The conflict of solitude

Has it really been that long since I’ve posted? Time  has certainly flown! It’s not been down to a lack of commitment or loss of momentum; more the opposite in fact. The demands of my undertaking have been pretty relentless to be fair. I wouldn’t like to be misunderstood here as I’m not bemoaning my circumstance or seeking pity. I’ve made a choice to change my life and I’m working hard to make it a reality, but there certainly is a lot to juggle. That said, I’d like to start this post by again thanking my wonderful, understanding, supportive and insightful partner in both life and love. My enthusiasm sometimes loses you, yet you always try your best to follow my thoughts. Big kudos also for the unremitting support Mr J has provided, including some wonderful contributions to my efforts. I’m working hard to see them in print for you. Again, also a big thank you to Chris Birch for his continued help in many aspects, despite being extremely busy himself on many of his own projects.

 

Working on this project has left little time for other pursuits I’m afraid, which means I’ve had no time to continue the story of Shaemus over on wattpad or even to produce the review of Fate Core that I’ve been promising. I have had a chance to read through the system though and I must say, I’m immensely impressed. So much so that I intend on making use of Fate Core in my project, though more on that later. Now, you may be asking yourself why such an established and polished system as Fate Core could possibly need another review. You’re probably right in thinking that it doesn’t, but I’d ask you to bear with me on this one please: think of it more as a learning process and chance for me to practice my reviewing skills. Which leads me neatly in to the title for my post. If you manage to find some time for some research I would highly recommend foraging for other people’s writing experiences. By that I mean how many different methods writers employ to allow their creativity to flow to you, the reader. I don’t just mean the methods they employ, which is clearly an important part of the process, but the whole experience: surroundings, mood, research, musical influence, et al. I’m of the opinion that there is no right or wrong answer, it is very much down to the individual. I prefer to write in solitude, sometimes in complete silence, other times with music which suits the mood for the piece I’m writing. My current employment will also sometimes see me complete an entire shift without having spoken to another living being. Although this respite from human contact is occasionally welcome, writing can sometimes be a lonely experience. Where am I going with this? Let me cut to the chase – please feel free to leave a comment, just so I know you’re out there and interested in what I have to say. You’re support in any small way through critique, suggestion or positive reinforcement makes this whole process more than the mere ramblings of an as yet unpublished writer and will let me know that I can overcome my enforced solitude by reaching out to you through the power of the written word.

 

On the gaming front it’s been a case of our group getting together to plan ahead and look at a date for a fresh start. I like to run games for my group which have sprung from my own creativity but unfortunately my undertakings have left me with no time in that area either, so we’ve taken the collective decision to run more pick up and play type games for the time being. To that end I’ll be rebooting the Carrion Crown Adventure Path from the third module, after having stopped near the end of the second some time ago – perfectly in time for Halloween. I’m very much looking forward to this as I enjoy a sense of horror and tension in my games. I’m sure you’ll hear about this in future posts! We did manage to squeeze in a play-test of the Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition beta rules, using the short adventure and pre-gen characters provided with the RPGNow download. Chris Birch, founder of the Achtung! Cthulu and Mutant Chronicles publisher Modiphius, kindly sent through some updated character sheets for us to use, so we’re looking to further play-test Mutant Chronicles in a mass combat situation very soon. More to come on that also in future posts, particularly as the much anticipated finished product will be with us in November.

 

Lastly, I’d like to talk about the all-consuming project. It’s still very much progressing, though it will soon be taking a very different direction – self publishing through the power of Kickstarter! Before I continue in more depth on that, I’d like to tell you that the Paizo license submission was finished and submitted. Massive thanks to Toma Feizo Gas and the Vulcan Design Forge, Arthur Tanga and his creations and our map artist for all of the hard work to see that finalised! If I’m able to at some point, I will post it here for your comments as we were quite proud of the finished piece. I’ve had a tentative email response from Paizo and am awaiting further events, though I haven’t sat still. My intention has always been to take a step into the world of self publishing and, having had several conversations with experts in various fields, this will soon be a reality. Our team is hard at work on various iterations of the overall idea and product. We will very soon be releasing a small, free PDF which will introduce you to a kingdom building campaign employing the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Ultimate Campaign and Mythic Adventure rules; that’s right, a kingdom building campaign of epic proportions! Set on my home-brew campaign world of Tanrisal, this will be the first of a series of campaign arcs introducing players and GM’s to this rich setting. There will be seperate posts, pages and updates for this as we progress so please add, like or follow to receive your updates and pass the word around. As mentioned earlier, you can also expect Fate Core variants of this in the future! We are all massively enthused by this project and are very much looking forward to unveiling it to you as we progress. I don’t want to say too much more, as it will be the subject of future posts, but I’d like to leave you with a concept image produced by Toma for the central character from one of my stories over on wattpad, who will also be making an appearance in the forthcoming adventure series : Kyra Red. Bearing in mind that this is a concept sketch and not the finished piece, I think you’ll agree it’s a stunning piece and certainly does her justice.

Kyra Red concept sketch

I’d like to sign off with a challenge. I challenge one of my friends or followers to leave a comment on anything related to this post, be it your own writing experiences, thoughts on my self-publishing quest or the concept of Kyra. I shall look forward to replying!

Finding balance

So. It’s been over a week since my last post. Does this mean I’ve been sitting back and twiddling my thumbs? Or perhaps you may think that after an initial blog spree my interest has tapered off. I’m glad to say the truth is far from either of those!

 

I’ve thought about writing a blog post before today. I’ve logged in to WordPress to update plug-ins, to check on comments and feedback (please feel free to leave comments, I really appreciate them – good and bad) and to play with settings. But I’ve intentionally not written before now. Part of the reason is that I would like to write structured, informed and meaningful posts. I don’t want to inundate you with trivial posts that lack substance and meaning. Another part of the reason is in the title of this post – Finding balance. With a large, busy family and a full time job to keep me occupied (read about me here), you can imagine that life gets pretty hectic. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not bemoaning my fate; the only thing I would change about my life is also a large incentive for me to continue blogging, writing and submitting work to be published. I’m trying to set the scene which led to the title of this post.

 

Our family is, of necessity, a well-oiled machine; albeit a machine that sometimes clanks, pops, hisses, steams, nearly pulls itself apart in different directions and occasionally settles with a sigh. At the centre of that machine sit my partner and I. Without that centre, the whole wouldn’t function. I very much cherish this seemingly obvious truth and like to ensure that we have time to appreciate each other and to listen and engage with each other. So, at times when I could be reaching for my laptop to ponder and pontificate, I have purposefully balanced how much I have achieved as KP Langers the writer that week against how much time I have dedicated to Team KP Langers. We also need to balance our time with our children, who are an extension of Team KP Langers. They’re all of different ages with different needs and they all benefit greatly from family time and one-on-one time. Add to this the fact that my partner has also successfully registered as a child minder while I, as you know, am trying to get established as a writer and I think you’ll agree there is plenty to balance! I also hope you’ll agree with me when I say life is all about finding a balance; too much of  something will impact on other areas of your life, quite often with unexpected, undesired and unpleasant results.

 

This past week I have managed to edit the prologue of Cold Winds Blow (still not sure if I’m settled on that title). I was a bit shocked and embarrassed at the quality of work I had written, though I can safely say it certainly reads a lot better now. Again, please feel free to leave a comment or to add me to your reading list; you are the people who will help me to be an enthused, engaged and more competent writer. I’ve also met up with old friends, one of whom is now working with me on a writing project that I’m very excited about – more on that in future posts, though said project has also taken up a fair bit of my time. All of this productivity led me to realising I needed to balance this with everything above and to share this with you all, so that you can understand why I am not constantly and needlessly blogging.

 

I hope this post has provided you with some insight and food for thought. Maybe there is something in your life that you could analyse and balance against your other needs, demands, desires and dreams? Look forward to my next post, which will most likely be a review of the Fate Core roleplaying system, which is published by Evil Hat Productions LLC and forms the core system for the Achtung! Cthulu and Dresden Files RPG’s.

 

One last thing: I would like to dedicate my first ever review to my good friend Bevan J, who is currently bobbing around on the North Sea as I type this. You have been a tireless supporter from the outset. You’re critique of my review certainly gave me plenty to think about and this, coupled with your advice, helped it to be the polished piece of writing it is now. A heartfelt thanks from me my friend and safe journey home to us soon.