September 10th, 2010

Mask

Shelter In Place Version 5!

Fred the Zombie - From Shelter In PlaceI just finished the fifth round of edits for Shelter in Place, my Zombie Game. I started working on Shelter In Place in 2008 and produced a rough draft of the game that summer. I ran my first version of the game in August, 2008 calling in the best gamers I knew to come play with me. I got a lot of great feedback from that game, and I went on to write a new version. This is basically how things went for two years - I'd run the game and tweak it, run it and tweak it.

Then I hired Filamena Young and David Hill to work on the game to iron out the game mechanics. 2009 had taught me a lesson - that it's far better for me to focus on what I'm good at, and get other people who are good at other things to help me with what they are good at. That's why I asked Filamena and David to help me - there were points in the game I was utterly stuck on - how do I keep it simple, but fair? How can I encourage the cinematic feel to this game? Fortunately, David and Filamena had no trouble with this puzzle, and took what I had made, rearranged the elements, added their own, and presto - all the little puzzle pieces neatly fit into their spots.

Then I went to NYC and ran the game again for the artist Timothy Huchings and his fantastic group of friends. After that, the game went through another round of edits.

You see how this goes now - edit, edit, edit.

I am calling this most recent iteration Version 5. Last night, Version 5 made a little trip to a second reader (it's Capital Editor, for it has already been through three first readers) and there it will remain until December. There is some news about Shelter In Place's new destiny, but to announce it publicly requires that Papers of Import are signed, duplicated and safely filed. I can say that when I started writing Shelter In Place (or SiP) I did not know half the people that would be so influential in it's destiny, and now that I do, it will be more beautiful, and fly farther than I could ever have managed on my own.

But for now, this draft is out of my hands.

This allows me to focus back on The Novel, which, while completed in terms of word count and beginnings and middles and endings, is not at all complete in terms of it's final form. The Novel, as it stands now, is my Zero draft, the nothing draft, the not even worth looking at draft, it is half nonsensical, it's current state is like that of a dream - interesting to me as the dreamer, but to the listener, an incomprehensible bore (save perhaps for some bits of imagery). Having Shelter In Place flying out to it's Editor means that I can focus wholly on this pursuit.  It is my goal to have a draft worthy of being read by December, the time when I expect Shelter In Place to come back to me, battle-scarred from critiques, to be patched and mended and made whole again. Made better, really. At this point, if everything works according to plan (which it sometimes does, though not always) I will be able to send out The Novel to First Readers, who have so kindly volunteered to allow themselves to be inflicted with a first draft. It is my hope that I'll be able to create something that they won't have to suffer through, and if they suffer at all, that they will be quick to let me know about it.

The illustrations accompanying this entry were done by Natalie Kelly. Without these illustrations to regularly inspire me, I'm not sure that I would have completed Shelter In Place. I'm not sure how many times I had put it aside, only to look at this little zombie, staring at me hopefully and know that I had to pick it up again. He is the illustration of promises I made to complete this project.  There was a reason Natalie and I brought this little guy into the world and I intend to see his destiny fulfilled.
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