Back at EGX 2016 I got involved with virtual reality game Craft Keep VR. A certain portion of the game was already available in Early Access before I even heard about it but over the past few months I’ve been writing story and dialogue and gradually seeing the whole thing take form. At this point my work is done and, not only that, the finished game has just been released! You’ll need either an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive virtual reality headset to play it, but even if you don’t have one of those knocking about I highly recommend checking out the trailer.
I got a chance to play a very nearly complete version at EGX Rezzed this year, and the experience was…strange. Amazing, but strange. I don’t have the VR equipment necessary to play this sort of thing at home, so beyond a few YouTube videos I hadn’t really seen the work in progress while I was writing. It’s quite a shock to go from “Ha ha! This’ll make for a fun bit of dialogue,” to “Oh wow! There’s the guy saying it!” with absolutely nothing in between. It would be weird if the jump were simply from page to screen, but when it’s from page to 3D people walking around in the room with you, it’s especially striking. Continue reading
You might recall Craft Keep VR from my writeup of EGX 2016, where I was lucky enough to try out the virtual reality fantasy artisan game first hand. Well, there’s some exciting follow-up news. First of all, Craft Keep is coming to Steam Early Access on the 10th of November: that’s less than a week away!
Second, I’m writing this thing! At EGX I got talking to the developer, Arvydas Žemaitis, who said that he was looking to include an interesting story as the player travels about setting up shop in all these weird and wonderful locations around the world. Naturally I sent off an email about it after the event, and here we are! Continue reading
You may have seen Shona Kinsella’s recent review of Face of Glass, but what you might not know is that she’s actually written a work of Prehistoric Fantasy herself. Ashael Rising has not only been launched, but successfully funded through Unbound! I think you’ll find the story behind the book very interesting, and if Ashael Rising itself piques your interest, you’ll be happy to know that although it’s passed 100% funding, there’s still a chance to chip and and get your name in the back of the book as a supporter (among other great rewards)!
Ashael Rising: How it All Began
I have wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember. As a child I wrote stories in notebooks that I carried with me. In my teens, the film Bucket List was a big thing and Write a Book was number one on mine. As an adult, I never thought I would actually get around to it; I mean who has the time? But I still squirreled away ideas, guarding them jealously against the possibility that I would win the lottery and become a lady of leisure.
About nine years ago I had a dream that, immediately upon waking, struck me as one of those ideas and though much of the dream faded, the final image has stayed with me all these years. Continue reading
I’ve had a ticket for gaming trade fair EGX 2016 for a while now – I actually managed to snag the very last early entry one on offer – but only just got around to booking transport and accommodation. If anybody else is planning to go (or just happens to be in the general vicinity of Birmingham regardless), I’d love to hear from you, but more on that later.
It’s been overshadowed somewhat by the fact that I’ve recently had a book launched by Unbound, but I’m still very much hoping to take up a career in the games industry. Interactive fiction has always been an interest of mine, and I already have one commercially released game to my name, but getting a steady job in the area is proving to be extremely difficult just through regular applications. There are very few positions available for writers, which is what I’d like to do in the long run, and intense competition for entry-level QA Tester roles, which is what I’m more likely to get without previous experience. Continue reading
Here it is! The official list of participants for Flash Fiction Day 2016. From midnight to midnight on June 22nd (in their respective time zones) these fine writers will be attempting to produce as many flash fiction pieces as possible (from 1 to 1,000 words in length) in just 24 hours. If you haven’t signed up already, that link above will take you to the blog post where you can do that: I’ll be accepting new participants right up until the end of the event, so it’s still not too late to jump in!
If you’re trying to pick one of these to read, you may also like to look at the version of this list available on deviantART, where previews of each submission are available.
Here are the rules once again:
- The event begins at the very start of June 22nd, your local time. You can start writing any time after that.
- Write your first piece of flash fiction. Maximum 1,000 words, minimum 1 word. (I have read every conceivable 0 word story and am now bored of the genre.)
- Publish a blog post (or equivalent) titled “Flash Fiction Day Submissions” (or something more imaginative) containing that story.
- Leave a link to your post in the comments below (you don’t need an account or even an email address to do this). I’ll approve your comment and add the link to the body of this post as quickly as possible.
- Write more stories! Add those new stories to your FFD post (possibly with a note to say what time you started/finished them). You might consider tweeting each time a new story becomes available to read.
- That’s it! All your stories for the day are available in one place where readers can easily find them.
- When June 22nd ends, so does the event. Of course, you’re free to stop writing earlier if you like.
The Hampshire Writers’ Society Book Fair is coming up on the 14th of June. That’s this Tuesday!
I mentioned this in a recent blog post that focused mostly on the Alresford Literary Festival, but the Hampshire Writers’ event was such a success last year that I think it’s worth giving it a post all to itself. If you’re in the Winchester area, I’d really recommend going: there are a lot of authors who’ll be turning up. The place to be is the Stripe Building at the University of Winchester (on Sparkford Road): it starts at 6.
If you can’t make it, I’ll be aiming to write all about the event (and the Alresford festival) here. However, the Winchester Writers’ Festival is now less than a week away as well, so I can’t say for sure exactly when I’ll get around to it: June is a very busy month, and naturally I don’t expect July to leave me much more time!
It’s likely that this month’s newsletter and this week’s game article will both be delayed as I’ll be spending the last couple of days of January at the Brighton Global Game Jam. Heading off to this thing was kind of a last-minute decision, and it’s come at a time when I’m already juggling a lot of other stuff. Still, it’s too good an opportunity to miss.
This week’s (late) game article will most likely be a write-up of the event, but over the weekend itself I’m hoping to keep people updated via Twitter (most likely using the hashtag #BrightonGGJ16). I would have liked to do something like this at the Winchester Writers’ Festival this year, so I’ve since used my staff discount to get hold of a phone with a camera and a steady internet connection. I’ve done a few “make a thing in a really short time!” events in the past, but not typically with games and never as part of a team, so this should be something interesting to try. I’ve got no idea how the weekend will play out–and it sounds as though it could be very, very busy–but I’ll do my best to keep people posted if I can.
If you’re not fussed about following along on Twitter, there’ll still be some neat stuff coming up once the event is over. Besides whatever I end up writing about it, there’ll also be the game itself: event rules require all the entries to be made available for anyone anywhere to play and see, so hopefully I’ll be linking to some good stuff on Sunday!
It’s been a fun (if very, very busy) month: 31 stories in 31 days. Having now finished four rounds of Flash Fiction Month, I’m starting to think less about how my writing changes as the days or weeks go by during each event, and more about how it’s changed as a result of the events as a whole.
Participating in Flash Fiction Month just once requires that you write more stories in that month than you ordinarily would write in the entire rest of the year (unless you’re particularly prolific or tackle something like Flash Fiction Day). Participating in multiple years, you accumulate quite a catalogue of work: my FFM pieces have now reached triple figures, meaning that I’ve actually got more stories now than many of those stories have words. Continue reading
Last weekend wasn’t my first time at the Winchester Writers’ Festival, but thanks to a scholarship from the University of Winchester, it was the first year I managed to attend the entire event. That really made quite a difference, since the full range of day courses, talks and workshops offered far more variety than I could have got from any individual day. It was particularly useful to be able to get advice on both writing and publishing. Here’s how the weekend went:
Each day of the festival starts (if you get up early enough!) with coffee and an opportunity to chat to other delegates. For the first two days, this was also an opportunity to wander around the Book Fair. I was really keen to make the absolute most of the weekend, though most people didn’t turn up until a little later.
Being there at quieter times was pretty handy, because when it got busy (such as immediately after Sebastian Faulks’ keynote speech) it actually got a little difficult to move about the place. I got talking to Matador (on the far left) who were kind enough to spread the word on Twitter. Continue reading
Pretty much as soon as last year’s Winchester Writers’ Festival wrapped up, I was determined to go to the next one as well. The events were fun, the speakers were helpful, and the fact I knew I’d be a Winchester MA student this time around was also quite a factor. It’s not a cheap event to go to, but having made the most of a one-day ticket in 2014, I figured it would be well worth doing the same again. Coming up to this year’s festival, things are going even better than I expected.
First and most importantly, I’ve managed to get a scholarship!
Thanks to the University of Winchester, I’ll be able to attend all three days of the festival. That means even more opportunities to meet one-to-one with agents and authors, which this time around will be a huge help to my academic work as well as my writing in general.