A hub for the "Book of Masks" universe.
"The Book of Masks" : A high school student discovers a grimoire that can make magical disguises.
"The Wandering Stars" : Sequel to "The Book of Masks."
"Student Bodies" : A high school student is turned into a blue goo that can possess people.
For non-WdC Members
"The Book of Masks: Archives" : Dodges the "Servers Busy" barrier!
"The Book of Masks (Abridged)" : Introductory storylines for new readers.
"BoM/TWS Message Forum" : Community for readers of the interactives.
"BoM/TWS/SB Wiki" : Notes and documentation for authors. Spoilers!
5/7: "The Book of Masks: Plot Plinko (5)"
4/8 Interactive: "The Inside, Looking Out"
4/8 Public: "The Inside, Looking Out"
|The choice "Keep investigating the book" ("Making a Mask" ) won pretty decisively, as I would have bet. I don't have such a strong intuition about where you guys will want to take it next, though. Vote here: [Poll completed and deleted.]
Remember, you can also vote by sending me GPs through the form at the bottom of the chapter you prefer. If your choice wins, the GPs go GP-voters whose choice lost. If your choice still loses, you get your GPs back, and maybe a dividend.
Poll closes on Wednesday, May 5, at 12:00 PM EDT.
|You know what we haven't had around here in a long time? A poll!
[Poll completed and deleted.]
I have a couple of commission ideas to consider, but while I'm noodling around with them, how about we play a round of Plot Plinko? If you don't remember Plot Plinko, or if you weren't here the last time we played it, here's how it works.
The above link goes to a poll which in turn links to the first two chapters of The Book of Masks. At that poll, any logged-in WdC member can vote for which of the five paths to take. Tomorrow I will post another poll, linking to the chapter that got the most votes in today's poll, where you can vote on which of the next set of choices to take. For instance, if "Keep investigating the book" wins, then tomorrow I'll post a poll linking to "Making a Mask," and you will get to vote on whether to "Keep the book a secret", "Show it to Caleb", or "Show it to someone else." And so on and so forth until we reach a choice whose chapter has not been written yet. That will be the choice which gets a continuation.
Well, maybe. I can only promise to do my best.
This could take quite a while to play out, which is why it's best to play Plot Plinko either during a dead time or while I'm busy with other projects. Like now.
These polls will come with a wrinkle. As explained in the poll itself, you can also lend more weight to your vote by sending me GPs through the chapter that you prefer to see continued. So if you want to see the first choice (Keep investigating the book; "Making a Mask") continued, go to that chapter and send me GPs through the form at the bottom of the chapter. The full mechanics are explained in the poll.
|Okay, I'm caught up on things around here, but I haven't figured out where I'm going to start adding to BoM again—I need to do some more reading back through my various notes. I wouldn't look for new chapters from me until the middle of the week, at least, and maybe not until next weekend.
I've not given upon Civilization VI yet, though, but I'm giving myself a schedule that will strictly limit the amount of playtime I get. Playing that game is like eating potato chips. It's hard to stop, and you feel awful when you finally do.
|It's the start of a new month, which is a good time to get back to work. Besides, I sickened myself with Civilization VI.
Which is fine, which is good. I needed the break anyway, but I'm glad I got into the game. I loved Civilization IV, but no matter how much I played the V iteration, I could never get into it. I just found it tedious and boring. Civilization as a game is famous for "just one more turn" quality of fascination, and for me V had lost it. But once I dug into VI and got a good feel for the new mechanics, I found myself hooked and muttering "just one more turn," like in the old days.
But you all probably don't want to hear about that.
I don't have anything else to share, though. I haven't been writing or even thinking about writing, but I'm ready to do some more, and once I get caught up with what's been going on around here (because except for one or two short visits, I haven't even checked in to WdC) I plan to start working on something. It might be a few days, though, before anything starts turning up story-wise.
|Last chapter of that transitional bit is now up.
I do have some additional chapters written, but I'm going to take a couple of days off, from writing and from posting. March took more out of me than I wanted to admit at the time. Also, I've got a couple of computer games that I haven't played in forever that have been calling to me.
|I've got four new chapters written that I can publish without embarrassing myself, so I'm going to go ahead and post them, even though they are less of a "story start" and more of a "transitional section" to set up some possible stories. Anyway—
Interactive: "The Whole New You"
Public: "The Mash-Up" + "The Offspring of Two Cousins" + "The Whole New You"
—picks up in a place that hasn't been visited in a long time, and it is preceded by two bonus, new-to-the-Archives chapters. The story so far:
Will has discovered a book that can make magic disguises, and he has succeeded in making mask. He has used it on himself, putting a copy of himself into it, but he is intrigued by the book's caution that he can add other faces to the mask before sealing it up to wear. He decides to experiment by adding his cousin Umeko's face to the mask. And what will he do with this hybrid mask? Find out tomorrow!
Interactive: "Life Inside Lucy"
Public: "Life Inside Lucy"
—is the last in the batch I've been publishing. Yeah, that's a nasty cliffhanger, but that's all I've got.
I'm not sure if I'll be back tomorrow with anything new. I used up all my saved material getting to this point, and although I've got two new chapters written, I might want to save them back until I've got at least four or five and can be sure of giving you guys something worthwhile.
|So, I spent the last week of February, and the whole of March, trying to write one short story a day. I didn't make it. I crashed toward the end, and missed five days. But if I include the last week of February as part of March, then I did manage to write a complete story on 31 out of 38 days, and a total of 36 complete short stories. Some I think turned out pretty good. Others ... Well, I'll leave them up, though I'm not too happy with them.
Because the month is over, and because the last week of March had four writing-free holes in it, I'm going to go ahead and post links to the last seven stories I wrote for the challenge:
* * *
Meanwhile, today's BoM chapter—
Interactive: "With Friends Like These"
Public: "With Friends Like These"
—is a stand-alone. Yes, it's only supposed to set up more choices, but there's a bit more content to this one.
|There's five chapters posted today, but they're kind of repetitive with each other, and nothing happens. Collectively, they set up 25 possible choices for Will to pursue as he picks himself a new identity inside Westside:
"Marching to a Different Beat" (Interactive) + "Marching to a Different Beat" (Public)
"Orchestrating a New Plan" (Interactive) + "Orchestrating a New Plan" (Public)
"The Play's the Thing" (Interactive) + "The Play's the Thing" (Public)
"Deal Me In" (Interactive) + "Deal Me In" (Public)
"The Friend of My Friend" (Interactive) + "The Friend of My Friend" (Public)
Tomorrow will also bring multiple postings.
|It's the 28th, so time for another weekly update of the other stories I've been writing this month. There's only six this time, because I've been running out of steam, and I missed a day. "The Resurrection of Meleck-Taos" (written under the joint influence of H. P. Lovecraft and Hammer Pictures) won both a daily contest and a weekly contest, but it's probably the one of this batch I like the least. Oh well. Two others were daily co-winners.
|I forgot to note on the blog that yesterday's chapter would be the last in that set. But if you read the Archive pages, you will have figured it out.
Anyway, that is all of the new branches that I have in the backlog. Starting today I am going to dip back into a stream where I recently did some pruning.
The story picks up with "Senior Secrets" . Will and Caleb were playing around with masks, with the plan of copying some of the alpha jocks so they could get close to their girlfriends. But things went sideways when they accidentally tipped their hand to one of the alpha-est of the jocks, Steve Patterson. Patterson seized the Libra and set up a kind of secret club, forcing Will and Caleb (and later on, Keith) to get masks of various girls, which Patterson and his friend Gordon Black would then hang on a golem so they could ... Well, you get the idea. Caleb has recently met his quota of mask-making, and has been rewarded by being allowed to take over the identity of Seth Javits.
Will has also just made his quota, with an additional twist. He scored a copy of Joe Durras of Eastman High and gave it to Patterson; Patterson (for reasons that Will does not know of in this branch) has decided to make Joe and Frank his private, personal property. Patterson offered to let Will move out to Eastman with him, to become a kind of deputy, but Will has declined.
Will is now at a cross-roads. Does he continue to hang out with his friends Caleb and Keith, and help out with Patterson's schemes? Or does he try to distance himself from them all?
I've got a bunch of chapters to post, but they won't start or develop a story. They will just set up some choices. The chapters are big enough, though, that I won't be dropping them all in one batch, but will space them out over the course of a couple of days. Today's chapter:
Interactive: "New Bosses"
Public: "New Bosses"
Interactive: "Green Meanies"
Public: "Green Meanies"
—conclude the latest short branch. It was a set of chapters I had on my computer for ... well, a very long time. It's the same thing with the chapters I'll start publishing tomorrow, which are also some old things I found while rooting around my files.
They take place at St. Xavier's. Will was infiltrating that very snobby school by pretending to be a girl named Abi Steiner. But he got busted by Abi's friends, who took the Libra from him and tied him up in their secret hideout. This basic situation—Will imprisoned while Abi's friends take turns pretending to be Abi—has been developed before, but this branch sprouts off in a different direction from "Pulling a Switch on the Old Switcheroo"
* * *
Meanwhile, here are seven more stories from my March of Madness:
Six of them are contest entries, of which five were winners; the sixth contest hasn't been judged yet. So, yeah, that's a pretty good record, if I may say so.
|Today brings an end to the 5-chapter run I've been working on:
Interactive: "The Best Defense"
Public: "The Best Defense"
Tomorrow I start publishing some chapters that I wrote a long time ago but left in the files. It branches off of "Body Swapping as a Solution" . Will and Sydney are planning to make their own "Brotherhood of Baphomet" using golems, and are trying to figure out where to start. Will, meanwhile, is being bullied by friends of Blake O'Brien, the football player who has a crush on Sydney.
The new branch begins with "The First Step of a Random Walk" , which is a chapter that was published in the interactive but never published in the Archives. I'm publishing it there today so as to prepare for the new chapters, which will begin appearing tomorrow.
|March 15, so it's time for another link-fest. These are stories from the first week of March—the official start, I suppose, of my March writing project.
There are 8. That's because two of them—"Mid-Season Replacement" and "Date from Hell"—were written the same day. The two contests that day were extra-inspirational.
I'm tickled to say that three of them were winners in competitive contests for their respective days, and two of them shared a first prize. One was also named a weekly winner in its contest.
|In addition to today's chapter—
Interactive: "Getting Real with Charles Whitney"
Public: "Getting Real with Charles Whitney"
—there's an extra: "Schools of Thought"
I'm still revising the interactive, and this morning I chopped out a tangle of branches. I also revised one of the major nodes in order to open up more possibilities, and the extra chapter is an insert made as part of that process.
Interactive: "Laura Comes Clean"
Public: "Laura Comes Clean"
—finishes off the commissions that I started accepting late last year.
But that doesn't mean I'm done publishing BoM chapters. Even though I've been concentrating on non-BoM stuff this month, I've been carving out an extra hour each day to put into the interactive. Some of this takes the form of editing/updating old branches for continuity issues, but I've also been adding chapters or parts of chapters. At the moment I've got 10 more chapters I can publish. With luck and stamina, I might be able to write enough more to carry us to the end of the month.
Tomorrow's entry will start a 5-chapter run that picks up where "A Meeting of Minds" left off. Will and Caleb have been experimenting with masks and golems, but disaster strikes when they sell some of these items to Caleb's cousin, Dylan. The golem, disguised as a student at the tony St. Francis Xavier prep school, has run off, and they need to capture it before it does something to the real guy. Will and another Xavier student, Roxanne Hurley, have just gone for a short drive when they are intercepted by a quartet of hijackers, including two who appear to be twins ...
* * *
Because I'm still concentrating on short stories I am not officially open to commissions. But I am open to listening to pitches for commissions. If you'd like to commission something from me and you have an idea, feel free to send me it, so I can mull it over.