The State of Things

I’ve been uncharacteristically silent lately, though you may have seen me on Twitter being excited by Invasion’s release on sub-Q. Kerstin did some incredible work on the illustrations, and I finally feel that the sub-Q version is the story I was trying to tell. I can’t recommend working with them highly enough, even if–especially if!–you’re an established writer who is new to IF and interested in what sort of stories the genre can tell that don’t work in other ways.

I’ve been working pretty much constantly for the past two months on several projects, but unfortunately I can’t talk about any of them publicly yet. This is a strange position to be in: I’m chipping away at work, or laying foundations for what I hope might be far-reaching and amazing on the future, and I want to jump up and down and shout from the rooftops…but I can’t.

Instead, I just haven’t said anything. Which obviously is less than ideal.

I don’t tend to talk a lot publicly about things I hope to do: I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I get ashamed if I offer to write, or create, or facilitate something and then the result never materializes. But other people are far less bothered by these perceived failings than I am. And if nothing else it will serve as a record of my practice: what I valued and wanted to put my energy towards.

So here’s a list of some goals I’m working towards or thinking about in the first half of 2016. I want to talk more to speculative fiction writers about the possibilities of interactive fiction, to get these communities talking, to make resources available to anyone who’s interested in dipping a toe into the world of IF.

– to that end, I’m going to start writing a very, very basic guide for writers who have little-to-no JavaScript experience for a program called Raconteur, which is an extension of Undum. Undum is the IF platform that I think looks most like traditional static fiction, and I want to make it more accessible to non-programmers. (Accessibility in other ways–especially with screen readers–is another crucial issue, one that I’m currently still trying to address in my own work.)

– look for a blog post later this week called “Towards New Perspectives of Cybertextuality: A Review”; it’s a list of 5 recent pieces of IF that might get non-IF people talking about the current state of the field, specifically (hopefully!) from a speculative fiction point.

– Here’s the big one. I’m going to put my money (well, my time and skills, which for a freelancer is the same thing) and extend an offer to established speculative fiction writers interested in IF. Send me a story (5k or under) you’ve either previously published and have the rights to reprint, or something you’re still revising, that you’d like to see in IF. I’ll work with you on developing your vision and talking you through the coding, and when it’s published, I’d like to release a blog post series of the illustrated revision process as a blog post series about how to bring interactive elements into a static story to amplify the impact of an existing work or create something dazzlingly groundbreaking. If there’s enough interest, I might even do this for more than one work; it all depends.

Why am I offering this when I have a dissertation, my own contract work, and my own passion projects? Because I care deeply about narrative and its possibilities, about interactive fiction and speculative fiction, and because I think there is still so much uncovered ground. And new is exciting. And because of momentum.

The cat’s doing well. So am I. It’s time to keep moving forward.

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