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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.



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Date: 05 Mar 2016 - 22:37
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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.




Date: 01 Mar 2016 - 13:58
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Eliza’s Notes - 02: Age of Flight

Now seems to be a good point to declare that we are in a new age. We will call this one the age of flight.

Back on Aughylia, flight was possible with magic, but rarely done because of the control it would require over the flow of magic to keep the vessel aloft. Designs for vessels that could actually fly properly were pursued, vessels designed on the flight of birds or of insects, but no serious funding ever was put forth to make a practical and proper vessel. As such, with the death of the first few generations and the stories they were passed down by the colonists, all knowledge of such things were dismissed completely.

It was a Hokeno pursuit, of course. Who else, they are the ones born with birdlike feathers, and they were always the ones most interested in the magic wings that James used. If I had to bet on anyone inventing flight I would have put my money on it being a Hokeno first. But what I wasn’t expecting was the form it would take. I was expecting a birdlike vessel, with wings, instead what they invented was the hot air balloon. A mere party favor in Aughylia days given to children, using the principle of heated air being lighter than regular air. But they have perfected it.

The initial invention just supported one person. A large leather bladder, inflated and heated, with a canopy below it for the person to sit, with a tank for fuel and a geared rowing device to cycle large paddles to go forward or backwards. The initial ship wasn’t much, and it couldn’t get very far on its fuel supply before running out and falling to the ground, but it worked, and for the first time in Vaudios history the people flew in the air. From there the designs were improved, refined, adjusted, and expanded, leading to the advanced state of today. Now we have multi-chambered air vessels, capable of carrying multiple passengers and cargo, capable of traveling up to sixty miles per hour, and capable of flying long distances without having to land and refuel. With this newfound flight, people have expanded out and explored.

From these explorations, we’ve gotten a fair detail of what our current landmass is like now. The continent we are on is consistent of two land masses linked by a small land pass halfway across, the entire length from east to west spanning roughly four thousand miles. We’re on the far western end of this continent, the landmass north to south on this half has a rough average length of about fourteen hundred miles, and on the other half the average north to south length is about seven hundred miles. Another landmass is reportedly to the north, but it’s too far for air travel with current technology, and sea travel isn’t really pursued for any significant distances yet.

Other than expeditions to the eastern half of the continent, there hasn’t been any human influence there. But here on the western half there has been expansion, all along the west coast and inland now multiple settlements have spread and begun growing. With a large enough spread of population now I can freely wander among the populations again without people realizing I shouldn’t belong, as I just fit in as any other old person who appears to be traveling on her own. Crime is on the rise, but of course that’s to be expected as the population gets larger, and so larger, proper police forces have risen from the older volunteer security detail.

As the population grows, and technology expands, new careers are born and no longer is everyone just working in farms, although still much is based on the movement and delivery of food. Vehicles are constructed to aide on farms, or move food from farms. Warehouses are built and staffed with people to sort and transport the food. Roads and corridors laid to support the vehicles transporting the food, and stores and bakeries and restaurants built to distribute food to the people. Water is much the same, as people have carried on the plumbing and water distribution networks quickly established upon arrival on Vaudios in our original colony, so dams divert water, water filtration and treatment makes it clean and safe for consumtion, plumbers and pipefitters move the water through the towns, and sewers carry the waste to be processed and used for fertilizer. Just by matter of course for the population, there’s not much purely academic pursuit yet, or significantly developed sole entertainment industries, but they are slowly emerging and leading to such things as the development of flight we have reached.

I have myself taken a balloon flight just recently. It wasn’t one of the long explorative endeavors, just from the northernmost settlement to the southernmost one, but seeing the land from above it is quite something else. Everything looks so tiny, like a model, and it’s clear to see we’ve touched so little of just the land that we have already spread to, much less the planet. There were never any clear globes of Vaudios that I remember seeing as a child, but from what I do remember of glancing up at it during it’s perigee is most of the middle of the world is covered by a significantly large series of continents, and so I suspect the one we’re on now may be one of the smallest landforms. There’s a long time to go yet before we fully tame this world. So long that I do not myself even expect to see it now, just as a matter of course that some accident will likely take my life before that.



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Date: 02 Feb 2016 - 08:59
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2016: The Year I Write 7 Books

It's been four years now since I started doing NaNoWriMo. In that time I've written five books. Three which were completed, two which were not, and one of which was written outside of the actual November period. And while they've only been read by people who know me personally, I do intend on getting them published and available for the public to purchase. A Much Needed Vacation, the one I wrote in 2014 has been undergoing continual editing, and hopefully be good enough to go sometime this year, the other two complete ones aren't long enough so will need some more writing to them, and the two incomplete ones I intend to complete and possibly look at submitting to publisher. 

But even with those five books all or mostly written, I've started a lot more books that have very little done to them. Some just outlines, some a few chapters were written. I've got such a huge backlog of things I've already started that it would take a drastic step to catch up on it all. And so that's what I'm going to do. Take that drastic step. And write them all in NaNoWriMo-like blitzes. Every even month this year I'll hit a book from the backlog, as well as November itself. The three books of the Spiral Island trilogy, the sequel story to The Pocketwatch, all of the rest of Red Ice, and two more books in the same universe of Spiral Island that are in particular related to Vacation, which together with the miniseries Eliza's Notes which will be posted over the year will complete that arc of that story. That's almost everything that's currently on my backlog, the only remaining thing being the text adventure I've been working on, which I was going to do December but shelved it when I realized there was a lot more content then could be written out in a single book and I didn't want to wait a year to get back to novelizing it since I had everything else scheduled.

And so that's the plan. Seven months, seven novels. The off months will be for other software development, and try to get some kind of game work done, but for this year I plan on mind dumping into written pages. 

I still have to wonder if it still counts as a novelization of a video game if the book version ends up coming out before the game does...



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Date: 17 Jan 2016 - 20:30
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Eliza’s Notes - 01: Age of Sorrow

A time of great mourning. The people are filled with sorrow. The end of an era has now come to pass.

The final colonist to survive, Hellen, has died. She outlived everyone else by a long amount, living past my own ‘death’ for about twenty years, making her final age, if I’m doing the math right, to be nearly a hundred years old. Or maybe over a hundred. It took me some time to get the conversion defined properly and I may have lost a few years in there. Nonetheless, a great funeral was held honoring her memory, and with it the memory of all who came from Aughylia, and in its aftermath, the people of Vaudios are now lost, unsure of where they will go next.

Vaudios. The name they have taken for this world. Derived from an old Varilan language from the colony name, Vau Dios, new Dios. The town itself retains the name New Ildios, though. There are many differences on Vaudios than Aughylia, things that were strange to all of us from Aughylia but the new generations on this world don’t understand when we try to describe the differences.

The lack of significant seasons, for one, as this planet’s axis has no tilt and stays constant, although some semblance of seasons come into play once Aughylia moves into the path to the sun and absorbs some of our light, as our worlds share the same plane of orbit on the path to the sun. It’s not quite large enough to completely eclipse us, but the lessened solar output during that transition has been enough to effect the weather for at least a month or so. Vaudios’s moon, however, appears much larger in the sky than both the sun and Aughylia does, and while the orbit seems to suggest it would be quite rare, with it’s slow orbital period of 41 days any eclipsing from that could lead to some significant and immediate temperature drops during that transition period.

Since there are no regular seasons, defining a year is done by the stars, and it takes a whole 587 days to orbit our sun, a whopping 244 days longer than on Aughylia. The people are still using a converted year rate from Aughylian time, but I suspect with the last Aughylian dead now it will quickly fall to the wayside. Part of the night sky is unfamiliar to people and they’ve been making new constellations, as we seem to be in the southern hemisphere of Vaudios, and the Ildios continent was in the northern hemisphere of Aughylia and there were relatively few who had traveled to the south and knew its stars.

In conversations I had with Hellen after James left our world, she mentioned she had learned from visions about the plan Dean Yan had for repopulating this world led to his choices for population for the immediate growth of the world. The needs of the first generations fulfilled, the more recent generations have been more varied in what they’ve been seeking. On Aughylia, inter-species coupling was met with taboo and scorn, and any children of such pairings were met with mocking and violence. Now people are trying to shake off that ancient tradition of hate. Unfortunately, while all five species are capable of producing children with each other, a trait no doubt attributed to the genetic modifications by that evil power the original colonists of Aughylia escaped from, in practice it seems the taboo apparently rose from practical results, as it seems the chances of a child successfully coming to term are very low as no such pregnancy has yet been successful.

The lessons of James are not yet forgotten. The curse by the lord of the underworld, an amusing term comparing to Aughylian lore I’ve come to hear describe James’s final transformed state before he left, still weighs heavy on everyone’s minds as people actively try not to fall to the sins prescribed on each of the individual species. A significant effort is put into their everyday lives to include regular inter-species mingling, with policies for mixed-species councils, staffing, and so on. It seems, as they have come to take it, the best way to avoid falling into the sins is for them to never allow themselves to be isolated in large groups of any single species, a policy which seems to be working, but for how much longer as the population grows it can be sustained I do not know.

For now, at least, the people are getting along well enough. Food needs are met, with great effort, and the town expands steadily. The nature of magic use has changed from what I knew on Aughylia, with one species not able to use magic at all and the rest much more significantly limited by the lack of free energy to cast with geomancy, but people have fallen into new roles with working their magic into their day to day lives. The roles of healers are ever significant, more so with the dangers this untamed land presents, but the healing has expanded from the old world’s belief that just the Light magic that individuals such as myself and the Pol’ech can perform, as people have begun finding ways to apply the elemental magics in certain ways to accomplish different injury and illness treatments. With the Hokeno and the Raln the only ones capable of casting the complete gamut of elemental magic, though, there’s been an attempt to scale back from elemental magic as a reliance to just an aide, only assisting them ease work that they’re otherwise able to do without it.

All in all, things are doing fine so far. Once they pull themselves past the mourning of the last deaths of the Aughylians, the town will move forward, grow, and prosper. I await a view at where they decide to push forward from here, where they decide to go next as a people.



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Date: 01 Jan 2016 - 19:58
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