Altered States

Starting the week off with updates about Renaissance Gamer, because some things are, you guessed it, changing. I’m going back to a M-F update schedule. I tried M-W-F, or sometimes T-Th-Sat, but that usually resulted in a single post and an “eff you!” to the rest of the week. Habit is everything when it comes to writing on a regular basis, and working through the 30 Days of GMing Challenge showed me I can post everyday. But since I do need a few days a week just for me and nerdy gaming things, I’m compromising with M-F.

Speaking of the GMing Challenge, you won’t see the last posts for it here on the blog proper. It seems that Triple Crit, the originators of the challenge, stopped updating theirs around Day 19. I am finishing out the full 30 days though; not only is it a great writing exercise but I think the questions are useful and allow me to give some good advice and tips on GMing. So I created a page containing all the 30 Days of Game Mastering posts in one spot. I’ll finish answering the questions over the next week or so, and then all the Game Master-y goodness will be located in one spot for your enjoyment. I’ll also go back from time to time and edit or add to the information, as things change for me as a GM, or new resources make themselves available. It also occurs to me that, with seven entries to go and a word count now around 15,000, there must be a way for me to turn all that advice into some sort of Game Mastering PDF. So I’ve put that on my “to do” list, albeit lower down.

Work proceeds apace on my own first gaming supplement in the “Argent’s Guide” series. I’ll post something soon about “Fulroar’s Longhouse”, give you a taste of what’s to come. Getting back to the idea of building good writing habits, the Gamer Lifestyle Bootcamp has been worth it’s weight in a metal much more valuable than gold. If you’ve thought about writing a game resource for a while now but don’t really know where to start, I can’t recommend this course enough. It breaks the process of creating a gaming resource down into manageable chunks and makes the project easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules. Jump on the next one, you won’t be sorry.

And game editing continues as well. Friday I made a “proud papa” post about Foreign Element, and I’ve been helping out with a few other smaller supplements as well. I’ll also be working on Issue #10 of the Wayfinder Fanzine. It seems I did a good enough job on Issue #9 to be invited back, which makes me happy. It’s one of my favourite Pathfinder resources, so to contribute to its continued success in some way is gratifying. Seriously, guys and dolls, not only is it packed full of Pathfinder goodness, but it’s free. You can’t beat that, so go pick it up.

Also, I meant to do some sort of milestone contest when I hit my 200th post on the blog…and I blew right past 200 without realizing it. This post included I think I’m at 213? Anyway, I’ll have a contest with actual prizes for my 250th post, which should fall sometime in December close to the Solstice. Entry will be easy, and open to anyone subscribing to the blog. Prizes will be an assortment of gaming swag: miniatures, books, things I custom make for you. We’ll see, but keep your eyes peeled for that. And if you’ve enjoyed any of my posts but haven’t subscribed, now’s your chance. Heck, bring a friend!

And that’s where we’ll leave this episode of Update Brag. If you have any questions or comments, there is a place for that and you should use it. I’ll be back tomorrow with Part 1 of “Building a Dice Tower”. There will be pictures and everything!

How I’m Keeping Busy

When I was laid-off back in April, I had mixed feelings.  At first there was a moment of “I HAVE NO JOB! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!”, which luckily soon passed (sustained screaming makes my throat bad-tingle).  Once that moment was gone, I realized that my old job had made me…not miserable, that’s too strong.  It made me enervated; I would start the day with ideas of the things I would do once I finished work that day, but by the time I got home I was drained.  Not that the job (shipping/receiving) was hard, it wasn’t.  I was really good at it, which was the only reason I had survived through two prior rounds of lay-offs.

But being good at a job and loving your job are two different things.  So while I certainly miss having a job, I don’t miss that job.  Because of this, I made the decision to stay on EI for a while, and try my hand at some things I do love.  So here is a quick rundown of some of the things I’m working on at the moment:

Freelancing:  I officially hung out my shingle today as a “white collar mercenary”, providing editing, data entry and research services on a freelance basis.  You can check out my Rate Sheet, hidden under the About Renaissance Dork button above.  I think there is a “freelance office worker” niche to be filled for self-publishing authors, small press houses and small businesses that can’t afford a staffing agency.  And since I both enjoy and am good at editing and research, and am willing to perform data entry (can anyone be said to enjoy it?), I might as well fit myself into that niche.  I am excited about this, and curious what will come of it.

Volunteering for On Spec:  I have been a fan of short SF fiction for a real long time, and a fan of On Spec for almost as long (as I talk about here).  Shortly after Aluma gave me my walking papers, I contacted Diane and asked if I could help out, maybe read some slushpile stuff that was piling up.  She was gracious enough to allow me to do some copy-editing, as well as putting me in charge of the @OnSpecMagazine Twitter feed (which you should follow if you love Canadian SF and cool stuff like that).  I’m loving both, but the copy-editing has been the best fun so far.  I’m currently editing two stories, and one of them is in my favourite (though somewhat scary) stage, working with the writer.  I won’t say any more, other than you will love these stories when they come out!

RPG Writing:  Oddly, while this is the one I was most excited to get to work on, it is the one that has stalled the most for me.  I’m still working out for myself why that might be, though I know the fault lies with me and not any outside source.  But in the meantime I have worked up the second draft of a Pathfinder Society scenario submission, started the second draft of an article to be submitted to Wayfinder Magazine (a fan published/created magazine on Pathfinder), and am picking out three article proposals to send in to Kobold Quarterly.  I did complete a paid assignment for a game product coming out soonish, but I don’t know how much I can talk about it prior to it being announced.  So let us say I am cautiously optimistic about my future as an RPG writer, and leave it there for now.

The Blog: Well, you’re here, so I don’t really need to explain what this is.  I’ve wanted to focus on writing for a while, and the blog is a big part of that.  Not only does it give me a chance to sound-off about the geeky things I love so much, it has also helped me form relationships with other bloggers/writers.  And as part of my daily writing process, it does two things. First, I can use it to clear out the cobwebs at the start of the day, by banging out a blog entry, freeform (which I later edit and re-write; don’t worry, only the best for you guys!)  Second, if I’m stuck on something else I’m writing I just pull up the blog and work on that.  At some point that unsticks me, and I can go back to what I was working on.  So whatever else happens, the blog is too important for me to give up.

The Sorta Secret Project: Used to be Super Secret, but I couldn’t contain my excitement and told a few people.  I’m not going to give away too much…oh, all right.  Here are three clues: I’ll still be talking about geeky stuff; I’ll be working with a fellow geek I’m rather fond of; and it will start (as far as you are concerned) in February.  Beyond that, my lips are sealed GABBO!

And that is what fills the days and sometimes nights of the Renaissance Dork, padded out with role-playing games, television and the occasional movie.  I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my life, and hey, tell all your friends about the white collar mercenary thing, eh?

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