The following is a piece I started writing to get inside the head of a character I’d made for a friend’s Mindjammer role-playing game. Sadly the game struggled to take off and ended before I’d gotten round to finishing this piece, but I’m uploading what exists here for posterity.
One of the reasons I never finished this is that I do not like writing sci-fi. I love both science fiction and fantasy stories but in general find it significantly harder to write sci-fi that I’m happy with. I tend to get caught up in thinking too much about how the science and technology would work and whether what I’m describing is actually possible to enjoy the process. With fantasy I’m generally happy (well, happier) using a hand-wavey “well it’s magic, innit” rationalisation which allows me to concentrate more on the plot than the plausibility, making the task both easier and more enjoyable.
This was originally written in October 2014.
And now for something completely longer.
The following piece was written in 2010 (though the idea had been bouncing around in my head since 2008). It’s the closest I’ve come to having a real go at writing an original novel, it certainly had the most planning and thought put into it of anything I’d written up until this point and probably since. It’s the first chapter of a planned rustpunk fantasy story that I’m not going to spill too many beans on as I may one day return to it – the novel was planned in its entirety but I just never got round to writing more than what you find after the break.
The reason I gave up on this project is because I lost faith in my own plot. When I’d stripped away all the fancy trappings I’d given it (my own setting, unique fantastical elements and non-Medieval European styling, woo) it was just another story about a small town boy making big, something the fantasy genre is pretty rammed with already. Sure, some of them can be good (Star Wars, Eragon, Harry Potter etc.) they’re all also pretty same-y at the end of the day (Star Wars, Ergaon, Harry Potter etc.) and I wanted to do something more original. Also at the time I’d just read Scott Lynch‘s incredible début “The Lies of Locke Lamora” and what I had planned out in no way matched up to the standard he’d entered the field with.
Oddly, whilst at the time I was put off by thinking I couldn’t match someone like Scott he did also give me some nudges back towards writing after I’d fallen out with it. He was in email contact with a friend of mine, Richard Bellingham, and Richard mentioned to him my problems; Scott sent me some messages of encouragement via Richard that eventually convinced me to pick up the (metaphorical) pen again after a year of sulking and get back into it. Scott, if you’re reading this (as unlikely as that is), thanks.
Please excuse the god-awful cheese of the opening.
The following piece was written in the summer of 2007 and is based in the Exalted universe, a high-magic fantasy setting used in a line of role playing games by White Wolf (more information on Exalted can be found on Wikipedia, if you’re interested). Once again it was a scene setting piece for me; I liked to write fiction around the characters I designed for the games as it allowed me to get under their skin a bit more than I otherwise could. This piece was the start of an ‘origin story’ for Weeping Crystal, a priestess chased from her home into the world, but, like many of the pieces you’ll see on here it never really progressed passed the first few pages.
This nugget of story was written at some point between 2001 and 2006 (though probably earlier rather than later) and was salvaged from an old hard drive that was about to get binned. I actually have no idea what I was writing at this point; I think it was the start of a short story that stalled before it really got off the ground, something you’ll soon see is a bit of a theme for me.
It’s far less polished than the previous piece as it was never gone over for editing, let alone ‘finished’ as the other piece was. I have deliberately not re-read this before posting it as I found my urge to tinker with the Opal Spheres piece quite overwhelming and I don’t think I’d be able to resist this time.
I am going to continue posting old works in date order until I get up to the present so people can see how my writing has (hopefully) matured over time. Bear with me through a few more From The Vault pieces and we’ll be up to the present soon.