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"
|I forgot to note on the blog that yesterday's chapter would be the last in that set. But if you read the Archive pages, you will have figured it out.
Anyway, that is all of the new branches that I have in the backlog. Starting today I am going to dip back into a stream where I recently did some pruning.
The story picks up with "Senior Secrets" . Will and Caleb were playing around with masks, with the plan of copying some of the alpha jocks so they could get close to their girlfriends. But things went sideways when they accidentally tipped their hand to one of the alpha-est of the jocks, Steve Patterson. Patterson seized the Libra and set up a kind of secret club, forcing Will and Caleb (and later on, Keith) to get masks of various girls, which Patterson and his friend Gordon Black would then hang on a golem so they could ... Well, you get the idea. Caleb has recently met his quota of mask-making, and has been rewarded by being allowed to take over the identity of Seth Javits.
Will has also just made his quota, with an additional twist. He scored a copy of Joe Durras of Eastman High and gave it to Patterson; Patterson (for reasons that Will does not know of in this branch) has decided to make Joe and Frank his private, personal property. Patterson offered to let Will move out to Eastman with him, to become a kind of deputy, but Will has declined.
Will is now at a cross-roads. Does he continue to hang out with his friends Caleb and Keith, and help out with Patterson's schemes? Or does he try to distance himself from them all?
I've got a bunch of chapters to post, but they won't start or develop a story. They will just set up some choices. The chapters are big enough, though, that I won't be dropping them all in one batch, but will space them out over the course of a couple of days. Today's chapter:
Interactive: "New Bosses"
Public: "New Bosses"
Interactive: "Green Meanies"
Public: "Green Meanies"
—conclude the latest short branch. It was a set of chapters I had on my computer for ... well, a very long time. It's the same thing with the chapters I'll start publishing tomorrow, which are also some old things I found while rooting around my files.
They take place at St. Xavier's. Will was infiltrating that very snobby school by pretending to be a girl named Abi Steiner. But he got busted by Abi's friends, who took the Libra from him and tied him up in their secret hideout. This basic situation—Will imprisoned while Abi's friends take turns pretending to be Abi—has been developed before, but this branch sprouts off in a different direction from "Pulling a Switch on the Old Switcheroo"
* * *
Meanwhile, here are seven more stories from my March of Madness:
Six of them are contest entries, of which five were winners; the sixth contest hasn't been judged yet. So, yeah, that's a pretty good record, if I may say so.
|Today brings an end to the 5-chapter run I've been working on:
Interactive: "The Best Defense"
Public: "The Best Defense"
Tomorrow I start publishing some chapters that I wrote a long time ago but left in the files. It branches off of "Body Swapping as a Solution" . Will and Sydney are planning to make their own "Brotherhood of Baphomet" using golems, and are trying to figure out where to start. Will, meanwhile, is being bullied by friends of Blake O'Brien, the football player who has a crush on Sydney.
The new branch begins with "The First Step of a Random Walk" , which is a chapter that was published in the interactive but never published in the Archives. I'm publishing it there today so as to prepare for the new chapters, which will begin appearing tomorrow.
|March 15, so it's time for another link-fest. These are stories from the first week of March—the official start, I suppose, of my March writing project.
There are 8. That's because two of them—"Mid-Season Replacement" and "Date from Hell"—were written the same day. The two contests that day were extra-inspirational.
I'm tickled to say that three of them were winners in competitive contests for their respective days, and two of them shared a first prize. One was also named a weekly winner in its contest.
|In addition to today's chapter—
Interactive: "Getting Real with Charles Whitney"
Public: "Getting Real with Charles Whitney"
—there's an extra: "Schools of Thought"
I'm still revising the interactive, and this morning I chopped out a tangle of branches. I also revised one of the major nodes in order to open up more possibilities, and the extra chapter is an insert made as part of that process.
Interactive: "Laura Comes Clean"
Public: "Laura Comes Clean"
—finishes off the commissions that I started accepting late last year.
But that doesn't mean I'm done publishing BoM chapters. Even though I've been concentrating on non-BoM stuff this month, I've been carving out an extra hour each day to put into the interactive. Some of this takes the form of editing/updating old branches for continuity issues, but I've also been adding chapters or parts of chapters. At the moment I've got 10 more chapters I can publish. With luck and stamina, I might be able to write enough more to carry us to the end of the month.
Tomorrow's entry will start a 5-chapter run that picks up where "A Meeting of Minds" left off. Will and Caleb have been experimenting with masks and golems, but disaster strikes when they sell some of these items to Caleb's cousin, Dylan. The golem, disguised as a student at the tony St. Francis Xavier prep school, has run off, and they need to capture it before it does something to the real guy. Will and another Xavier student, Roxanne Hurley, have just gone for a short drive when they are intercepted by a quartet of hijackers, including two who appear to be twins ...
* * *
Because I'm still concentrating on short stories I am not officially open to commissions. But I am open to listening to pitches for commissions. If you'd like to commission something from me and you have an idea, feel free to send me it, so I can mull it over.
|I haven't managed to write any more Spider-Man scripts, not after the first, because I bumped my head on some continuity issues and have been nursing the bruise since. Instead, I've decided to devote March to writing short stories, with the aim of writing one a day. Most of these are written for contests here at WdC.
I know people come here for "Book of Masks" stuff, but once a week I'm going to trouble you anyway with links to the stuff I've been writing on the side. I mean, it's up to you whether to click on the links or not!
The first batch of seven actually come from late February, as I was warming up. Most of them are in the "weird" genre, meaning grotesque fantasy, and all of them are written tongue-in-cheek in the manner of old pulps from the 30s and 40s—or from the 70s at the latest.
At least one of them—you'll have to find it yourselves—might amuse the BoM readership as having a similar story motif.
Interactive: "A Dane Disguise"
Public: "A Dane Disguise"
—I've finished off another commission, one that I've been returning to off and on over the past few weeks. Starting tomorrow I will publish the last chapters in the first-and-last commission that I had on my plate: the first I accepted, and the last I will finish.
It picks up with "A Trap of One's Own Making" . Will's life is going to shit on account of some weird crap with the girls at school. A bunch of them have been coming on to him, then denying it. Now, people are accusing Will of inventing fake girlfriends, and of sending fake DMs and texts to himself in order to back up those lies. Our hero is angry and bewildered.
Last we saw he set a trap for his persecutors by arranging for all the girls that have been flirting with him (including a cheerleader, Maria Vasquez) to meet up at a coffee shop. He has just arrived to confront them, but none of them seem to have any clue as to what he wanted to see them for ...
This will be a ten-chapter run.
Interactive: "The Cherry, Hung with Snow"
Public: "The Cherry, Hung with Snow"
—rounds off a palate cleanser that was also a commission. Now it's time to jump back to the previous commission and finish it off.
In "Joint Ventures" , Will traded the grimoire to Spencer Osbourne for a couple of doobies. At the end of the chapter he had a chance to talk to Spencer about the book, but he turned Spencer down. That led to two short branches. In "Some Ginger and Mary Jane" Will's friends and acquaintances started acting strangely, and in "Portable Bodies" Will found himself body-swapped with a cheerleader.
In tomorrow's chapter, though, we'll find out what happens if he decides to meet with Spencer, to talk about that book he traded away ...
Separately, Tal gave me a book-cover-style image for "Student Bodies" , so that it matches the style of Book of Masks and The Wandering Stars. It's up now!
|I am away from my regular computer today, and forgot to bring a copy of today's chapter with me, so there will be no chapter published by me today. Sorry.
EDIT: Meantime, let me try to catch up with some thanks to the various people who have sent me WdC Gift Points. I really do appreciate it!
That One Guy
Theresa Daoang [a.k.a., Freakyduchess]
|Interactive: "Gallons of Gossip"
Public: "Gallons of Gossip"
Those chapters suspend one commission. Now comes another commission that doubles as a short (4-chapter) palate-cleanser.
Like the last palate-cleanser, it involves Sydney McGlynn, and her and Will's plan to create a "Brotherhood of Baphomet" out of magical clones. In "Demons by Night, Demons by Daylight" they have taken over the identities of Kelsey Blankenship (that's Sydney) and Amanda Ferguson (Will), but Will hasn't forgotten that he was being bullied from a couple of different directions before he made the switch, and he's thinking about now doing something about it ..
Interactive: "Invalid Chapter"
Public: "Coach Class"
—rounds off a palate-cleanser/commission. Tomorrow—internet access permitting—I return to a commission I suspended work on earlier.
In "Joint Ventures" Will sold his mystery book to Spencer Osbourne in return for two joints, one of which he contributed to his class's time capsule project. In "Stoned-Cold Stupids" that plan backfires after he changes his mind and lifts the joint from his teacher's desk and replaces it with a different contribution. The result is that he gets detention and gets grounded.
The story went in one direction after that—one that climaxed in "Room Services" with Will bagging up a bunch of weed for Kim Walsh. But tomorrow we'll start exploring a different path things could have taken.
|My internet was out this morning [Sunday]. Given the weather it is possible that I will be off and on the internet over the next couple of days.
EDIT: Today's chapters are up early, on account of I'm not sure if I'll be able to stay online today.
Interactive: "Invalid Chapter"
Public: "She Who Runs the Show"
There are also some new chapters for the Archive readers:
"New Boss, Same as the Old Boss" --> "Senior Secrets"
The last of these also will pop up for Interactive readers as a new chapter. It's actually a replacement chapter for one of two chapters that I moved to the NC-BoM and deleted from BoM. It's not much of a replacement -- a little revision here and there. The main changes are at the very end, to set up a wider array of choices. Depending on whether I can get online, I might post some short sequels to further set up choices.
|Besides today's BoM chapter—
Interactive: "Avalanche Girl"
Public: "Avalanche Girl"
—I've got a bonus for anyone who has been casting a curious eye at my Spider-Man project: "S02E12 "The Master Planner""
To briefly backstory the project:
DisneyXD produced (and still produces???) an animated Spider-Man show, called (with a dull lack of wit) Marvel's Spider-Man. Thirty-odd episodes into it, they began an adaption of the comic books' Superior Spider-Man storyline, the one where Dr. Octopus body-swapped with Spider-Man. I heard about this before it started airing, I it gave me the notion of writing my own adaptation of that storyline, to see what I could learn by comparing my efforts with those of the pros.
The adaptation has long-since aired, but I haven't watched it yet. My ambitions had gotten very big in the meantime—I wound up reimagining the series almost from the ground up—and I exhausted myself a couple of times while trying to fulfill them. The results (thus far) of that reimagination are in my portfolio here: "Marvel Spider-Man: The Alternate Series"
After finishing off the last batch of BoM commissions, I decided to return to this fanfic to do some more work on it. I had already written everything up to the point where the Superior Spider-Man launches, and was just waiting for a break in BoM to throw myself into outlining and writing the 13-episode arc itself.
Well, since returning to the project I've got that arc outlined, at least in enough detail that I can start outlining and writing the scripts. And yesterday, after two days of work, I wrote a first draft of the first script in the arc: "A Day in the Life," I'm calling it.
But that's not the bonus I'm publishing today.
"A Day in the Life" is Episode 14 in my version of Spider-Man's Season Two, and I suspended the publication of my own treatments with Episode 11. I don't want to publish Episode 14 until I've got some additional scripts written. But to mark the occasion, I am publishing Episode 12. Episode 13 (also already written) will follow in a week or two. Then, at after I've got a number of new scripts in the backlog and I'm comfortable that I won't have to make extensive revisions to them, I plan to start publishing the actual Superior Spider-Man arc.
The new entry comes with two important caveats. The first is that it is almost entirely unoriginal, being a very close transcription of the IRL-series episode "Brain Drain" by Jacob Semahn. The second is that it is written in the form of a script.
I hope the script format isn't too troublesome to readers. I tried to upload a Word document in script format, but the WdC machines wouldn't preserve the format, so I had to improvise. In writing this script, I have done my best to minimize action description and camera work, which is the most tedious part of a script, and the part that the writer should concern himself with the least. The idea is to get across the story: Who does what and why do they do it? Actual choreography is for the director to handle.
To get up to speed on what is going on, it is best to start with "S02E02 "Between an Ock and a Hard Place"" and read forward, though the story has roots extending all the way back to the very start of the series. But Episode 12 is the first where the Superior Spider-Man first heaves into view, as Doctor Octopus makes reveals himself and makes his first overt move against Spider-Man.
|Interactive: "Getting to Know All About Me"
Public: "Getting to Know All About Me"
The chapters above conclude a commission. Now comes a palate cleanser. (Except this one is also a commission.)
Will has partnered with the ravishing Sydney McGlynn to study the grimoire and magic in general. She wants to use it to create a bunch of magical clones that will form a "Brotherhood of Baphomet" that she and Will can control. They've talked through it far enough to decide they want their "brotherhood" to be a coven of covens (three covens of three girls each) and that the school sports teams are where they will look for "recruits." But which teams? In "Three by Three" they are weighing the possibilities ...
|I accepted six commissions late last year, ranging from three chapters to twenty-five. I have been working pretty hard on them, not only to keep up with my one-a-day publishing schedule, but to get ahead and build up a backlog.
Well, yesterday I finished writing them. Though I still have to publish them all, I have completed the commissions, and have a backlog of thirty-two chapters.
So that's enough to fill up the rest of February and early March with new BoM content for you guys. I'm going to take a break from writing BoM for a little while—two to three weeks, at least—and write some other stuff while the backlog empties out. I'll say something when I'm ready to return to writing BoM material.
* * *
In the meantime, I'm flattered and abashed to share the news that "Book of Masks" has been nominated for WdC's Quill Awards, in the category of "Best Campfire, In & Out, or Interactive": "2020 Quill Nominations" . Given the kind of thing "Book of Masks" is, it is more than the usual rote expression when I say, "It is an honor just to be nominated," and I thank whoever made the nomination.
"Book of Masks" has been nominated for Quills in years past—though it's been a number of years since the last time that happened—but it has never won. Which is okay. I'm astonished to see it even nominated, and that is quite enough.
|You might have noticed a common theme in the commissions I've been fulfilling, and it might have been frustrating you. (I've not forgotten what genre "The Book of Masks" is in, and therefore what its readers come to it for. Honest.) By a quirk, most of the story plots have surrounded Will with surreptitious substitutions while leaving him not only untouched but unaware.
Interactive: "Public Parts and Private Parties"
Public: "Public Parts and Private Parties"
—marks an end to most (but not all) of this pussyfooting, and the commissions from here on will start moving out of their establishing situations and into the real crises. Tomorrow's chapter, which will continue a commission I was working on earlier, begins with just such a crisis.
It is a sequel to "Drama in the Drama Department" , which ended with Will and Leah Simmons going into the school theater and each getting knocked out. What were they doing there? Will was still trying to track down that grimoire that he sold off, and the last he heard it had wound up as a prop in the drama department. What was Leah doing there with him? Well, she and Will have been spending a lot of time together.
They may be about to get a lot closer to each other than either could have conceived.
|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.