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!
10/14: Plot Plinko: "BoM: The Fake Book"
10/14: Interactive: "The Becoming of Heather Brown"
10/14: Public: "The Becoming of Heather Brown"
10/5: Masktrix [BoM] "A moment’s reflection"
4/4: Archives: "The Magician's House" --> "New Information" --> "More Tricks of the Trade"
|I am just about done writing new chapters for BoM: today if I'm in shape to do it after getting a crown replaced, I will finish composing the 30th chapter I intend to publish, which will fulfill my September commitment to give you guys a month's worth of content. I will even give you a bonus, as I will have to write at least two or maybe three chapters beyond that to get the current branch to a stopping point. You will be getting new chapters at least through Saturday, and maybe Sunday.
I've written some additional chapters beyond the month's commitment, which means that I have a running start on December's chapters when that month comes. And I may be back early, in November, with some more chapters that I have been commissioned to write.
But to keep us all interested during the hiatus-to-come, how about we do some polling? It's been a long time since we've played "Plot Plinko", and I think I'd like to let you guys pick an area for me to write in. "Plot Plinko" is the long way of doing it, but it means we're likely to end up in an area that hasn't been explored.
To review the rules: We start at the beginning of the interactive, and you guys vote for which choice you want to see the plot continue with. The next day we advance to the winning chapter and vote for the next plot choice. And so on and so forth, until we reach a dead end, which is where I will pick things up and continue.
First poll is here: "BoM: The Fake Book" . Further rules, describing voting procedures and how to give your vote extra heft with GPs, are described there.
EDIT: To answer a question in the comments, it doesn't matter if the choices lead to chapters I wrote or which other people wrote—all will be available as choices to vote for. The idea is to find a place that the voters want to go.
* * *
Meanwhile, I have to thank thatdude and an anonymous benefactor for dropping way too many GPs on me yesterday, and for the generous words they appended to the gifts. It's been a long time since I've thanked the people who have sent in small tips as well, but I know I have to thank Easy as well for the small but consistent donations he has passed along to me. They really do lift the spirits!
|New chapters are up! I've decided to pick up one of the places we left Will and his girlfriend Sydney. They have decided to create their own Brotherhood of Baphomet by hijacking the bodies of some of their classmates and turning them into magical robots that they can inhabit. In the branch I've picked to continue, Will (who is being persecuted over his romance with Sydney) decides that the school's "Caveman Club" would have the kind of beefy guys he wants control of.
If you are reading the interactive, start with "Clubbing a Caveman" , which is a short one, and proceed on to "Rhapsody in Brown" .
If you're reading the public chapters, you'll have to pick up the story a little sooner with "Group Activities" , where Will acquires some new troubles. That will lead in to "Any Club That Would Have You as a Member" , which combines several short chapters into one, before fetching up in "Rhapsody in Brown" .
This is a branch I had started a couple of months ago, but it died in the bud with "Rhapsody in Brown," and I'll have to hustle a little to stay ahead of you. At the moment, I have only 2/3 of the sequel chapter written.
EDIT: And now I've got the chapters for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday written. Three cheers and a tiger for me, if I do say so myself.
|Well, the results of yesterday's poll kind of surprised me: You voted to move the sophomores up to the senior level. But in thinking about it, I can see it leading to some fun stuff, so I'm very happy to respect the results.
But it means no more polling.
Meanwhile, today's chapters—"Twenty-Five Places to Hide" (public) + "Twenty-Five Places to Hide" (interactive)—bring us to the end of the current branch. I would have posted another chapter in the line if we had continued polling down through yesterday's chapter, but I guess I'll have to poll you some other time on which direction you'd want things to go from here.
Do you get a chapter tomorrow? One way or another you will. I just have to figure out which branch I want to pick up.
|I am supposedly working on a non-BoM project, but I am still working on BoM in odd moments because I would like to have a backlog of chapters in place when I resume it in December.
The current storyline is one I want to continue, but I'd like to give the readers a say in where it goes. Besides, it's fun taking polls—I like knowing what you want.
So let's have some polls to see what you'd prefer to see in this branch.
I'm going to give us a running start, though. The first poll doesn't have to do with the choices at the end of today's chapter, but with the choices at an earlier chapter. We'll then move down the branch until we reach the terminal point.
The first poll is for "The Popular Kids" : Will is disguised as Lindsay, and he has just learned that Andy Jensen, who is disguised as Andrew Webb, want to date Lindsay. Does Will go along with this, or does he look for another option?
There are two ways of casting a vote:
Free poll: To vote in this poll, go here—[Poll completed and deleted]
GP poll: To give your choice more weight, click on one of the chapters below send me a tip through the form at the bottom of the chapter.
* Start dating Andrew: [Voting choice deleted per completion of poll]
* Find another option: "The Complicated Love Life of Lindsay Cho"
In the final vote tally, each vote in the Free Poll will be worth 1/2 the average of the GPs contributed during the round. GPs voted for losing choices will be refunded in full to those who voted. GPs voted for the winning choice will be divided among those who voted for losing choices, in proportion to their share of GPs voted for losing choices.
In other words, if you vote GPs for a losing choice, you will get your GPs back and will likely collect a dividend proportional to the size of your GP vote. If you vote for the winning choice, your GPs will count as a kind of commission payment for seeing that storyline continued.
The poll closes at 3:00 PM (EDT) on Wednesday.
|So, the story resumes elsewhere: "The Homework Party" (public) + "The Homework Party" (interactive). Yesterday's entry gives the backstory.
Oh, and I'm sorry if I quickened interest yesterday with another new chapter, only to disappoint y'all with the news that Saratoga Falls has acquired some new neighbors. I tried folding those details into the "Settings" chapter, but it was already full so I had to make a new one.
|Today's chapter -- "Anne and the Air Head" (public) + "Anne and the Air Head" (interactive) -- brings that thread to a conclusion for now. Tomorrow I jump over to a very different place: a sequel to "The Complicated Love Life of Lindsay Cho" (public). Background:
Will and Caleb are entangled with a bunch of sophomores, and have been working to give those boys some new identities while taking new identities of their own. (This has been after a number of recently concluded adventures.) Will has been worried that one of the boys' friends, Lindsay Cho, will discover the body swapping, and in order to keep Lindsay under control has secretly swapped lives with her. But Lindsay's friends have also decided to keep close tabs on her, and have hit on the plan of having one of their disguised friends try to become Lindsay's boyfriend. Will has been fighting off their attentions while working with Caleb (also hidden in the sophomore class with him). But Will has had just about enough, and has been casting about for some way of handling it.
EDIT: Meanwhile, I have still been writing BoM chapters. I think I'll wait till Monday to make a fresh start on the project.
|So I sat down yesterday to write chapter three of the new book, and realized in short order that:
1. While writing the first two chapters I had invented more than was on the page.
2. What I had invented but not written would be necessary for the two chapters that were to follow.
So I realized I was going to have to revise those first two chapters, and maybe even throw them out and start over. And after I realized that I realized I was probably going to have to do this multiple times with the first few chapters of the book. Because I am literally making everything up as I go along, and so am apt to create stuff that will be needed in the chapters that are already written.
This is probably another reason not to post chapters until I've got things well under way.
So I didn't write a new chapter yesterday, I just daydreamed out the sort of stuff that I'm likely to need.
Then I wrote another chapter for BoM.
|So in my last entry I said I would be publishing chapters of the new project. I've got two of them written, but I'm going to wait until I've got a week's worth before I start publishing. That's to give me a little bit of a buffer in case I change directions early on in the project.
I'm not totally writing into the dark with this one. I've an idea for what it's about, where it's going to go, what sort of obstacles the characters are going to meet, and how it's going to resolve. I've even got a pretty good idea about how long it's going to be. (I haven't set a word count target, but I get the impression it's going to be about 75K words, which is about 45 BoM chapters.) Now it's just a matter of making up the stuff to go inside that shell.
|So, today is October 1. I'm supposed to be done with BoM.
But thanks to that publishing hiatus I took at the start of the September, I've got a backlog of chapters still to post. Also, I feel like I owe you guys thirty chapters minimum. So even though I'm still short that number, I'm going to continue writing BoM chapters into early October until I get to thirty. One way or another, I'll give you the month's worth of chapters that I more-or-less promised.
I've got a non-BoM project I want to work on, though. Not the Spider-Man thing, though I do intend to return to it eventually. A novel. And just as I wrote the Spider-Man thing in public, I'm going to write this one in public too. I'm going to start writing it today, and I'll post the first chapter tomorrow.
What is it? I'm not going to say. I'm just going to post it and see if people get interested.
|An early post today (because I had time) and a late post yesterday means there's a bit of an overlap.
New storyline starts here: "Double Dealing and Double Dates" (public) + "Double Dealing and Double Dates" (interactive)
Last storyline ends here: "Party Favors" (public) + "Party Favors" (interactive)
The new one is going to be on the short side, running for about a week.
|Oops. I forgot to post a chapter yesterday and I nearly forgot to post a chapter today. But here it is, late: "Party Favors" (public) + "Party Favors" (interactive).
And that's it for that storyline. Tomorrow I shift over to another storyline, a sequel to "Teases for Two" . That's a closely related chapter to the storyline I just got through with. Background:
Will is working with Keith, Philip Fairfax, and the others, after discovering that they've been trying to improve his reputation. He has taken on the guise of Jenny Ashton in order to help them with that project, but he has also talked them into launching a second project: Switching Yumi Saito and Chelsea Cooper without the two girls realizing what is going on. Will has his own private agenda, though: He wants to arrange it so that Chelsea (inside Yumi's mask) starts going out with his beta. As the sequel opens, Will has to get Yumi into a place where the switch can be made without screwing up the date that he has arranged for Yumi and his beta.
|Okay, so, I really and for true did not intend to vanish for a couple of weeks. But I hope I'm back now.
It wasn't anything big that caused that unexpected hiatus. It's just that my schedule has changed recently, and that threw posting schedules and writing times out of whack, with the result that I fell behind in my writing schedule. After a week of struggling to catch up, I decided to sit things out until I had finished a storyline, that way there wouldn't be any more day to day hiccups. But it took longer for me to get a batch of chapters written than I thought it would.
But I do have a backlog now, so there shouldn't be any interruptions going forward. I am also going to give you guys thirty chapters at a minimum, publishing into October, even if I have to spend the first week or so of October getting them written.
So, here's the resumption of the story that I was working on: "Frenemies in High Places" (interactive) + "Frenemies in High Places" (interactive). It's for a commission, and I've written all the chapters owed in that commission, and that will run through the 28th. After that I will be publishing another short commission (also completed) of six chapters that will take us into early October.
|So, here it is: "What Goes Up Should Come Down" (public) + "What Goes Up Should Come Down" (interactive). It's the first chapter in what should turn an arc that was commissioned from me.
I'd say more, but I'm only one chapter ahead, composition-wise, and I need to get to work writing more.
|So, here are the revisions that I talked about yesterday: "Happy Birthday to the New You" (public) + "Happy Birthday to the New You" (interactive) and the chapters that follow. The big changes are in the linked chapter and the one immediately following, but there are some tweaks even unto all the sequels thereafter.
Tomorrow I return with brand-new chapters of BoM, in that general area. The background:
Will has been roped into the group of guys (the AV Club, basically) who wound up with the Libra. They have been using some cheerleading identities to improve his popularity and social standing, and he has joined them by adopting the identity of Jenny Ashton. But they are now interested in adopting a second set of spare identities and in using them for a new sociology experiment. What will that experiment be? Tune in to find out ...
|I'll be back onto "Book of Masks" come Sunday—and I see that rugal has something new going as well—with a new BoM chapter, which I wrote yesterday.
But tomorrow I'll anticipate things with a revision to some previously published chapters. I was reading the chapters that presage the storyline I'll be writing, and I decided to break one of them in half and expand it into two chapters. So I'll be posting that revision and republishing the sequel chapters. That will also help give readers a running start on the place I'll be resuming.
I also wrote a "Spider-Man" treatment yesterday. I might be able to get one more treatment scribbled out before the month ends, for whatever that is worth, but I'm not going to publish any more until such time as I resume that project.
|September is one of my designated months for writing BoM chapters, so if you're following me for those chapters—and I'm not sure why else you would be frequenting something called "The Book of Masks Homepage"—here's a reminder that I'll be back to doing that in a few days. I hope to hit the ground running with chapters that were commissioned from me.
|So it's been awhile since I've checked in. Usually when I check out it means that I've been goofing off, but really, I have been working on my Spider-Man project. I just haven't had anything to report because it's been slow and rough.
I've said it before, and recently: I am not an outliner by nature. For me, outlining is hard. Outlining is hellish. It was all I could do to outline 20-minute standalone episode ideas that used material from the actual animated series.
But I didn't know what Outline Hell was until I hit the seven-episode arc I had planned for this alternate series, and it was an arc using mostly new material.
My God, it has been like trench warfare, and it has taken me the equivalent of four or five days' work on each of those episode ideas to get them written, and in the middle of the work cycle I had to tear it all apart and rearrange episode ideas in order to get the plot to progress properly.
And the rough stuff isn't over yet. I've got another three-part, mostly original episode idea looming before I finish the first season, and the second season includes another seven-episode arc, four episodes of which will be mostly new material. And that's just to get me to the point where I can start thinking about my own "Superior Spider-Man" idea.
So there is no way that I'm going to meet my original goal of getting that written before the actual Superior Spider-Man arc debuts on Disney XD. Oh well.
Still, I'm not giving up on it. I'm going to do what I can before August ends, then turn to BoM in September. After that we'll just have to see.
In the meantime I had stopped publishing new episode treatments because I didn't want to run into the stuff I was working on. I can already tell that some of my written-but-unpublished treatments are going to have to be revised in light of changes to my plan for the rest of the season. That means I'm going to have to wait until I've written episode 25 (I'm currently finishing up episode 20) before I do those revisions and can start publishing again.
But I have the impression that very few people are waiting with bated breath for my Spider-Man treatments.
A little housekeeping: The author of the most recent BoM chapter emailed me yesterday to request that I delete that chapter so he can revise and repost it. Done and done.
|No "Spider-Man" update today. I do have treatments, but this is the day I would have published "Mark of the Jackal" if I hadn't published it early.
I have updated the terms of my "Commission Contract" . Yes, I've raised my rates considerably, because the WdC gift points just aren't worth that much to me. On the other hand, I've also added a condition that allows you to pay me with an Amazon Gift Card instead, and my Amazon rate is much less than my WdC rate, though it is still a little higher than what I had been charging in WdC currency.