Writing of a Saga

I know that most of us have spent a long time crafting responses, stories, and characters over the last few years. What is on the Wiki remains persistent and can be easily exported in the event that I can no longer pay the bill. Still there is character biographical data, setting information, but not really stories of any kind, just background and source material. In that vein, I would really like to begin actual work on writing a kind of comprehensive main plot of the settings. There is just so much to write and I cannot possibly do it on my own.

As a site we’ve been going around for almost three years now, since 2016. We’ve got a lot of stories written and a lot of those stories have yet to be canonized, some of the information has even been lost when channels have been deleted on Discord and such things. I would like to really start to cobble together the saga that we’ve built, so that it doesn’t get lost forever someday. Back in the old days we had persistent chat logs on IRC that could be saved (I have a lot of them myself, still) and forum data could be easily backed up (as our forum is). In the age of Discord and many related servers (such as Slack, Zulip, or Mattermost) there is the problem of how to get the data out of Discord. The short answer is that, you can’t. I suppose one could code a bot to dump all of the Discord information to a text file, but as I can attest to with chat logs and like they are nearly impossible to parse.

I know that most of us have spent a long time crafting responses, stories, and characters over the last few years. What is on the Wiki remains persistent and can be easily exported in the event that I can no longer pay the bill. Still there is character biographical data, setting information, but not really stories of any kind, just background and source material. In that vein, I would really like to begin actual work on writing a kind of comprehensive main plot of the settings. There is just so much to write and I cannot possibly do it on my own.

In that vein, I’m asking for help in getting this ball rolling. I’m getting some of my creative mojo back after a long span of having no real creative fire left, so I don’t mind firing it up. I’m still up in the air for what would be easiest, given the prevalence of using Google Docs, I am inclined to believe that would be easiest for everyone and thus, I envision this as a folder on Google Drive that is shared and people can collaborate, write, and start things for their characters as they want to. I will have a main file for the Saga of Blazing Umbra which will contain the main story itself and other stories be satellites to that (that also stand alone). The idea is that we’ve got the actual stories of all of our characters and plots written in a narrative form, perhaps even cut-paste largely off of Discord itself.

To that end, I’ve made a shared folder on Google Drive. The link provides view-only access, since these are our stories I would like to actually add people’s editing access as needed, to protect the work from vandalism. I have also enabled version histories, so if there are changes that a person doesn’t like to their story, they can be viewed and the original is recoverable. Please comment or DM me for direct access.

Writing Prompt: Frozen Gate

We’re going to try to get back into writing prompts again; I do hope everyone likes it. There is no contest with this one, but I would like everyone to participate.

The usual applies; there are no limits on what can be written. This can be cute, funny, vulgar, dark, angry, or anything in between any of it. Whatever floats your boat to write and of any length everyone feels comfortable. This should be consider a rough-rough-rough draft as well so don’t try to make it perfect, just get some ideas out there.

This image comes from Deviant Art, see the image page itself for citation.

NaNoWriMo 2018

I know that a lot of the players here have made some real efforts that have paid off and the quality of the writing on the server has greatly increased over time and I am honestly proud of how far everyone has come in the quality and caliber of not only their writing but the quality of thought that goes into their ideas. So, lets write a novel together.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I have really wanted to expand on our collective efforts of creative writing.  One of the most key parts of any role playing server is doing just that!  I know that a lot of the players here have made some real efforts that have paid off and the quality of the writing on the server has greatly increased over time and I am honestly proud of how far everyone has come in the quality and caliber of not only their writing but the quality of thought that goes into their ideas.  So, lets write a novel together.

The Plan

So, this year I’m going to put into motion something I really thought about doing before and we’re going to hand out prizes for contributions to this project over the next month.  The time frame goes from today, November 4th, until the end of the  month (November 30th).  First place will get $25 in the form of an Amazon Gift Card (since it does not need to be mailed) and 2nd place will get a $10 Amazon Gift Card.  Equivalent monetary value can be put on alternatives for those who cannot access Amazon or are unable to claim said prizes (for our International players).

The money will come out of the server’s Patreon fund, which I encourage people to donate to so that we can make a contest like this a more regular occurrence!

The Rules

So any contest must have rules, posts which do not add value to the story (such as posts made up of the same word repeated over and over again or some such) will be removed.  Predatory or malicious posts will also be removed — these are defined as posts which discourage others from posting or posts that are designed to upset or otherwise maliciously poke and prod another author.  Also, do not edit another users posts and while one may edit their own posts, pleas refrain from making edits to your own posts after they have been the basis for someone else’s posts.

The contest will be judged on the # of words contributed to the story which have a letter length of greater than 3 characters.  This is to avoid words like a, an, the, I, if…  We are going for actual content here and need a way to measure that.  Word length (beyond being at last 4 characters long) does not matter, so there is no need to use the longest words possible.

All server members are eligible to participate and win (other than myself, I will be participating but I am not eligible to win).  Characters and ideas need not be approved before posting them, this is not role play and doesn’t even necessarily take place in one of our settings (though it might).

Where?

The actual writing will be taking place on the forum on this thread.  Discord simply isn’t suited to this kind of writing, I would prefer to use Microsoft Word but since it is very expensive one cannot promise that people have access to it, that is out and Google Docs does not have sufficient tracking to keep track of everyone’s contributions.

Each post will be an addition to the story as if it is one long document.

What about after?

After the story is complete, we will be judging whether or not it should be further put into a document and edited / polished into a final draft.  I would personally like this and then for it to go onto here or be stored elsewhere so that we can go back to it.  I think this server has a lot of great talent in it and I look forward to seeing it moving forward.

What’s going on here? – A Writing Prompt

I have really liked some of the text which has come as a result of our writing prompts!  This is a little different, this scene is (of course) from the 2nd episode of Star Trek the Original Series ever to be recorded, the so-called 2nd pilot.  I chose a scene that is intentionally ambiguous where many of the characters present are not present in the show as it was known or not formed into the mold which they later became.

For this writing prompt, I’d like people to answer the question:  “What is going on here?”

What do I mean?  I mean, I’d like people to consider what could be going on in the scene, who these people are, what are they thinking, saying, what are they about to do?  Is it a normal day?  How about the start of an adventure that will change them?  Perhaps it is the end after they’ve saved the day!  Maybe they haven’t made it out yet.

We’ve got some new players and I encourage them to submit something.  No approvals required here, for those that aren’t familiar with this — you may use any character from anywhere just be creative and have fun.  There are no wrong answers.

Ghostly Writing Prompt

So in coming up with the new monsters for the Embers of Soteria Setting and what they looked like I ran across a lot of images of ghosts and the like, most of which are clearly really bad photoshop stuff. The image here is no exception, but I like the image none the less.

I’m inviting everyone to look at this image and create a paragraph or more about it, what’s going on there? Who are the ghosts? Is someone watching them go down the paved road? Is another ghost watching them? Are they really ghosts or is this a Scooby Doo scenario? Just… Go fun places with it.

Writing Prompt – Resurrection City from 1968

So this photo is a bit different, it is historical rather than abstract or fictitious. I would like to encourage people to consider taking this photo both in and out of context. The original article from the New York Times is from February 18th, 2017 and is about an attempt by Martin Luther King Jr. to confront the power structure with the poverty of the country.

Now, there is a lot of context that goes with the image, beyond that there is a lot of power in the image itself. The painted words juxtaposed with the nature of what else is in the photo and plywood walls set up by tents. There is also context of the general time in history this comes from, the late 60’s while King was still alive. There are a lot of places to go here, I encourage people to think a moment and pick a direction and just write about it, see where it takes you.

Character Development Prompt

So rather than the usual image to do whatever with, I’d like to provide this image here and suggest that people write a short paragraph or two about who this person is from what they see. There is no setting or other parameters just, this face, and what do you think the person that has that face is like, who are they, what are they doing, what kind of personality do they have?

Writing Prompt Image

So, since the lyrical writing prompt didn’t really work I’ve switched back to an image as the writing prompt. Now there are a lot of obvious things that can go with this one, so I’d like to encourage everyone to respond but try to think outside the box and play around with the loads of information the image doesn’t specify.

As always, have some fun with it.

A Lyrical Writing Prompt

So rather than an image this time, I’d like to do a lyrical prompt, this comes from the song Off to the Races by Lana Del Rey, one of my personal favorites. I would suggest to people to not be tied to the song itself, the artist is clearly painting a vivid picture of a certain kind of relationship. However, don’t be concerned with straying away from that and into the realm of places one can take the verse itself on its own merit.

Because I’m crazy, baby
I need you to come here and save me
I’m your little scarlet starlet
Singing in the garden
Kiss me on my open mouth

For those that want it, here is the original song.

Successful Writing Prompts

So far my foray into writing prompts has been successful, so we’re going to keep doing it. As such, I’ve created a new category on the site blog, Motus Impulsores, which is Latin for “Sources of Inspiration” (at least according to Google Translate). Most everyone here has had substantial improvement in their writing and I’m so happy to see that taking place. Moving forward, this category is going to be used for when we’ve got news or other such information relating to writing and role playing as a method of collaboration.

I’m enjoying seeing what everyone comes up with and I look forward to seeing where the community goes moving forward.

Thank you all.