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!
9/19 Interactive: "The Actors' Studio"
9/19 Public: "The Actors' Studio"
|For personal reason I don't feel like getting into, I'm going to have to take a break from publishing.
I don't think it will be for very long. But there are various things going on which have had the combined effect of destroying my writing hours, which has left me unable to concentrate enough to write new chapters. I've been working my way through my backlog over the last week, but I've now run out of chapters and so have nothing more to post.
The stuff going on isn't life-threatening or -changing. As I say, it's just deranged my working hours. I might be able to continue writing in snatches here and there, but I just can't make any promises. I will continue to be around here -- there nothing to interfere with popping in and out online -- so I won't be gone.
To people who have written in with commission ideas: I'm not ignoring you. To some of the pitches I am giving serious thought. It's getting stuff down that is the challenge.
|As I said yesterday, today's chapter—
Interactive: "Before the Rehearsal"
Public: "Before the Rehearsal"
—is supposed to open up an avenue to Hollywood. Masktrix already went there in the nearby "Beverly Hills Cult" , and that's great. But I had already introduced Paul Griffin in "Five Final Chances" , so I thought I'd bring him back here as another route to the same place.
Interactive: "Who's Who at Westside High"
Entry: "Who's Who at Westside High"
—wraps up the commission I was working on, which I had a lot of fun imagining and writing.
Next up, a continuation of "Group Activities" , which is one of those branching points where Will and Sydney have decided to form a Brotherhood of Baphomet and are choosing identities to steal and enslave in order to set it up. This one continues through a few chapters written by Masktrix—"Thinking Big" + "Masks Need Moms" + "Calling an Audible" —which I've now added to the Archives so that non-WdC members can easily access them. Tomorrow I will post the first of five chapters in my continuation.
To foreshadow, this is the short branch I referred to in the forum post "BoM and Real-World References" Masktrix already sent Will and Sydney out to Hollywood, but there is another path that they could take, and I wrote this little line in order to set it up.
|My current branch is being written for a commission, and the commission itself starts in earnest today after a few chapters of set up. And it's a followup to a situation that was itself a commission.
... And it's interesting because I think (though I'd have to dig through my files to confirm) that this second commission is from a different person than who commissioned the first. So I don't think the person who asked for this plot twist even knows what is going on.
Which makes me wonder: "Clover Mystery"
|In addition to today's chapters—links above—I have a new poll up:
[Poll completed and deleted.]
As the poll says:
""Focus Pocus" : Will has been experimenting with the magical grimoire he got at the used bookstore, and he has met a girl, Sydney McGlynn, with a similar interest in the occult. Will isn't sure, but he thinks there might be a budding romance between him and her. Before he can act on it, though, he and Sydney while tracing a ley line have run into a mysterious character who claims to be a refugee from Lemuria. This character—he calls himself "Dee"—offers to partner with them, lending them help with what they need in return for helping him with what he needs.
"Sydney seems ambivalent. What is Will's choice?"
Yeah, that's an area I want to explore, but I'll let you guys pick how it gets explored.
In addition to the free poll above, you can also vote with GPs by using the tip form at the bottom of the chapter you want to vote to get a sequel.
Voting closes at noon on Friday.
|I have thoughts on the world of BoM and what happens when a character like Will Prescott takes an identity-theft machine to a real-world location like Hollywood. I could post those thoughts here, but I post them instead in the forum, to encourage discussion: "BoM and Real-World References"
Interactive: "Life Among the Fakes"
Public: "Life Among the Fakes"
—is the last in the short branch I started on Sept. 2. I'll admit not much has happened. I just saw a chance to set up an interesting situation -- Will hiding as a beta in the midst of the YouTube gang -- ending in a strong temptation. But I'm not going to develop that temptation right now.
Instead, I'm going to fulfill a short commission picking up where "Laura Comes Clean" left off.
Will has found himself persecuted by "Clover Mystery," a mischievous internet presence, and has been baited and confused by some girls in the theater program. Things came to a head when Chelsea Cooper, of all people, tried coming on to him during a secret meeting in the school portables. The aftermath was even more outrageous: Will finds himself soul-swapped (or something!) with Jack Li. He and Jack have been trying to get through the first night and next morning after waking up in each other's bodies. But now they are primed to have a confrontation with Chelsea Cooper, to find out how and why she swapped them around, and to get her to put them back ...
|The change of month seems like a good time to switch stories, so today's chapters—
Interactive: "Favors and Friendships"
Public: "Favors and Friendships"
—will suspend that branch.
For my next trick, I'm going to leap over "The Search for Something Instead of Nothing" . Will lost that weird book in found in a scrum with some bullies. He hasn't given much thought to it since, being distracted by this and that. His friend Keith has been making YouTube videos with some other guys, for instance, and Will has had a few run-ins with Stephanie Wyatt. This stuff has got him thinking that his life is very boring, and he decides he wants to get out more and meet girls.
As the next chapter opens, he runs into Eva Garner, who is on her way out to the studio where Keith and his friends make those videos. If he followed her out, it would give him a chance to find out something about party spots, and maybe hang out with Eva (a cheerleader) if she does something with Keith and those other guys ...
This is my way of fulfilling a poll that was run some time ago. This isn't exactly where the poll said to continue, but it's in the same general area.
|Never watch a video like one of Red Letter Media's Best of the Worst at the start of a day when you plan to do any writing. It will completely destroy your self-confidence. Not only will you not do any writing, you will be sorely tempted to burn or delete everything you ever wrote out of the fearful shame that your stuff is just as bad.
|I've been falling behind in posting my thanks to the various correspondents who have sent me WdC Gift Points over the past few weeks. So I want to publicly thank:
* Easy, forthefunofit, and Achillesredux, who really liked it when Will and Sydney turned themselves into a couple of teachers, and who I hope will also enjoy the sequel.
* Sonicmetroid, who has been plowing through "The Book of Masks" and "The Wandering Stars" and has been liking chapters in lots of different branches.
* Ann Man, who liked the answer to a question he asked me.
* And Mastrix, who wanted to remind me that there was a chance in an upcoming chapter for Shelly Nolan to get name-checked.
But most of all, I want to thank the anonymous benefactor who renewed my Upgraded Membership for another year. That membership is a big reason I am able to continue writing and posting chapters to "The Book of Masks," and I am very grateful for support that benefactor has been giving me.
Interactive: "Grading the Teachers"
Public: "Grading the Teachers"
—suspends that branch for a bit. I do have plans to return to it. Well, for the moment I do.
Tomorrow I'll return to the branch I was working on before that, with "Breaking Bodies" . That, if you recall, had Will and Sydney working together to make a Brotherhood of Baphomet. They had hijacked the bodies of two attractive teachers and were going to use them to make golems of some of the students in the lower grades.
That was also the start of a run of chapters where you guys played "Blind Plinko" with the choices. Without knowing what you were voting for, you voted for "Start with the juniors" so that's the chapter that will appear tomorrow.
|I had appointments and other whatnot to deal with yesterday, and all in all it wound up just being easier to skip publication -- it also meant I didn't fall any further behind on my writing.
But here's today's chapters, which should have appeared yesterday:
Interactive: "Girls Galore"
Public: "Girls Galore"
Interactive: "Breaking Bodies"
Public: "Breaking Bodies"
—brings this branch to a temporary halt. I'll be coming back here soon, though. You might recognize the choices that end today's chapters as choices that showed up at the start of a Blind Poll. When I come back, it will be publish the chapters that you blindly voted for.
In the meantime, I want to step away to publish a short branch that you voted for in one of the Plot Plinko rounds. It begins here: "The Many Faces of Crime, Part 2"
Will has returned from Oregon, where he had to bring back a sophomore girl who had gotten trapped under a mask of Dane Matthias. The Libra in the meantime has fallen into the control of a group of sophomores that Will and his friend Caleb have more or less befriended. There is some talk of hijacking new identities, but Will is more interested in retaining control of the crime empire he has accidentally acquired in the course of figuring out how to get Evie Cummings back from her exile. As part of his plan, he has turned several key figures into golems under his control: Erik Carstairs, the student football player who runs the Warehouse, and Gary Chen, the chief distributor of drugs inside Westside, as well as Karol Mathis, the restauranteur/gangster. Will has gone back to hiding inside the mask of Dane Matthias, but he is giving serious thought to hijacking another identity, an innocent face from behind which he can run the gang.
|Interactive: "Mentors! The Freshmakers!"
Public: "The Enlightened Ones"
I was going to start publishing this branch last Monday, but I was having a hard time writing anything new, so I decided to take a week off to recharge. Anyhow, I'm now starting a short branch. Links are above. The public page is actually a two-fer. It includes both "Mentos! The Freshmaker!" and "The Enlightened Ones," which is the very short chapter that sets it up.
Background: This is a Will-and-Sydney branch. They've decided to set up a Brotherhood of Baphomet inside Westside, and are trying to decide what kind of people they should recruit into it. Since the Brotherhood is a kind of club, they've decided to convert a school club (or part of one) from within.
|I've been kind ... lazy ... about updating polls, so they've been running for 48 hours instead of 24. They've been picking up more votes in the second day than I would have anticipated. So I think I'll be doing 48-hour polls from here on out.
Not that there's going to be that many. Today's poll is in the nature of an extra.
So, you guys voted for Will to become a teacher who secretly runs a crime ring inside Westside High! There's a lot of possibilities, too many for me to include them all in a 5-person, end-of-the-chapter choice set, so to help narrow it down I'll run another poll. It's going to be a blind poll, though, because the chapter isn't written.
Will has three aliases under his control: Dane Matthias, Erik Carstairs, and Gary Chen. He can assume the identity of one of the teachers in a class one of these golems is taking, so there is a plausible connection between him and them. Or he can assume the identity of some other teacher, one who has key advantages other than having a connection to his golems. Which strategy should he use? Vote here: [Poll completed and deleted.]
|I didn't intend to leave yesterday's poll up for 48 hours, but that's what happened. Yesterday, the choice "That's not your style" was winning, but as of this morning the other choice had taken a one-vote lead. So that's the one I'm going with: [Poll completed and deleted.]