Second Collection: Title Announcement, Betas Wanted

As most readers of this blog surely know by now, back in 2014 I published a collection of my poetry, both in paperback and on Kindle. Some of you may also be aware that I’m currently working on a second collection. I have one item of news about this project, and there is one part of it with which I would like the help of some of my readers. Continue reading

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Strategic Primer: Advance Conversion Project

I’ve written before about Strategic Primer‘s beginnings as my science fair project and the “middle period” when I took the rules in various directions without even play-testing them. But over those many years between the first campaign and the current one, I also kept developing more content—more “advances” for the players to discover. What categories I put them in varied, and soon after my attempt to start a second campaign my freshman year of high school or so failed I abandoned my attempt to keep “stats” for them, but I kept piling up more and more advances. Estimating from my current files, I ended up with on the order of over 1500 advances, each with a name, a number, and a description (a sentence to a paragaph in length).

But therein lies the problem. With the changes to the game I’ve made after finally play-testing it again in the current campaign, many, if not most, of those advances will need to be reworked. (Now that we have “Implement” as a category, advances that worked around its absence by being “General Advances” and saying “When discovered, automatically installed on all applicable units” need to change, for example. And some groups of advances draw too heavily and too directly on recent art—novels, films, or games—to be used in a game I hope to eventually sell, or even one I’ll be running with results eventually made public.), and now that the game is finally being played again, the advances need statistics (mostly things like “how much damage does this weapon do, compared to that one”, but also things like “how long does it take one tailor to produce a uniform using this kind of machine”). Beyond that, I also have a large and growing archive of articles and web pages describing technologies that I want to turn into advances.

I’ll be working on this over the coming months and years (getting back to it after I finish the map format conversion I’m working on now …), but I’m posting this in case someone (other than my players in the current campaign … who should be working from their own sources) would like to join me in my effort.

Poetry Archive

Since I’ve had no response so far to my plea for your opinion as to which of my poems you think are my best (and scarcely more for any of the other items on my help wanted page), and my full archive has grown to disconcerting size, for the next while I’ll post (links to) a small group of my poems each Thursday and ask you to read them and tell me which of that group you liked best (and, if possible, why, of course).

Help wanted

Most of you know by now that I have several major long-term projects that I’m working on. I call them my “magna opera“, “great works” in the sense of “really big works.” And while I have accepted them as my tasks, there are a few points on which I could use, and would like, your help. (For future reference, I try to keep this page up to date with my currently-relevant requests-for-comment, pleas for assistance, and other help-wanted type posts.)

Most generally, I would like your thoughts—comments, questions, criticism, suggestions, or just about anything else—on any or every part of my work (posted here or elsewhere). Nothing is so polished that it cannnot be improved. (Quite the contrary!) But these are some more specific items.

The first project that comes to hand is my poetry. After posting a poem a week for the last year and a half, I’ve accumulated a rather substantial archive, so I’d like to create a collection of my best work. But I need your help deciding which poems are my best.

My second major project is the Shine Cycle, my planned fantasy series, which is mostly still in the preparation stages. There are several ways you can help me here:

And the last major project is Strategic Primer, a strategy game that I’m designing. The current campaign still needs players, or, if jumping into the middle of an existing campaign doesn’t interest you, if enough players show interest I can start another campaign. If you don’t feel like playing, I can use a consultant for balance and design issues. And there are a few specific questions I’ve asked for your help on. For example, I’ve asked for ideas for a list of possible orders and for help brainstorming what features a suite of “assistive programs” should have.

Do any of these look like something you’d like to do? And how can I help you?

Strategic Primer: Enumerating possible orders

One of the distinctives of the campaign version of Strategic Primer, my strategy game, is that players can do the unexpected, taking their part of the game in directions I hadn’t even thought of.

But while this freedom can make a campaign far richer than any other strategy game I know of, it presents several problems: Continue reading

What’s my best poetry?

I’ve been posting one of my poems here nearly every week for about a year and a half. While this has nearly exhausted my archive, it has also impressed on my mind how much poetry I’ve written. And, having written so much, I’d like to put together a collection of my best work.

But, because “I am my own worst critic”, I can’t reliably tell whether any given poem meets that standard or not. I have a few that I think certainly ought to be included, and some that are too fragmentary to even be considered, but beyond that I draw a blank.

So I’d like your help. If you have a few moments, look back over the poems I’ve posted and read at least a few. Is there one—or several—that you think are good, that I ought to include in a collection? Or are there some that “speak to you,” but need some polishing first? Is there a poem that needs a better title, or doesn’t have a real title at all, and you’ve thought of one? Any feedback would be most helpful.

What do you think?

A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage: Revision; Readers Wanted

About a year and a half ago, I posted my novelette “A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage” in a series of six installments. I’d revised it somewhat since I originally wrote it seven years ago, but it seems to me (bearing in mind that “I am my own worst critic”) that how immature a writer I was then still shows. So, even though by posting it last year I basically prevented it from being traditionally published, I’d like to do another, more thorough revision.

I have a few ideas of where I could begin, and changes I can make, but I’d like some help. If you have some time and attention to spare, please read it and tell me what you think: What worked? What didn’t? Where did I write too much? Where didn’t I write enough? (I also have some resources on peer revision and critique that I can send you if you like, but I don’t require anything so formal as some of them suggest.) Or you can read the revised draft (of which I’ll send pieces, as I finish them, to anyone who’s asked) as I produce it and give me feedback on my changes.

If speculative fiction, or my prose, is “not your thing,” I also need help improving my poetry, and picking my best poems, among other things.

Several of my friends have already given me very helpful revision advice on these and other projects; thank you very much!

But I have along way to go, and your feedback could help me immensely. Please read and comment!