the planet is close. The planet is frozen and dead, volcanic activity from Menos Cor’s weapon covering it with ash and freezing it. The day the earth shook, people merely took pause. The day ash began to fell from the Vaudios sky, people began to worry. As the temperatures fell, worry turned to panic, and panic turned to crime. Once the snow started to fall, and crops began to freeze, crime turned to the darkest evils, as people were starting to be sure that the world was doomed to die as well, or that it was Damien of Nyskina come back for their souls.

From the observation balloon I launched with a remote viewing spell, it seems the volcano wasn’t on our continent, but a volcano on the large landmass to our north, situated near the coast. We were on the edge of where the wind carried the ash here, luckily as closer to the volcano appears to have been heavily buried by ash, but the biggest problem was not the ash itself but the effect it had on the atmosphere. The first few months the temperatures fell significantly enough to freeze crops. After that a

transition of Aughylia across the sun made the temperatures fall even more, devastating the region and causing mass deaths, many from violence and starvation and many from hypothermia. It took about ten years for temperatures to truly return to normal, but by then the damage was long done.

Raiders banded together, forming parties. Parties banded together forming alliances. Alliances banded together forming armies. Armies were supplied by those who had horded and cut off the food supplies. Powers emerged, several smaller at first, then one that was ambitious. It was a Vor-rodeq man who truly started it, now dubbed Emperor Rorozak I, who started a massive expansion campaign to get the food supplies into his control. In his eyes, he thought the best way to stop the violence that had broken out would be to bring everyone under one rule, his rule, one nation stretching across the land, bringing the people into a military order to protect them from violence and feed them and shelter them.

But where power comes, power is abused. Multiple generations have passed since then, and we’re now under the rule of Rorozak V. A fierce trichotomy was created by that time, with the land devolving into a feudalist society with three castes: the serfs working the land, the soldiers guarding the land, and the nobles who owned the land. As the years have progressed society has depressed to support this system. The water systems of the past were destroyed, and sanitation is poor. Child mortality is high, old age average has dropped, as the knowledge of healing magic has been hoarded and kept secret for power and disease and illness is rampant. The nobles initiated a new writing and ledger system that only they know and understand, so literacy fell by the wayside as the old writing system fell useless.

I myself had to retreat, make myself scarce, in order to protect the knowledge I have built up over the ages. My main home is hidden, protected by magic, but as I travel to observe the people I have to keep to myself and not interact with too many people. I hear tales from children in the lands I travel through that a witch dwells in the dark forests who kills and eats naughty children who stray too far from home. I don’t eat people. But the tales could also be mixing in stories from during the frozen years, as it was known a number of people had resorted to cannibalism.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear currently that this fallen system will be corrected any time soon. The system is tuned so that those in power stay in power, they hold all the keys and hold all the knowledge. The soldiers serve the nobles. The soldiers can’t turn against the nobles as the nobles have the magic. The serfs can’t turn against the soldiers as the soldiers have the weapons. The serfs can only stop working the land, but they would be the first to starve as the nobles are still in control of the food stores. Something drastic will have to happen in order for this system to be upturned.

It cannot last, of course. Empires rise and empires fall, they can’t last forever. Unfortunately, I cannot foresee when this one will finally fall. Each new generation that passes under this system means that’s the only thing they’ve ever known, anything different is ancient ancestral tales that seem more and more like fantasy to them than history. And there’s very little I myself can do, a single old woman wandering among the people.

Tue, 01 Mar 2016 07:00:00 -0600