Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Lost Calling and the Far Reaches Project

Last year I began a new project. This is not surprising as I am constantly starting new projects. But this was an idea that would have a number of twists and turns while it found its way to fruition. It started with the desire to do another comic series. Something between the high action work of A Drop of Blood and the strip format of GeoGuys (both previous projects of mine you can check out).
I began work on a webcomic series that would tell the story of the crew of a space garbage truck. While fleshing out designs and the setting of this story I started thinking about world-building. One of my favorite passtimes, but quite an undertaking. I fell back to an old idea I once had of getting a group of creative types together and having a collective that works together to create a single universe. The shared universe idea is nothing new, especially for fans of comics. And the writer collective working on a collections of collected stories isn't an original idea either, but it always intrigued me. What if you have artists, writers, web designers, prop-makers, and others all working to create works that connected to a shared fictional space. This is an idea I will keep coming back to until it works, but from this was born the Far Reaches project.
Out of this collective was born a shared wiki that over time has built up a catalogue of information about a science fiction setting. From my initial set up, members have created technology, locations, and alien creatures. This evolving galactic encyclopedia now forms the basis for numerous new creative works. Art, writing, and even games have spawned out of it.
The first big work to come out of this project has been a large scale role playing game that my weekly game buddies and I participate in. They all play characters struggling to make a living in a wild and thriving galaxy. But unlike most RPGs where the gamemaster holds all the power of creation in the world, our game plays out like an improv group. Players help create and describe the places they are exploring. They are as much a part of the world building as I am. All of this gets fed back into the wiki to further flesh out this fictional world.
Now back to the webcomic. With scripts written for nearly fifty pages of the comic, and most of the design work done, I began work on the comic. Drawing every few days to get pages made. Those of you that follow my online streams may have watched some of this. However, about 14 pages in I began to feel the weight of this project, the scale of what I was trying to take on. It was also becoming harder to fit all of this work into a growing busy schedule.
As my projects often do, this got set aside for some time. But I was still running the RPG which kept me invested in the setting. I thought about the last big RPG setting I created, which spawned the idea for a serial novel (the first few chapters are posted on this blog). This time, instead of just writing the same story of my players, I would write a tale that fit into this same universe. Toying with plots and a few failed attempts at short works, I kept coming back to the abandoned webcomic. Now I have dedicated part of my writing time to fleshing out the original comic script into a full novel. Without the added time and pressure of illustrating the book (just yet at least), I have been able to quickly dive into this new idea. I never have expectations when it comes to my writing. I have been working on one of my novels off and on for over a decade. They may never get finished, and this work might just have the same fate. But I plug away at it none-the-less.
I have decided to start sharing my first draft of this novel as I write it. Posting a chapter or two as they are written. So stayed tuned to this blog and help me out by commenting and giving constructive feedback as I share The Lost Calling.

(If you are a creative type and would like to participate in the Far Reaches project, or would like information for running your own roleplaying games in the setting, feel free to contact me.)

No comments:

Post a Comment