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"
|There's a post below thanking those who have sent me GPs over the last few months. Please don't overlook it!
Meanwhile, here's the first chapter in the new storyline. The first few chapters will be mine before rugal takes over for a bit.
Interactive: "Unscrambling the Omelet"
Public: "Unscrambling the Omelet"
The background: Will and his friend Caleb have been messing around with masks, and Will has really gotten himself into a mess. The long and short of it is that he and Caleb have been body-swapping some of their classmates, so that Will is inhabiting the identity of Dane Matthias (a cheerful stoner); Dane is inhabiting the identity of Gordon Black (the captain of the high school basketball team); and Gordon is inhabiting Will's identity. Will has now gotten crossways with Gary Chen, a vicious thug and drug dealer. But the latest spell in the book might give Will a way out.
Meanwhile, I am also running another series of "Blind Plinko" polls for this very storyline, but the polls are running a few days in advance of the chapters, so it will be Tuesday before you see the result of your vote in yesterday's poll. "Chelsea Cooper" won that poll ... and you get another chance to vote for "Chelsea Cooper" in today's poll: [Poll completed and deleted.]
Or maybe you'll use this poll as a chance to vote in another direction.
I have a second Blind Plinko poll for you as well, this one a continuation of the previous series I was running. It turns out that I had to rewrite one of the chapters and insert a new one into the sequence. So although choices in the last poll and the next-to-the-last poll remain the same, I need to insert a new poll into the series. Given the choices, I suppose it can also double as a general statement of preference: [Poll completed and deleted.]
|Every time I finish a storyline, I mean to make a post thanking all the readers who have sent me in Gift Points, and every time I manage to forget. So I've got a bunch of people to thank. If you've been sending me Gift Points, and I've said nothing, believe me, it's not because I don't appreciate them. It's because I've been saving up to post my thanks, and then I get distracted.
Anyway, for the last several storylines I have to thank:
* Easy, who is constantly dropping 1000-point gifts on me.
* Tal, who dropped a big bag of points of me not too long ago
* AstralBot3D, who loved the branch where Will partnered with Maria Vasquez
* Sonicmetroid, who likes a lot of random chapters, which is especially flattering.
* HayateZero and Wordsmitty, who both really liked "Girl Meets Boy"
* that dude, forthefunofit, and Wolflord99, who each liked one chapter or other so much they just had to tell me about it with some GPs.
* and the anonymous person who sent a cNote with 1000 GPs.
Thank you, guy! The "tip" system that WdC created has done a lot to encourage me by giving you guys an easy way to express your encouragement.
|Today wraps up the first "Blind Plinko" storyline:
* Interactive: "Fears Unmasked"
* Public: "Fears Unmasked"
So tell me, how predictable was it? Did the blind choices give you enough info to guess how it was going to unfold? It felt rather obvious to me, largely because in their early chapters, the storylines tend to unfold in very similar ways.
A new storyline will start tomorrow, but I'm not going to give you a link. Instead, I'm going to present you with a new series of Blind Plinko Polls: [Poll completed and deleted.]
That is the choice at the end of the chapter that will appear on Monday, part of a new branch. That branch is already partly written, but whichever choice you vote for, you will get that sequel. Here's the way it will work: If you vote for the sequel that got written, then that's the one will appear, and the story will continue along its pre-written path. But if some other choice wins, you will get a one-off—the chapter you voted for—before the story backs up and returns down the pre-written path.
We'll go on this way, with me giving you the chapter-ending choices a few days before the chapter is published, then publishing the choice you voted for, even if it comes as just a one-off bonus.
That storyline, by the way, is a collaboration with rugal. He came up with the idea, and we took turns writing chapters or clusters of chapters.
After that story branch gets published, I'll turn to publishing the plot line that you just completed in the second "Blind Plinko" poll.
|No new poll, because at closing time yesterday's poll has a tie for first place. So I'm going to leave it up for a round of "sudden death."
EDIT: And Andrea Varnsworth wins it in sudden death.
There will be one more poll tomorrow, then ...
Well, I don't know what. I'll have to think about it.
Interactive: "Fail Safes"
Public: "Fail Safes"
|So this is what happens when I don't make a post predicting a runaway winner. We get a runaway winner!
I wonder what will happen in today's poll: [Poll completed and deleted.]
Also, today's chapter:
Interactive: "The Junior Partners"
Public: "The Junior Partners"
|Yesterday's poll ran neck-and-neck throughout the day until "Spread it in each class" finally won it. But the sequel was going to be one of those chapters where a general kind of decision gets made, I could figure out what the decisions were going to be without writing the chapter itself. So I was able to anticipate today's poll regardless of which choice was going to win yesterday.
Interactive: "Explaining Yourself"
Public: "Explaining Yourself"
Poll: [Poll completed and deleted.]
|One choice ran away with it yesterday ("Persevere"), but even with that head start I wasn't sure I would be able to get a chapter and a poll written for today -- there was a lot of bookkeeping I had to do with student schedules and stuff as I updated entries for new characters. But I got it done!
Interactive: "Follow the Bouncing Box"
Public: "Follow the Bouncing Box"
Poll: [Poll completed and deleted]
|So if you haven't figured it out yet, today's Blind Plinko poll should make it clear where in the interactive I'm writing: [Poll completed and deleted.]
Meanwhile, here is today's chapter:
Interactive: "The Winding Trail"
Public: "The Winding Trail"
I had a couple of challenges while writing this storyline. One of them was figuring out where the mask was going to end up even as I didn't know where you guys were ultimately going to steer the story.
I wanted at least several plausible chutes for the mask to fall down, so that there'd be a chance of Will taking a wrong turn while chasing it. At the same time, I didn't want to put it at the end of a path that the readers didn't choose -- that would be too frustrating -- or take him to it too quickly -- that would be too anticlimactic.
So I had to keep playing shell games with it, moving it from place to place and opening paths to alternate developments, until you guys finally made a decisive move in one direction or another. So far there have been three ways for it to slip from Will's grasp. Today's chapter brings a fourth. After that, we'll come to grips with things.
|Yesterday's poll choices were tied when I went to bed last night. But though "Celebrate privately" had the lead when I woke, there's no poll today. The morning was busy with other stuff so I didn't have time to anticipate the winning choice with a new chapter -- and I think the next chapter is going to have end with a "Continue" anyway.
But a new chapter is up:
Interactive: "Boxed and Outfoxed"
Public: "Boxed and Outfoxed"
|The vote in yesterday's poll ran close for most of the day and this morning too, so that I didn't feel comfortable writing a chapter before closing the poll. But when I saw "Hot" maintaining a tenuous lead through the final hours, I brainstormed the likely content of the sequel chapter far enough to come up with the likely choices at the end. So there's a new Plinko poll up: [Poll completed and deleted]
Oh, and the chapter for today:
Interactive: "When Charity Begins at Home"
Public: "When Charity Begins at Home"
|There's really only so many titles you can give a blog entry when it's the same kind of content day after day.
Interactive: "So It Turns Out You Can Be Too Careful"
Public: "So It Turns Out You Can Be Too Careful"
Poll: [Poll completed and deleted]
If you can't guess where I am polling in the interactive, you can probably reasonably guess the kind of junction it is at.
|Okay, last-minute change of plans.
I intended to publish one more chapter in the Will-and-Joey storyline, then switch to a new branch. But when I went to revise that chapter this morning, I wound up hacking it up so badly that I wanted to just start over. So I'm skipping it and switching to the next storyline now instead of tomorrow.
So today's chapters launch the storyline that goes with the polls I've been running over the past two weeks—the storyline you guys have been crafting in the Blind Plinko polls. Now you get to see what you did!
It begins with two chapters, a short one that sets up another choice, then a longer one that gets the story started properly:
* Interactive: "And Then There Were Two" --> "Panic in F Wing"
* Public: "And Then There Were Two" --> "Panic in F Wing"
The background? Will has crafted a mask and has been searching the school for someone to test it on. Among the people he has spotted is a girl in the school's tutorial offices. She's the victim you chose in a poll that I ran a month and a half ago.
And as for the poll I promised you today? Well, I'm tossing that out too. Instead, you get the first in a new round of Blind Plinko polls—[Poll completed and deleted]—for another storyline. And what's the background to this one?
I'm not going to tell you. That way you will be completely in the dark, MadLibs style, about what's going on or who's involved. Although, as the story develops, the choices will probably give you enough clues to figure most of the background out.
|So, for whatever motive, you guys managed to really show me a thing or three! Well played!
But one of the upshots is that I woke up this morning to find the poll in a tie. So even though "Put on the Rachel mask" ultimately won, I couldn't write a sequel chapter and have a new poll ready for you. So you're going to have to wait until tomorrow for the next poll.
Meantime, here's the latest chapter:
* Interactive: "The Sudden Crush of Events"
* Public: "The Sudden Crush of Events"
|I don't even know why I'm posting a poll. I know what you guys are going to vote for! [Poll completed and deleted.] I'd only be surprised if it didn't wind up a 100% - 0% decision. [*]
[*Edit: And seven minutes after I post this, some smartass decides to vote for the option that isn't going to get any votes!]
* Interactive: "Schooled"
* Public: "Schooled"
|Yesterday's poll went lopsided in one direction. So of course you get a poll today: [Poll completed and deleted.]
I feel like the storyline up to now has been predictable, both in terms of its genre contours—most BoM storylines have a similar shape and progression when they start out—and because of the implications of the choices. I suspect some of you could write the storyline yourselves, using just the chapter choices as a prompt!
But with today's chapter I think the storyline is finally becoming its own thing, and the implications of the choices (even the very bland and business-like first choice) are becoming inscrutable.
Meanwhile, here's today's BoM chapter. There will be three more after this, and then it will pause.
* Interactive: "A Mix-Up at the McDonalds"
* Public: "A Mix-Up at the McDonalds"
|Yesterday's poll was very tight, but by this morning "Do something about this disaster" had opened up a big enough lead that I could write the sequel. So here's the new poll: [Poll completed and deleted]
Here is today's chapter, too:
Interactive: "Real People"
Public: "Real People"
|Road trip successfully executed. Afterward, I was able to write a chapter for the Blind Plinko Challenge, so I've got a poll for you: [Poll completed and deleted]
I can't help feeling that the storyline is pretty obvious (except for the names, of course) based on the poll prompts. But I'm hopeful that the next chapter will be more twisty, whichever choice gets voted on.
Meanwhile, here's the chapter where the Joey Tartaglione storyline resumes:
Interactive: "When Carly Met Joey"
Public: "When Carly Met Joey"
|I haven't got a poll for you today, even though "Try to get the box back" ran away with yesterday's results.
I do have a new chapter, though:
Interactive: "The Girls at the Dairy Queen"
Public: "The Girls at the Dairy Queen"
It concludes that storyline.
Tomorrow I'll pick up the storyline where Will was working with Joey Tartaglione, a homeschooled girl with even worse social skills than Will's. It will pick up off of "The Cheerleader Proxy" . Will and Joey have made two masks and swapped faces, briefly, but now Will is on his way over to her house disguised as Cindy Vredenburg. This will start an 8-chapter run of chapters as they get deeper into the book.