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!
3/2: Interactive: "Old Clothes for New Looks"
3/2: Public: "Old Clothes for New Looks"
Interactive: "Drama in the Drama Department"
Public: "Drama in the Drama Department"
—ends on a familiar sort of cliffhanger, and it ends what is technically only the set up for a new commission. But I'm going to break away here for awhile and return later to wrap up the commission itself.
In the meantime, here's another palate cleanser!
It starts with "Joey and You and You" . Will has been experimenting with the grimoire, but he has been looking for help. He found it (to start with) with Jenny Ashton, who then introduced Will to a home-schooled friend of hers named Joey Tartaglione. (Joey, despite her name, is a girl.) Jenny got freaked out by the book and quit even before she learned the basics of what you could do with it, but Joey is fascinated by it ... and she might equally be fascinated by Will. At any rate, after making a mask of him, she has put it on. So that when Will went over to her house, it was his twin who answered the knock ...
* * *
Meanwhile, I've decided to get back into updating my writing blog over on Tumblr . I fell out of the habit of updating over there, and even out of the habit of doing the stuff that I used to post about. You won't find me talking about Book of Masks over there, except in a veiled way, but you will be able to gauge how active I've been at writing BoM stuff, and what I'm reading and watching.
Interactive: "Of Experiments and Test Subjects"
Public: "Of Experiments and Test Subjects"
—concludes a short, 5-chapter run. Yeah, there wasn't a lot there (though I hope what was there was fun), but it was always intended as a palate-cleanser.
That's because the three commissions I am currently working on all have very similar storylines, employ an overlapping cast of characters, and all take place in the same general area of the interactive (the chapters following "The Hot Potato" ). Given these similarities, I think it would be a little confusing if I jumped from one commission straight into another, so my plan is to publish these little palate-cleansers in between the commissions. These won't run more than five chapters at a time, though I hope they'll be entertaining as they extend some other storylines a little further.
So tomorrow it will be back into "Hot Potato" territory and some characters who were lately familiar, but with an alternate take. "Other People's Projects" opens with Will selling the grimoire to Jack Li, and it ends with Will's father asking him to try getting it back. But Will's going to make a different choice tomorrow, leading to different complications ...
Interactive: "Feminine Wiles and Feminine Denials"
Public: "Feminine Wiles and Feminine Denials"
—brings this commissioned branch to a temporary resting point. It's not quite a resting point, but the weirdness should be ramping up a little bit.
It's going to have rest there for a couple of weeks as I take a break to publish some other things. I will be returning to this general area and cast of characters in a week or so with a different storyline for a different commission, but before that we're going to be hearing more from Jamie Rennerhoff as I pick back up with a sequel to "Do As I Do" . The story so far:
Will, quite accidentally, has partnered with Jamie Rennerhoff, one of the hyenas who hangs out behind the school. Jamie is not nearly as bad as Will has imagined, but he has surprised Will with some of the things he likes to do with masks, such as getting Will to wear a copy of his (Jamie's) mother. He also has a thing for MILFs, and as this chapter opens, Jamie is repaying a major favor Will did for him by meeting Will at a motel. Jamie will be wearing the mask of one of his favorite MILFs, and has asked Will to wear a mask of himself (Jamie) ...
* * *
In the meantime I have some overdue thanks to give people, not just the guy who commissioned this branch (and paid for it early) but those who have been sending me gift points as it has run: Easy, DarkKing, and the-knight-croisant (whose GPs were actually for a different chapter, but technically arrived while this one was running.)
|... to update the current storyline after posting 5 "classic" chapters in the Archives. Right after I posted those, my ISP decided that actually I didn't need the internet for most of the day.
That might have influenced my choice of chapter title to give today's entry ...
Anyway, today's chapter is up:
Interactive: "A Game You Can't Win"
Public: "A Game You Can't Win"
|Today's chapter—"The World, Your Cafeteria" ; interactive only, until the archives catch up—finishes a short five-chapter run. You can probably now guess why I wrote it.
I chopped a huge number of chapters off that branch because they were out of continuity with the most recent developments in the interactive. In parallel branches the Durrases had moved to Westside, and the original branch didn't take account of the investigation that they would be sure to launch. And it would be very easy for Frank and Joe, with the latter's truth-telling technique, to track Will down. They would talk to Gordon (who is really Dane), who would send them to Dane (who is really Chelsea) who would send them to Chelsea (who is really Chen), who would send them to Will. It would only take them a few days to roll up Will's operation, ending the story.
So these five chapters were designed to close off their investigatory path. Will has discovered the "golem" paste just in time, and I used these chapters to seal up some key people so that Joe's truth-technique, which doesn't work on golems, wouldn't lead them to Will. They can still interview Chelsea (as Dane) but that would only lead them back to the fake-Chelsea, who would be a dead end. They are now stymied, even if Will never realizes that they were a threat, so that this branch still retains possibilities.
I had two other purposes in mind in writing the branch.
The first was to set up possible schemes for Will to execute. The deleted chapters, I felt, had wandered around without direction. Today's chapter explicitly sets up some possible goals and therefore storylines. But it also sets up a continuation of the simple drug trade storyline, so that, with some editing, it might eventually be possible to return most of the deleted chapters to this continuity.
The second purpose was to put Frank and Joe onto Will's radar as potential impersonations. That's always a fun possibility.
* * *
Tomorrow I return to the branch I was working in before, for a nine-chapter run. It got suspended here:
Interactive: "Why You Should Never Dig Up Your Mistakes"
Public: "Why You Should Never Dig Up Your Mistakes"
Will has lost the grimoire, but he's made some new friends. But the current crisis is that he was caught on video helping Caleb dig up the class time capsule, and an anonymous person is taunting him about it.
|Yada yada yada, new chapter is up: "The Pleasant Phucker"
In the last blog entry, I said I wouldn't be adding this run to the Archives, because it's mostly a housecleaning exercise, and I would have to add 40+ chapters in order to reach it. Aside from the labor of adding 40 chapters (which involves no heavy lifting but is pretty tedious), I preferred to save the storage space for new and upcoming chapters.
But it turns out that I have a LOT more storage space in the Archives than I thought I had, and since the Chen branch is a pretty major one, I've decided to add it. I won't be posting it all at once, but at a rate of five chapters a day. This way, besides parceling out my efforts, I give Archive readers a daily 5-chapter chunk of possibly new material spaced out over the course of a week.
Today's dose starts here: "Change for a Chen"
The story so far? Will and Caleb have been messing around with the grimoire, and thanks to bad improvisation, they have trapped Will in Dane Matthias's body, Dane inside Gordon Black's body, and Gordon inside Will's body. (None of these disguises come with memories, by the way.) Will, as Dane, is now in serious trouble with the drug-dealing Gary Chen, who has been given permission to hurt Will to any degree short of outright killing him.
But Caleb, in cracking the next spell in the book, seems to have found a solution: a dingus that can copy memories. With such a dingus, Will can move into another body (one with memories) and hide from Gary Chen.
And where better to hide from Gary Chen than as Gary Chen himself?
Interactive: "Why You Should Never Dig Up Your Mistakes"
Public: "Why You Should Never Dig Up Your Mistakes"
—brings a temporary halt to this branch. It also brings a slight change in my publishing plans. So if you've commissioned a storyline from me, and I gave you a schedule in a recent email, well, consider this a public update.
The chapters I've published so far have been intended to set up two separate commissions which happen to take place in the same general area. Both of them are pretty extensive, and I'm leery about publishing two long commissions, dealing with similar situations, back to back. I think people get a little wearied of it. So I'm going to be mixing things up.
So now, having completed the set-up for the commissions, I will be haring off into quite a different patch of ground for ~5 chapters. After that, I will return to this branch with a 9-chapter sequel to today's chapter. That will take the first commission to the halfway point.
After that I will take another break for a 5-7 chapter run in some other part of the interactive (exactly where, I've not decided yet) and then I will turn to the second commission. Only after I've published the second commission and also done an unrelated and distant run of chapters will I return to finish the first commission. This way, I hope, readers will get some variety instead of a block of ~40 chapters of two stories that are rather similar to each other.
* * *
Okay, so, where will tomorrow's brief storyline commence? It begins with "Too Many Dumbasses" . The background?
Will's life is a mess. Thanks to a series of unfortunate improvisations, he is now impersonating Gary Chen, a drug-dealing lowlife at Westside High. Who else is an imposter? Well, Chelsea Cooper is now having to impersonate the drug-addled Dane Matthias; Dane is inhabiting Gordon Black's body; and Gordon is pretending to be Will. (None of these people know how the body-switch occurred, and none of them have the memories of the people they are impersonating.) Meanwhile, the real Gary Chen, who figured out what was going on, has blackmailed Will into putting him into the body of Chelsea Cooper. And, thanks to upheavals on the basketball squad, which have threatened to undermine Chelsea's social position, Will has had to swap his friend Caleb into Seth Javits's body (putting Javits into a memory-less copy of Caleb's body) so that the fake Chelsea can have the socially prominent Seth as a boyfriend.
This summary doesn't even touch on the drug ring that Will has been forced to run, or on the other body swaps (Tanner Evans <-> Eastman's Chris Trantham; George Mendoza <-> football junior Kevin Hall; Joe Thomason <-> swimmer Andrea Varnsworth) that Will has had to make in order to ramp up his sales under pressure from Chen.
In "Too Many Dumbasses" , Will (whose disguise as Chen is becoming more and more permanent, it seems) is meeting with his disguised minions to discuss business. After that, he goes off to talk with some other lowlifes. One of them jokes about selling whores instead of weed, and that sets Will (his brain now almost perfectly merged with Chen's) thinking about how to make money off of fembots ...
* * *
What follows, starting tomorrow, is a revision of this entire branch. I warned a couple of weeks ago that, for continuity reasons, a huge chunk of this branch was going to have get moved to the NC-BoM interactive. After some reviewing and revision, I've determined that this chapter would be the best divergence point. (It's about fifteen chapters further in than the divergence point I'd originally settled on.) Sometime tonight all of the sequel chapters to "Too Many Dumbasses" will get moved to the NC-BoM installation, and "Too Many Dumbasses" already includes a link to where NC-BoM will pick the story up. Tomorrow's storyline will start a 5-chapter replacement branch in the new continuity.
NOTE: I'm afraid I won't be adding the coming 5-chapter run to the Archives. There are 40+ chapters I would have to add in first, and I'm not sure it's worth it for what is, basically, only a housekeeping exercise for the interactive.