Welcome!

Hi! I’m Jonathan Lovelace, an aspiring author, occasional poet, game designer, software developer, and 2009 graduate of Calvin College. Welcome to the Shine Cycle Online!

From 2010 through mid-2014, this blog tried to feature a new post in each of four quite different “departments” every week, and thereafter the same four “departments” continued in a looser schedule. Since this organization appears to confuse some newcomers, I’ve written this “sticky” post to introduce myself, the blog, and its subjects—briefly here, and in more detail after the jump.

But first, I should mention the sharing policy (I encourage you to link to and otherwise share my work, and permit you to make personal archival copies, but other than that please don’t copy my work) and the comment policy (aside from the usual common-sense items you’d expect, please comment on the post you’re commenting about, rather than wherever you happen to be!); I encourage you to read them.

From childhood, I’ve had a story in my head that I feel called to write. That “big work,” tentatively titled “the Shine Cycle,” is the original nominal topic of this blog, but now is only one of the four “departments.” This part of the blog, which originally ran on Mondays, includes background essays about the story and its world (and “writing status updates” about monthly).

I’ve also had poetry “come to me” on occasion since high school. For a while—from late 2009 on—I posted a new poem here on the blog each Friday, and I continue to post them when I have new ones to post. This is the most popular “department” of the blog.

Because I hoped to pubish a collection of my poetry (which is now available on Kindle), I’m a notoriously bad critic of my own work, and most of my subscribers started reading this blog long after I began poems weekly, each Thursday from mid-2011 to January 2013 I asked for feedback on a few poems from my archive.

I’m also developing an innovative turn-based strategy/simulation game called Strategic Primer; in the third “department,” which originally ran on Wednesdays, I write about the game—its design, implementation, development, history, and so on.

The last “department,” which originally ran mostly on Saturdays, is “miscellaneous”—usually essays on a variety of topics.

I’ll describe each of these “departments” (and that term itself) after the jump

Writing status update (#32)

It’s been almost a full quarter since my last update. Some of these weeks have been productive for the sort of writing I mean when I just say “writing,” and some were productive for the technical writing classes I’ve been taking, and a small handful weren’t very productive at all. But before even more time slips by, I should take a moment to compare my progress to my goals.

As you may recall, I tend to divide my Shine Cycle development time between “plotting” (outlining, assigning point-of-view to characters, and eventually the actual writing), “worldbuilding” (using questions created by Patricia Wrede I found years ago, a “Deep Cultural Fractalling System” and “Race Fractalling System” I found on Holy Worlds, and—mistakenly, but the classification has stuck and keeps progress moving faster—creating loglines and doing “snowflake outlining”), and “characters” (creating character histories, biographies, and descriptions, the results of which produced the most recent character profile last week). Despite the heavy classwork load, other demands on my time, and my general procrastinative tendencies, I managed to make pretty-good progress in each:

  • In “plotting,” I got The Dragon Returns outlined to the “sequence” level and made all point-of-view assignments for it (though they are still definitely “someone in such-and-such a post in such-and-such country,” not a name or personality yet).
  • In “worldbuilding,” I answered three Wrede questions that I had postponed when I went through the questions systematically several years ago, wrote loglines for three planned novels, and did the second “snowflake” step (expanding the logline to a paragraph) for two planned novels.
  • In “characters,” I wrote four character histories and three character biographies.

Let’s see how this compared to my goals (which were nominally for one month, not three):

  • Continue regular work on Shine Cycle development (the prerequisite for any substantial progress at all).

Some weeks yes, some weeks no … so no, not regular. Just a comparatively large amount some weeks, so it all added up to relatively-substantial.

  • Finish POV assignments for The Dragon Returns, create a logline for it, and get at least a quarter of the way through outlining it by sequence.

Done; in fact, I’m finished with outlining it by sequence.

  • Answer at least four of the “Wrede questions” that I postponed when I went through the list a few years ago.

I managed three.

Done. And two additional loglines.

  • Write at least one character history.

Four, and three biographies.

  • Write at least a hundred words of “actual prose.”

As usual, nothing: all my prose, except one personal letter, went to classwork.

On the whole, I’m fairly satisfied with those results.

Here’s my goals for the next month or so (before classes start again). God willing, I’d like to:

  • Continue regular work on Shine Cycle development (the prerequisite for any substantial progress at all).
  • Create concepts and super-sequence outlines for, and assign POV for, six of the “Alternate Universes” sub-series.
  • Answer at least five of the “Wrede questions” that I postponed when I went through the list a few years ago.
  • Write loglines for at least three of the planned stories that don’t have them yet.
  • Do “snowflake step 2″ for four planned novels.
  • Write at least five character histories and at least five character biographies.
  • Finish the Alliance précis I’ve been postponing for a couple of years now
  • Post at least one Shine Cycle-related post before the next status update.
  • Write at least a hundred words of “actual prose.”

As always, we’ll see how reality matches up to those goals.

Strategic Primer assistive programs development report and roadmap (#34)

In the month since my last report on the development of the suite of assistive programs for players and Judges of Strategic Primer, there’s been little progress, but I’ve added one user-requested feature, so I may as well make a new release.

You can download the new (snapshot) release, 0.4.3211, as usual, from BitBucket, and if you want to see the development history in detail you can browse the Mercurial repository online. Continue reading

Shine Cycle Character Profile: Amanda

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted something substantive, but here’s a recently-completed character profile. You can also read the others.

Amanda – Princess at large, in the King’s service in the Imperial Service. She has a record of consistent but not stellar excellence in academics and athletics but is well-known for having recommended others for the vast majority of promotions available to her. By the end of the War of Power she was writing many of the daily briefings for the royal family. Continue reading

Strategic Primer assistive programs development report and roadmap (#34)

It’s been several months since my last report on the development of the suite of assistive programs for players and Judges of Strategic Primer, so it’s long past time for an update.

A new (snapshot) release, 0.4.3190, accompanies this post; you can download it, as usual, from BitBucket, and if you want to see the development history in detail you can browse the Mercurial repository online. Continue reading

The Ascension and the Divine Victory

Five months ago, as the Christmas season began, I described the Incarnation as “the first openly-announced wave of an inexorable re-conquest.” The Resurrection proclaimed the victory, of which the Incarnation was the “beachhead,” had been accomplished. And today we celebrate the Ascension. Continue reading

Writing Status Update (#31)

It has been again not quite two months since my last update. For once, these weeks have been both productive and almost-consistently so, and not too much at the expense of other priorities either … just so busy I haven’t had time or attention to spare to compare that progress to my goals. Continue reading