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!
3/1: Interactive: "Spencer's Gift"
3/1: Public: "Spencer's Gift"
|Originally, today's chapter—
Interactive: "Another Story From Cindy"
Public: "Another Story From Cindy"
—was going to be a break-off point. It's the end of the set up for a commission, and the commission itself was going to start in Chapter 11. But in writing ahead, I've lapped myself, and am almost finished writing the commission. So I'm going to continue publishing this branch all the way through. There will be another 7 or 8 chapters to come, starting tomorrow.
Interactive: "A Trap of One's Own Making"
Public: "A Trap of One's Own Making"
—is Chapter 15 in a 25-chapter commission. I didn't want to impose a 25-chapter run on readers (or upon myself, for that matter) which is what led me to split it up and deal it out between 5- to 8-chapter runs from other storylines. There are ten more chapters to come in this branch, but we've got some other business to do first.
Tomorrow starts another commission. Like a lot of recent work, it is a sequel to "The Hot Potato" , but it has a different thrust and development, so I'm using it as one of the palate-cleansers between the other commissions.
Will has taken that strange book to school, with an eye toward offloading it into the class time capsule. But other possibilities are beginning to occur to him—or, at least, other people are suggesting their own ideas for what he could do with the book.
|I had a 24-hour stomach bug yesterday. That's how come you didn't get a chapter.
Right, yes, it's not like it takes a lot of work to publish a chapter. But I felt like crap in the morning, when I usually publish, and just decided to skip a day. Besides, I wasn't doing any writing, so I decided to make a complete holiday of it.
But we're back on track now. Today's chapter—
Interactive: "A Meeting of Minds"
Public: "A Meeting of Minds"
—ends things on a cliffhanger. I'd say that I definitely want to come back to this one, but I usually feel that way about most of the branches that I suspend work on.
One of the reasons I did a delete-and-replace here was because I saw an opportunity to attach some more recent inventions from the interactive to early chapters that have lain dusty and ignored. That is something that I will be keeping an eye out for as I continue to mow through the early chapters of BoM—a chance to link up early lore to more recent invention.
As for what's coming tomorrow: I'm swinging back around to the first of the three commissions that I've been working on, with a sequel to "Feminine Wiles and Feminine Denials" . Will has lost track of the grimoire—last seen vanishing into the school's drama department—but he's made up for it (maybe) by becoming acquainted with a number of girls who seem to be interested in him: Elle Moore, Laura MacGregor, and Leah Simmons. Alas, there is more drama than one would like even in a drama department, for both Elle and Laura are now denying that they've been hanging out with Will nearly as much as he says they've been hanging out with him ...
|From a commission—
Interactive: "Room Services"
Public: "Room Services"
—to another palate-cleanser.
As I've said, I've been going through old chapters to clean up the continuity, and where I have deleted chapters or branches (because of continuity issues, or because I plain don't like them), I have been trying to write short replacement branches, so that the clean-up is not merely subtractive. That's why for "palate-cleansers" you've gotten short runs starting with "An Army of One" and "Picking a Brain the Old-Fashioned Way" .
Tomorrow's 5-chapter run is similar, harking back to a branch that was first written many years ago. It begins as a sequel to today's extra Archives chapter, "The Buzzin' Cousin"
Will and Caleb have been making masks, and have succeeded in copying Eva Garner and Jeremy Richards into a pair of them. (They also have a copy of Lisa Yarborough's mind laying around, but they are loathe to do anything with it.) They have also just finished making a golem. But they need money to continue, so at Caleb's suggestion they have shown the masks and book to Caleb's college-age cousin, Dylan. Dylan likes the stuff, and wants to buy the golem and some masks from Will and Caleb ...
Much of the first two of the coming chapters may feel familiar, as they reuse and repurpose material from chapters I deleted, before it twists off into a new direction.
|Here's something extra for readers of the Archives: "Dirty Omens" , the first of three maybe-new-to-them chapters. Background: Will and Caleb have been playing around with the Libra, and after making a copy of Jeremy Richards they have scored a copy of Eva Garner. What kind of fun can they have with a mask of her?
I'm adding these chapters to the Archive because when I finish publishing the current run of chapters I will be switching to a run of chapters in this other area. So I need to add some chapters to the Archive in order to connect chapters that are already there with chapters that will be coming.
|There seems to be some confusion still about the revisions I'm making to Book of Masks—the whys and the hows—and also about what exactly the "The Non-Canonical Book of Masks" [NC-BoM] is supposed to be. This is surely my own fault. So, let me try explaining it again.
When I started writing Book of Masks all those years ago, there was very little lore. I knew the structure of the book, and the contents of the first seven spells. But I had no theory of magic. I had no setting (except the name of the town and the schools and the bookstore), and I only knew the names and stereotypes of half a dozen characters. And though I tried to keep various branches in continuity with each other, each branch tended to develop on its own.
Eventually I began constructing notes for myself. Character sketches, class schedules, a worked-out magical theory, even a map of the city. The lore developed. Some early ideas were dropped and some later ones expanded.
But as things developed, two large fractures opened up in the continuity.
The first fracture opened after I started keeping outlines of each branch, detailing when events happened, so that I could keep track of the same events across different branches. Storylines written after I started making outlines are kept in a close continuity. Storylines written before that are probably all kinds of screwy in terms of when things happen.
The second fracture separated an important change in mask lore. In early chapters it was assumed that anyone who put on a mask would get the memories instantly. Later, I adopted a suggestion that only Will should be able to get instant memories, and that other people would get them very slowly. This marks a huge difference between the kinds of plots that developed before the change, and the kind of plots that developed after.
One consequence is that I never return to branches written on the early side of either of these divides. I like having strong continuities, and I don't want to write sequel chapters that align with early chapters but contradict developed lore, or sequel chapters that contradict early chapters because they align with later lore. This means there are a lot of storylines that I don't really have a chance to return to.
So I am going back through the interactive and trying to close up those gaps. Where I can heal the contradictions by rewriting chapters, then that is what I am doing. But where a chapter revision will not work because the contradictions run so deep, I am copying the original chapters to the NC-BoM and deleting them from BoM. That way the original chapters are not lost, but the contradictions disappear from the revised version.
And, I confess, I am also getting rid of some branches that I just don't like anymore.
So I am only excising two kinds of branches: Those that contain technical "errors" (errors, that is, from the standpoint of latter-day lore) and those that I just don't like. This is NOT an attempt to establish a "canonical" storyline. It is only meant to segregate chapters that, for technical reasons or reasons of personal taste, are now problematic.
Also: I am, to the best of my abilities, only doing this for branches that I have written. I am NOT checking/reviewing or removing chapters written by other authors, even if they contain contradictions. [**] This may change in the future, when I get into branches that contain lots of sub-branches by other authors. But those decisions and negotiations will be made when I get to them.
So, if you think you've got a pretty good handle on how the lore currently works, please do continue to add to BoM, and if you're not sure about something, email me to ask. What I'm doing is localized and very specific housecleaning, not changing the rules.
Also, if you want to add chapters to NC-BoM, please do so. It is not intended to be a special, read-only archive.
[**] Okay, yes, with one exception. I cut out the "vore" branch. That one was REALLY out of place, and it is ancient.
|The brief branch that concludes today with—
Interactive: "The Cheerleader Proxy"
Public: "The Cheerleader Proxy"
—was a palate cleanser. Now it's on to the third commission I've been working on over the last few weeks.
Like the other two, it's a sequel to "The Hot Potato" , in which Will has taken the grimoire to school, intending to dump it into the class time capsule. But instead of selling it to Jack Li (as he did in the other two commissions), "A Clash of Values" has Will stumbling onto three guys who have a better idea for what he should put into the time capsule ...