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by Seuzz
Rated: 18+ · Book · Other · #2156493
A hub for the "Book of Masks" universe.
The Interactives
"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!

Current Polls

The Latest
9/19 Interactive: "The Actors' Studio
9/19 Public: "The Actors' Studio
Previous ... 5 6 7 8 -9- 10 11 12 13 14 ... Next
August 4, 2020 at 11:52am
August 4, 2020 at 11:52am
Masktrix has told me I can close yesterday's poll. The winner by a whisker was "Slip into some school moms." He also tells me he got a one-chapter commission, but that was also to write something in the "school moms" choice.
August 3, 2020 at 11:24am
August 3, 2020 at 11:24am
A quick note on the chapters I'm publishing:

Interactive: "Prepping for a College Caper
Public: "Prepping for a College Caper

This is part of a five-chapter commission, but there will probably be more than five chapters in this line. Neither yesterday's chapter nor today's count as part of the commission because they are taken with setting things up. The commission proper won't start until tomorrow.

Meanwhile ...

Mastrix wants to write a storyline in the "Baphomet" section of the interactive, and he wants to do something different over there. Today he posted a chapter that sets up some options: "Thinking Big. But he is undecided what line to take.

So I have posted a poll for him so you guys can make your own preferences known: [Poll completed and deleted.] Go vote there.

In his forum post about the line, he says he is "not above bribery." What this means is that he is happy to accept commissions to write particular sequels to today's chapter. If you're interested in commissioning one of these sequels from him, contact him through WdC at masktrixie@Writing.Com. He has quoted to me a price of 20,000 WdC Gift Points per chapter commissioned.
August 1, 2020 at 10:48am
August 1, 2020 at 10:48am
It took longer than I expected, due to a couple of different kinds of teething trouble, as I explained earlier, but today's chapters—

Interactive: "The Unsatisfied Warlock
Public: "The Unsatisfied Warlock

—conclude a five-chapter commission.

It was pretty popular, and I would like to thank Achillesredux, Chelsea Woodard, Ero, and Easy for the Gift Points they sent me.

The follow-up commission, which will start tomorrow, will back up only a few chapters from this conclusion, to "Hanging with Mrs. Cooper, and will take a detour there.
July 29, 2020 at 12:46pm
July 29, 2020 at 12:46pm
And the post title isn't just a metaphor for what it's like to write this branch.

About a week or two ago I started having trouble with a tooth -- off and on toothaches -- and the last two days it was really bad, and it's hard to write when your jaw is throbbing.

I went to the dentist today, and he couldn't find anything wrong with the teeth in that area, but on looking over the rest of my mouth he decided I was grinding my teeth in my sleep and that was probably what was causing it. I'm getting a mouth guard.

So that's another thing that's keeping the entries skipping like a rock across a pond.
July 27, 2020 at 2:29pm
July 27, 2020 at 2:29pm
Today's chapter—

Interactive: "Sunday Fixings
Public: "Sunday Fixings

—is now up. And by "today's chapter" I mean, "the chapter that should have been up yesterday."

But I'm making this thing up as I go along, and it's not so smooth. This is a short branch that is supposed to spend some time with Will in Kelly Cooper's skin and life. But there's not a lot for him to do inside her life, which makes it hard to make up a story for her. And on the other hand, what plot there is—him trying to figure out his relationship with Blackwell's, and Blackwell's relationship with Lucy Vredenburg, points toward evolutions that would probably force him out of the impersonation.

So the kind of stuff that would pull the story forward would end this part prematurely; and the kind of thing that would keep this part going is hard to write because there's not much happening. It's straining my ingenuity, and I ran out of time the day before yesterday as I was trying to write.

You should get a chapter tomorrow, though. I've got one written, at least.
July 24, 2020 at 12:17pm
July 24, 2020 at 12:17pm
Today's chapter—

Interactive: "The Mother of My Enemy Is Me!
Public: "The Mother of My Enemy Is Me!

—is a revision of a previously published chapter. It deletes the last of the original chapter and substitutes new material.

In making this revision, which expands the chapter in order to set up one of the commissions, I have had to delete the two chapters that originally followed it. One of those chapters will make a return in a highly modified form. I'm not sure about the other. If it does return, it will be a repost of the original chapter, not a revision.
July 22, 2020 at 11:37am
July 22, 2020 at 11:37am
Today's BoM chapter—"Of Curses and Even Worse Things—may be new to readers of the non-interactive Archives, but it is a very old one. Tomorrow will bring another old chapter, and then on Friday there will be a revised version of yet another old chapter. Then, finally, some new stuff.

In the meantime ...

Yesterday I mentioned that after I finish some commissions I'm going to do something else for a little while. Here's more: I will be returning to a project I started a year ago, persevered in for some little while, then gave up in exhaustion: "Marvel Spider-Man: The Alternate Series

My bright idea: Take episodes of the recent DisneyXD animated series, mix them up in a new order, revise some of them, drop and replace others with new episodes, and create my own version of the series. This would eventually lead up to me writing my own version of the series's "Superior Spider-Man" storyline, which at that point had not aired in the US.

I learned a few things from the exercise, the most important of which was that I absolutely suck at outlining. I'm not saying that the outlines themselves are bad. (Though possibly they are.) I mean that the process was ghastly. My brain works by improvising stories into being, and it seizes up like a bad engine when I try to construct the whole thing in advance in my head. I knew from previous experience that I didn't enjoy that kind of work, but the attempt to write three dozen outlines quickly ground me down to nothing. I wrote twenty-one treatments (and posted only nine of them) before giving up almost exactly a year ago.

In March I resumed posting the treatments I had written, and I intended to continue writing, but after only one more treatment I gave up again. That left the thing four episodes short of filling up the first season.

Exhaustion and frustration with the outlining process was one reason I stopped working on the project. Another was that the "Superior Spider-Man" episodes simply were not available to me. I don't have cable, so I relied on Amazon to supply the first 38 episodes, and for the last year that is all that has been available on Amazon. But in the middle of July Amazon finally brought out the rest of Season Two, including the "Superior Spider-Man" arc. I haven't bought it yet, and I still want to get this project done before I do, because I still want to write my own version of that arc, and then compare it to the official version.

So that's my plan: Finish up the commissions, then bulldoze my way through some more alternate "Spider-Man" treatments. How far will I get? I don't know. That's the other big thing I learned from this project the last time I tackled it. Don't make grandiose plans.

If this is the first you've heard of this project, here again is a link to it: "Marvel Spider-Man: The Alternate Series. And here are some links to some of the more substantial blog entries where I talked about it:

The idea occurs: "Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Messing Up My Writing Plans ...
Progress report as I watch the first season of the show: "When Everyone Is Spider-Man ...
More reflections on the first season: "Spider-Man: Pros, Cons, and Amateurs
My ambition grows: "Decisions, Decisions
The plan is described: "Immediate Plans
How I go about writing a treatment: "Project Development
And after lots of initial optimism, I hit a wall: "I'm Not Dead Yet
July 21, 2020 at 2:24pm
July 21, 2020 at 2:24pm
Today's chapters—

Interactive: "The Curious Miss Cummings
Public: "The Curious Miss Cummings

—bring that particular branch to a conclusion, at least for now. There is a chance I'll continue it at some point, but it depends upon the person who commissioned it. (Or other people who want to make a point of commissioning a continuation.)

Tomorrow brings a quasi-hiatus for WdC members, but new chapters for non-members. I have been commissioned to continue a very old branch, one that has not been fully published in the "The Book of Masks: Archives edition of BoM. There are only two chapters I need to publish to bridge the gap, and I could publish them both right now, but I'd like to stretch out the schedule a little so that I can pad my backlog a little more. So tomorrow and Thursday will bring chapters for Archive readers, but nothing new for WdC members. To get oriented, go to "A Yumi Life and read it and the fourteen chapters leading up to it.

On Friday members and non-members alike will get the start of a new, 5-chapter commission that will launch with a new choice off that chapter. Well, sort of a new choice. In fact, I'm going to use that commission as an excuse to delete and write new versions of some old chapters that will expand what had been a two-chapter arc into a five-chapter arc. And that commission will then lead to a second, different 5-chapter commission that will continue it.

Once that commission is finished, I will publish a 10-chapter commission in a different part of the interactive.

After that we'll have to see, because I think I'm going to take a hiatus from BoM for a little while. I've been working non-stop at it for a couple of months now, both with new chapters of my own and with editorial help to other authors. I will definitely continue to provide the editorial help (if it's needed) but I've got a couple of suspended non-BoM projects that I want to pick up again.

(BTW, I was reminded yesterday that the original chapter title had already been used. I think there are several chapter titles in BoM that have been used more than once, but because this one was pointed out to me, I edited it to change it.)
July 14, 2020 at 7:31pm
July 14, 2020 at 7:31pm
But if you want to know the difference between Amazon.us and Amazon.uk, look at how they tell you that something you bought is on its way:

US: Your order has shipped!
UK: Your order has been dispatched.

Or, in visual terms:

US   vs. UK  
July 12, 2020 at 11:45am
July 12, 2020 at 11:45am
I haven't got anything to say about the new branch that I didn't say yesterday, so I'm just posting this so that there's an obvious, easy-to-find shortcut to it:

Interactive: "Putting on Paulina
Public: "Putting on Paulina

EDIT: I had to change the title, because I discovered the original title had already been used. Okay, I'm pretty sure there are other duplicate titles in BoM -- given how many chapters there are, there have to be! -- but in this case, the two chapters titled "The Perils of Paulina" were too close together to not notice.
July 11, 2020 at 11:31am
July 11, 2020 at 11:31am
Today's chapter—

Interactive: "Do As I Do
Public: "Do As I Do

—completes a five-chapter commission, plus the six chapters I wrote in order to get to the commission's starting point. The ending will probably frustrate, but as this entry title says, Always leave them wanting more.

You'll probably get more, eventually. The commissioner has said he wants more, and I hope today's chapter doesn't change his mind. I know he wanted the story to push farther along than I actually took it, but given the kind of psychology and personality Will shows in other branches, I felt like these chapters needed some extra motivation in order to take the story down some paths it doesn't elsewhere explore.

What's next? Tomorrow I start publishing another commission, for ten chapters, in an area we were just in: a sequel to "The Sophomore Candidates. I won't be returning to the branch I was working on, though, but will launch a new, parallel branch off that chapter.

The story so far: Will and his friend Caleb have been playing around with masks. After Will lips off to Chelsea Cooper and she sends her thuggish boyfriend to beat him up, Will uses a mask to escape, first into the life of Chelsea's boyfriend, then into the life of a pothead. Neither is very pleasant, so he has randomly leaped into the life of a sophomore girl and is using her to pick what he hopes will be a more permanent alias. Two possible aliases have been chosen in other branches; it is time for a third one.
July 6, 2020 at 2:19pm
July 6, 2020 at 2:19pm
So, last time (in the entry immediately below) I explained some revisions that had occurred in BoM. Briefly: A branch got deleted, and then a heavily revised version of it was posted in a slightly different place. This was to correct some technical errors so that another author to continue that branch.

I came in this morning to find in my Inbox (among other missives) an email from the original author of the deleted branch, a retort from the author of the revised branch, and a publicly posted chapter that doesn't add anything to the interactive but does eloquently state the original author's grievance.

This present post just to say that I'm aware of what's going on and I'm trying to find a solution that will please the various parties.

* * *

Meantime, yes, I forgot to post a chapter yesterday—lots of piddly stuff that drove it completely from my mind—but I have posted it now.

Interactive: "Dark Talk on a Dark Night
Entry: "Dark Talk on a Dark Night

It doesn't get to where people are expecting it to get, not yet, but I felt like the story needed some character talk before taking a pretty large step into territory that's not really been explored before.
June 30, 2020 at 12:41pm
June 30, 2020 at 12:41pm
Today's chapter from me is up:

Interactive: "Butterfingers
Public: "Butterfingers

That is the first of what I'm projecting to be an 11-chapter arc. It's going to take a bit of a corkscrew turn in the middle -- a twist that hasn't really shown up much in BoM before, at least from me -- so don't presume that the first half will be a reliable guide to the second half. This is part of a five-chapter commission that I took up, and the first six chapters are only to get the story to the point where the commission itself can take off.

* * *

Separately, you might notice something a little odd going on with the end of "The Test Department and some recently posted chapters that follow. The end of "The Test Department" has been edited (chopped off and moved to the start of "Be Kind, Rewind), and a 4-chapter branch that originally appeared at the end of "The Leftovers has changed authors and been attached to one of the new choices that appear at the end of "The Test Department." Explanation:

Wolfer contacted me a few days ago with an idea for continuing that 4-chapter branch, but he noted that there were some technical mistakes in it, and asked how he should handle them. After looking that branch over, I decided the errors were bad enough to warrant removing the branch entirely. (And besides, the original author has disappeared in the meantime.) After talking it over with Wolfer, it was decided to remove the original, problematic branch and edit "The Test Department" so that a revised and corrected version of that branch could be posted for Wolfer to continue.
June 29, 2020 at 4:56pm
June 29, 2020 at 4:56pm
Yeah, I'm late getting up the sequel to the last chapters:

Interactive: "Invalid Chapter
Public: "Invalid Entry

There's no poll. This is the end of the line for now in this branch.

The last couple of chapters have been hard to write. It's important in this kind of interactive, I feel, to offer choices for the readers to pursue. And in this case it was especially important, because where Will and his friends land will affect their investigation of the school.

But the damn thing went on too long, to the point where I felt momentum and characterization both flagging, so I was losing interest. I will have to take a break, probably a significant break, from this branch before I return to it. In the meantime, I used the chapters above to rather brutally cut short the game by deciding for the last three necessary aliases.

Where now for me? I've got two commissions to finish, and those will be coming next.

First up is a commission that starts here: "Stonerhenge. This is an early chapter, so there's not much background. Will has just acquired the Libra and has made a first mask. He is working alone, and has gone up to the school in search of a test subject—someone to slap the blank mask onto in order to see what it does. After being briefly tempted to try it on one of his friends—Caleb Johansson or Keith Tilley—he has decided to go in search of a pothead. Three possibilities have crossed his path. You'll find out tomorrow what Will's choice is.
June 26, 2020 at 3:39pm
June 26, 2020 at 3:39pm
Even though the race was tight yesterday, so that I didn't know which choice was going to win, I was still able to get a head start because I knew how I wanted the story to open. So I only had to write about 1100 words for the sequel, and that went pretty fast. So, a day early, here's the follow up:

Interactive: "Invalid Chapter
Public: "Invalid Entry
Poll: [Poll completed and deleted]


I thought I could get a jump on the next chapter, whichever it was, by writing out those parts that would be common to both choices. I soon realized that the sequel chapter would be more or less a placeholder to sketch out additional, specific choices. This kind of chapter can be written very quickly.

So I wrote them. Both of them. They are now up:

Interactive: "Invalid Chapter + "Invalid Chapter
Public: "Invalid Entry + "Invalid Entry

The also come with polls: [Polls completed and deleted]

So, you guys can now vote on which of two choices come next, and also for the sequel to each of those choices. However, I am only going to follow one of those branches. If you guys vote for "Pick two guys for Carmona," I will write the voted-for sequel to "Five Guys." Similarly, if you guys vote for "Pick a guy for Carmona and a girl for Miller," I will write the voted-for sequel to "Five Girls."
June 25, 2020 at 1:49pm
June 25, 2020 at 1:49pm
Even though the poll at the end of "Invalid Entry was a blowout, and I started early on the sequel, that sequel turned out to be hard to write. I went through half a dozen endings before I settled on a set of choices that preserves some flexibility while also presenting specific possibilities.

Interactive: "Invalid Chapter
Public: "Invalid Entry
Poll: [Poll completed and deleted]

EDIT: Wow, that was a close one, but "Use the mask on both girls" took it by a nose. But if it had tied with the runner-up (and it was tied for a few hours with "Wait to talk to Miller") I would have declared it the winner anyway, using the votes for each girl singly as the tiebreakers.
June 23, 2020 at 12:20pm
June 23, 2020 at 12:20pm
Hey hey, check it out!

Interactive: "Invalid Chapter
Public: "Invalid Entry

The sequel to yesterday's chapter gets posted a day early!

That's because it wasn't hard to write. Once I decided who it was that was coming in through the front door, there wasn't much else to invent. Today's chapter just polishes off the last of the technical discoveries that follow on the gang's first stab at making a replacement. I.e., their discover that only Will can get the memories instantly, while for his friends it looks like the memories just aren't going to come.

So you get a chapter, and you also get a poll: [Poll completed and deleted]

EDIT: As I expected, the "Lure Cathy Schell" choice blew the other choice out of the water.
June 22, 2020 at 8:48am
June 22, 2020 at 8:48am
As promised, here is the sequel to yesterday's chapter:

Interactive: "Invalid Chapter
Public: "Invalid Entry

And here's the poll on what to do next: [Poll completed and deleted.]

EDIT: "Use a mask on the intruder" wins by one vote.
June 21, 2020 at 11:10am
June 21, 2020 at 11:10am
Okay, so, like a week ago you guys voted on a choice to continue the last chapter in that branch I was writing. And now today you finally get the sequel:

Interactive: "Invalid Chapter
Public: "Invalid Entry

Why the delay?

Because of the three choices I posed last time, you voted for the one choice I was not prepared to write.

In fact, I had included the winning choice ("Coax Miller into putting on the mask") only because it was a logical possibility. Given the way she was cowering in the corner, I could not picture any circumstance where she'd put on that mask, but I felt like the absence of that choice would look too conspicuous. I wasn't worried about including that choice, because I was pretty damn sure you guys would vote to put Will inside the mask. I was fully expecting the "Coax Miller" choice to get zero votes.

But then you guys went and voted for it!

So it took me a week to finally get my head to a place where I could sort of/kind of get Miller into that mask, and even then (as you'll read) no one really coaxes anyone else.

Moral of the story: I'll live up to my end of the bargain and write what you vote for. But if vote for something I'm not prepared for, you might pay the price in a significant delay in its appearance.

Related: No poll in today's story, because it ends in a "Continued." (Because the chapter mostly had to concentrate on character motivation, not plot.) But I've already written the sequel chapter, and that will appear tomorrow.

EDIT: I should emphasize a correction to the previous chapter in the arc, "Invalid Entry. In that chapter I managed to write "Coach Acuna" everywhere, even though I intended and always intended it to be "Coach Puente." Well, having written some chapters with Masktrix that used Acuna, I had her on the brain when I wrote that chapter. Anyway, it's Coach Puente in today's chapter and now it's Coach Puente in the previous chapter.
June 15, 2020 at 4:12pm
June 15, 2020 at 4:12pm
I had a really bad night's sleep the other night, which left me too befogged to do any work, so there wasn't a chapter yesterday. There is one today, though:

Interactive: "Invalid Chapter
Public: "Invalid Entry

There's also a poll: [Poll completed and deleted.]

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