Viva Fractopia!

Yay! I get to work on UbiquiCity 2!

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, I collaborated with several other writers a while back to create an anthology called UbiquiCity. I was approached by Tod Foley to help with the project after he read my WIP, Hermes925. What followed were several video conference calls in which the writers developed a world together, and then came up with characters and short stories within that world.

As you may have gathered from the images on this post, the stories all take place in a futuristic ‘smart city’, or UbiquiCity (a city in which smart technology is fully integrated and ubiquitous), populated not only with people, but also countless drones flying overhead, and AI’s moving wirelessly and invisibly across the city.

This is similar to Hermes925 in many respects, but it takes place about 20 years earlier. People use various smart devices from several manufacturers using different operating systems and carriers. This can cause compatibility issues, and gaping exploits for hackers.

There are also some parts of Union City, as we called it, that are not so shiny. Run down slums where the people can’t afford the technology to keep up, though some come up with inventive, and not precisely legal, ways to circumvent the system. These people are known as ‘Scrumblies’ or ‘Discons’ by the connected majority.

The result is a culture that is utopian for some and dystopian for others. Tod came up with the term ‘Fractopia’ to describe it, allowing us to differentiate from cyberpunk and grimdark sci-fi, though there are elements in common. Tod not only hope to establish Fractopian fiction as a genre in it’s own right, but to develop UbiquiCity into a roleplay gaming system.

I’ve only scratched the surface of the depth and scope of the world we’ve created. If I’ve whet your appetite and you’d like to know more about the project, you can learn more on the UbiquiCity website and support the development of more books, and the gaming system, by becoming a Patreon subscriber and/or buying the book from Amazon:

We’d all be very grateful to you if you did.

Thank you and have a great day 🙂

The Book Factory

When I was running the Creative Writers group, I had an idyllic hopeful notion that it might evolve into a full-fledged business. I had dreams of an office building with the words ‘Creative Writers’ Press’ emblazoned on it. Those who work there would write for a living, with supervisors to keep them on task and accountable.

There’d also be in-house editors, cover-artists and proofreaders, and books that sell particularly well (the company would handle the marketing, but individual authors would be encouraged to brag about their latest book on social media also) would earn bonuses for the authors.

Even though my first attempt to find a group of like-minded individuals failed, the idea still persists. I wanted to start over. Create another group that would give writers the support and guidance they needed to keep writing. I’m currently reading a book called “How to be F**king Awesome” by Dan Meredith. I highly recommend it. In it, Dan mentions creating an accountability group, and that sounded like a fantastic idea.

Part of the problem was that Creative Writers got too big to handle, and drifted far from my original vision. I was unable to steer it back on course, and attempting to do so was frustrating, depressing, and spirit-crushing. So to avoid the same fate, The Book Factory will be a secret group, accessible by invitation only.

This will also (hopefully) prevent trolls, time-wasters and those that want to use the group purely to promote themselves from joining, or at least make it easier to spot them and remove them before they take over. If you’re out to prove that you’re the best writer ever and the only true expert in the group, you’re welcome to start your own group or fan page for yourself, but The Book Factory is not for you.

If you’re serious about writing, but find yourself procrastinating despite your best intentions (just like me) perhaps we can help each other out. Find me on Facebook and message me to join The Book Factory group. Hopefully we can start churning out books and making a living from it instead of playing Skyrim (or is that just me?).

MjollBearded.jpg
If you give Mjoll the Masque of Clavicus Vile and steel plate armor, you end up with this amusing combo. Nice beard Mjoll!

I play way too much. As I’ve mentioned in the previous article, I do believe that I’ll have better luck staying motivated and disciplined when I have a separate room for writing, away from my Xbox, and with my family around to keep my spirits up. It wouldn’t hurt to have some support from the online community too, and also help others to keep up with their writing.

I am pleased to say I have at least one story in print. A short story called ‘Murder Inc.’ in the “UbiquiCity” anthology. I had to replace my copy because a guest at the hotel I work at bought it from me. We had been talking about artificial intelligence, smart technology and dystopia masquerading as utopia. All of which are themes of both the UbiquiCity collection, and my own work-in-progress, Hermes925 (which I really need to finish).

I need to show my progress on my other WIPs too. So far they’re all hand-written, and I’ve gotten good feedback and encouragement in the past from posting the second draft on this website. In the meantime, I have a bag to pack, a room to organise, and lots of stories to write.

Have a great day 🙂

 

 

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Time To Write

I know I’m not the only writer that has this problem. You get up ready to write, pull out your notebook and pen or turn on your computer (or both) determined to work on a story that you know has to get written. You know exactly what you intend to work on, but the words just refuse to come.

This is especially frustrating if you know that this is the only time you’ll get this week. The rest of your schedule is filled with prior commitments. Work, family. friends, other writing projects, classes, housework, etc. All vying for attention while the one thing you’re trying to pay attention to refuses to cooperate.

You may be trying to keep to a deadline, a schedule, or a promise, but you just can’t focus. You try to read over your notes, scan over the last thing you wrote, and get into the mindset of your characters. You find yourself just staring, your mind wandering to other worries.

Sometimes I can get around this by working on something else, or updating this blog. Other times I can post a question on Facebook to my fellow writers to figure out what direction I need to take the story in. Most of the time just forming the question is enough to get me going again.

Right now I’m supposed to be proofreading and editing the short story I’m working on for UbiquiCity, the RPG sourcebook I’m contributing to. I have already fixed a lot of it, but I know it needs more. I keep meaning to find the time to read over the stories that have been submitted by the other writers to make sure that my descriptions of the City are consistent, but I keep having the same problem I’m having with my own work. I’m just staring at the screen.

I have four days until the writers meet up again. One of those days I have to be out of the house for about 10 hours for my day job, and on another I’ll be doing the update for my Facebook RP group the City of Gate. I’ve had all month to do the rewrite and I’ve spent maybe 2 days actually doing it. The rest of the time I’ve been working, sleeping, doing not enough writing and spending too much time discussing a new project.

To be fair the new project is very exciting. A series of short-story anthologies called Monolith. The Creative Writers group is now up to 343 members (and probably more by the time you read this) and a lot of them are pumped about writing something for book one. I don’t expect each book to make much money, but the more books we publish, the more the royalties will add up.

Working on Monolith will also give me invaluable insight into self-publishing and allow me to make use of some of my accumulated knowledge on sales, marketing and entrepreneurship. At one point I thought I’d use these skills to attain a corporate position of some kind, or start my own business, but it feels right to apply it to creating a series of books instead.

If you think you might be interested in contributing a short story, please do. You can get more info about it on the pinned post of the Creative Writers group. Eventually there will be a dedicated website to go with the Facebook page I’ve made, but for now there’s a link at the top of this page for submissions. You have until June-August to get it in, so that should give you plenty of time to polish it up and make it awesome.

I should get back to the UbiquiCity story I’m supposed to be writing. If not, then I should at least be working on The War on Magic, City of Gate: Chronicles, Hermes925, or The Haunted Story. I may have too many writing projects!

If you happen to be someone that likes to invest in entrepreneurial new writers, you can do so either on my Patreon page, or by selecting one of the Paypal subscription options below. You’ll get updates on my writing projects and free copies of every book I’m published in if you do. Have a great day 🙂

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