Read-through done


So yeah.

Turns out there is pretty much something on every page that I want to change.
I kind of understand Aura’s eternal editing process now. He would go over things again and again, and it would drive me nuts.

I have found out so much about Kate and her friends from actually, critically reading the book. It’s kind of like watching Fight Club the second (or tenth) time over and going “Ah! I see!” – except I should really know better.

I can already tell that the edited version will be much better; to the point where I’m kind of embarrassed to leave the draft in public.. That’s very Aura as well; we didn’t see things until he was ready (and let’s face it – it worked for him).

Anyway, actually committing these edits will take longer than the read-through (although I am less likely to buy expensive stationary for this phase), but I am committed to getting it done this year.

I’ll likely turn the 39 “Pages” on the blog into a simple PDF or something, and then maybe give the editied edition away for free to the first 10 people (or something) before trying my luck on Kindle.

Anyway, I know that 4 of you have made your way to the end. I’d appreciate any feedback you have; although I’ll admit that time is running out, especially for the earlier parts (which will really get a work-over).

It’s also funny how much I don’t like my earlier writing style. I’m not sure how to describe it, but there is something about it….

Thanks to the 4 of you that have read the whole thing, and please feel free to spread it! Every time someone mentions A Runner’s Afternoon on Reddit a few hundred people flood the site, but then they all disappear. So if you’re one of those people maybe have a look at Arctic Gale, before I start disassembling it on here (or something).

Editing is fun

Okay, so I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but I mostly post things the second that I finish them.

It’s a bad habit, but I guess you can put it down to narcissism. I want to see people reading what I’ve written and having a good time. And, sometimes, telling me that I’m good at it.

The first 7 chapters of Arctic Gale were written 9 years ago, before I started working on Katawa Shoujo. Before I posted those chapters here, I edited them into a “better” style, and made them a little more realistic. For example, in the first City-based fight scene, Kate skidded across a floor, blinding people with broken shards of glass. This was replaced with a flash grenade.

Anyway, since that time I’ve had the basics of the story in mind. And from about Chapter 20 I’ve even had a plan written down (I might post it at some point, though I doubt you’ll be able to read my handwriting).

However, now that I’m in the thick of editing (about 20-25% through), I’m realising something. Editing is fun!.

As I was writing I realised that there were a few loose ends. This led to random decisions mid-course, like making jammers from microwaves, or half-arsed monologues.

But as I’m reading (and using a lot of ink and sticky notes), I can see threads that I just didn’t see when I was in the thick of it.

20% through and already looking like I'll run out of sticky notes

20% through and already looking like I’ll run out of sticky notes

So far I’ve had a few “Aha!” moments, where small changes either early on or later on will make the whole story make a heck of a lot more sense. Also, some of the themes that I didn’t even realise in the initial phases were there in latent fashion, so with a little polish they will all come out in the wash.

So, I’m actually enjoying this more than I thought I would, especially based on the Katawa Shoujo experience (which was a fight on every level – sometimes I think we were fighting just for fighting’s sake).

So yeah, if there is one thing I’ve learned is that it is much easier to edit when you change medium; i.e. writing on screen and then editing on paper.

It will take me a bit more time before I’ve finished reading the manuscript and then even more to actually make the changes, but at this rate I should be done with Phase 1 in about a fortnight; something that I thought would take me much longer.

Anyway, I have realised that I am sleepy simply by noting that I’ve stopped finding a change on every page (see above for the number of pages I’ve marked already…


Holy crap, I can’t believe it.

It’s done.

The first draft is DONE!

I had the idea for Arctic Gale in 2006 and now I’ve posted it. I’m still shaking a bit.

I get the feeling that the last chapter will be a little crap in the pacing in the end, but we can fix that in post!

So, what’s the plan now?

First up is to do a quick consistency check. There are a number of things that I know that I need to look into; for example the use of “Depoc” and also if it’s written “Area 17” or “Area-17”. But that shouldn’t take long.

When I get home I’m going to print it and take some notes. I already have a bunch of notes for what I want to do, like correcting Dani’s age earlier in the book and also changing Wingett’s attitude, but for now I’ll be taking a break. Any comments, of course, are welcome.

The first draft will stay up here, either in its current form or in a PDF, for as long as I can keep it up here.

However I’m going to try and make the next draft (likely a final draft) into an e-book to see if that works.

I’ll try and get that done by the end of the year, but for now I’m going to try and stop shaking and then get on a plane home.

It’s been a long day/week/month/year.

Thanks for the few people that have read this far and I hope that I can get a few more people on the hook.

Behind the Minds of Great Storytellers — Narrative Design Podcast — Medium

So, I got a message on Twitter the other day, asking if I would do an Interview for a new podcast. Of course, being the media slut that I am, I agreed.

The link above will take you to the page.  I don’t think that I am on for a while, but if you are keen to hear about KS then go get your fill.

I will also let you know that I was cautious in my answers as my new employee had started the day before, and no matter how many times I told him to go home, he just didn’t….

Ah well, such is life…!

Man Crush

Okay, after about a 20-hour door-to-door trip (thanks, German train system!) I have finally managed to have a shower and get ready for bed.

However, before I do, I wanted to post Chapter 36 of Arctic Gale. It turns out that the last “scene” will be at least a three-parter. The first is up now (Chapter 36) and about 1/2-3/4 of Chapter 37 is already written. Then one last duel and it’s done.

That’s it.

I managed to write pretty much all of what I got down today on the plane. I upgraded myself to business, hoping to get some sleep, but after a short nap I found myself with a full laptop and not much to do. It was kind of fun to be in my JAL-sponsored capsule hotel, breathing low-density air and bashing some keys. I have been thinking about this finale for a bit now (almost 10 freaking years… well, not really. The finale only really came to me after some discussions with some of you guys), so it came easily. I haven’t read it over yet as I was really just excited to have come within touching distance of a finished first draft.

One thing that I wanted to post when I landed was the recent inspirational music to which I’ve been listening. (Sorry if some of these links don’t work in your country; such is the pain of international music…)

Porter Robinson’s Worlds came out earlier this year. I was a fan of his track with Matt Zo, Easy, and then someone posted Sad Machine, which uses Miku for the lyrics. That was enough to make me buy the album. Surprisingly, I found a couple of tracks that I had heard somewhere but didn’t know the names of; Years of War and, more specifically, Lionhearted. The album is great and now I have some kind of weird Man Crush on the music. In the same way every love-struck teenager says the name of their sweetheart in the dead of the night, I imagine epic fight scenes with E-type with Porter Robinson tracks in the background.

(Less inspirational but still kind of fun is Flicker, which uses samples from Ano Natsu Ni Matteiru. I also like that although it isn’t really appropriate for a fight scene unless you’re going for some kind of Kill Bill vibe.).

Lionhearted is great, and the lyrics really work well with smashing walls and fighting and such, so that and Year of War are my unofficial theme songs for the closing scenes of Arctic Gale.

Of course, I still think that Chronicles of a Fallen Love by the Bloody Beetroots is the unofficial theme song for AG, but I think it was used in a TV show or something, so that kind of taints it.

There have been many other tracks that have inspired me over the course of this story, but I wanted to share these tonight. I know that you shouldn’t listen to music and write, but I like the two practices and I don’t get enough time for both so I need to economise. It’s an open secret that almost all of my scene names for KS were named after the first track that played as I was writing, much to everyone’s chagrin. I believe that a few of these have remained (this little anecdote reminds me of another song that I have listened to a little too much: Kagerou Days).

I’ve also used this sleepless/jetlaggy haze to consider some points for editing the story. There are a few things that need fixing, like the correct spelling of ‘link, and also some other points that I’ve made, like making Dani younger and a little more relatable (I’ve already taken this to heart in this closing act – watch out for that). There are also some larger fixes that I won’t spoil for you yet. Noting earth-shattering but hopefully it will bring a little more sense to the story, which, due to is meandering genesis, has taken a few wild turns throughout the last 9 years.

So, if you want to know what I was listening to as you read Chapter 36, open up any of those links above and you’ll be inside my head.

A trip down memory lane

Okay, I’m actually scheduling this a week in advance, mostly because I just posted AG 35 and a brief message about that.

WordPress has a great stats suite, including showing the pages that linked to your blog. The main offenders are old Reddit threads, including one about A Runner’s Afternoon from three years ago and the AMA I did around the same time.

Anyway, I was looking at one of these today and there was a link to some KS videos on Youtube; the Instafeels (or something like that). So, against my better judgement, instead of sleeping, I had a bit of a look at the KS stuff that is around there.

Somewhere, someone posted something about a Katawa Shoujo military group. I remembered that I wrote something like that many years ago:

Katawa Shoujo SF

I couldn’t remember if I put this on the forums or the older, original forums.

It turns out it was on the renai forums, however I had the chance to look at some of my suggestions from the original boards:

My first post for Katawa Shoujo....

My first post for Katawa Shoujo….

This made me giggle, especially how B) was instantly emoji’d.

Here are some other posts that make me smile a little. I’ve left everything in my original, care-to-the-wind shitty handwriting.

Anyway, please excuse me for being a tad exicted on this one; I’m skiping the usual formalities (like, you konw, looking for a thread already on the topic).

Long story short, I had a flash of inspiration that combines the music and writing world.

The OP, as I’m envisioning it at the moment, will have a strong, arthymic beat, falling on beats 1 and 4, with a “beep” on the first beat.

In the middle of the OP, I’m thinking that the beat and melody stops, and we get just the droning beep. Then, the song kicks back in (think like that pause in YOU, the Shuffle OP).
Towards the end, the beat subsides, and steadies a bit.
The OP graphics fade to black, but the beep continues.

Then, going by the canon of H-games, the MC wakes up; groggy. However, non-cannonically, he’s in a hospital bed, waking up from his frist heart attack.

He gets the low down from his doctor (obviouly the MC is confused as to why a 17-ish-year-old is having a heart attack).

Long story short, he finds out that he has arrthymia, so they decide to send him to the school, which will have medical factilites etc (this is another reason that I’m thinking that it should be a boarding school).

In this fashion, the first charater he will meet will be Rosa.

The only flaw that I can think of at the moment is that this will, most likely, rule out the “childhood friend” path.

QUestions/comments/flames for coming in a year late on this one?

I’ll be happy to expand on this, however I also have to hit up the music forum and the channel and get peopel excited

Reading the thread that this came from shows the immediate tensions between the people who became the actual devs and the “Core Team” who fled relatively early on and left the project to us.

Then there is this, which is my original submission to join the writing team. It reminds me just how much I wrote for KS in 3.5 years. It was weeeell over a quarter of a million words, and that’s not including spending a significant portion of my life on IRC. Sadly, my laptop that had all of these scripts was stolen in 2009, and that was before cloud storage was really a thing. Thankfully these forums are still up. I should really copy this stuff somewhere.

They asked for applications for the “leadership” positions: here is mine:

Oh, whilst it is all true, it's also sooooo irrelevant. I only realise that now.

Oh, whilst it is all true, it’s also sooooo irrelevant. I only realise that now.

And then, there is this:

The "Big" announcement, handing me the keys...

The “Big” announcement, handing me the keys…

You’ll notice that no-one in that original announcement made it to the full game. Such is the toll that KS took on people. Sure, there were some people that made it through the whole process (like The Hivemind and A22) but they are rare.

This was about a month after I started posting on that board. I have to say that it was a hostile takeover; even that post from Deucetrick wasn’t sanctioned by other members of the original “Core Team,” but I like to think that it was because we forced their hand that the game got made.

I know that I was a bit of a dic(k)tator in the beginning, and that I had abso-fucking-lutely no idea how to make a game. My ego took a lot of knocks as I realised that there were many things that I didn’t actually know, but I can admit that now.

Ok, I’ll leave it there else I’ll be reading A22 and Hivemind’s originally submissions all night.