WIP Forever Fantasy Online series

Discussion in 'Works in Progress' started by TravisBach, Jan 22, 2019.

  1. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I have belatedly realized what the WIP forums are for. Gonna start my entry for the FFO series here.

    The state of the series today,
    1. Book 1 out in eBook, Print, and Audio.
    2. Book 2 copy edits finished.
    3. Book 2's cover almost done as well.
    4. Book 2's blurb needs to be written so I can send the manuscript to Audible.
    5. Book 1's new cover is almost done and ready for deployment.
    6. Book 3's cover needs to be started.
    I'm tentatively hoping for a March release of FFO2 and a November release of FFO3. If I finished FFO3 by march then that gives me the rest of the year to write whatever I'll be publishing in 2020.
     
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  2. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Copy Edits are in for FFO2 and the manuscript is off to audible (turns out they can get the blurb and cover later).

    Having just re-read the whole book, I'm so proud and so nervous. For reasons that cannot be discussed without spoilers. So,

    Book 2 is set in Bastion. As in book 1, the NPCs blame the players for the apocalypse caused by the game (when it was a game). They call it the nightmare.
    But the thousands of players trapped in the capital city are ultimately just a mix of regular humanity, given the power of player characters of course.
    So, well before FFO2 begins, the city is already bathed in blood and fire from both players and NPCs being equally good and equally shitty to each other. Emphasis on the shit.

    This is what Tina and James stumble into while seeking safety.

    Now what makes me nervous is that I chose a very ambitious theme for the book, which is the ills of villainization. I care deeply about when we look at the actions of a few and then paint an entire faction or people as "evil" because of it. Cause then we wind up dehumanizing and harming good people along with bad people. All while giving our enemies ammo to use against us and making them deaf to our cause's morality.

    In the book, the Royal Knights are portrayed as genocidal murderers. But that's because they are protectors who have been broken by too much abuse and tragedy and are faced with a clear threat.

    Tina doesn't see that though and slaughters them to save her fellow players. Which starts a true war between players and non-players. Though that's not to say that she was wrong, because attacking first allowed her to save innocent lives. It's muddy and gray as hell overall. As things get crazier, some of our beloved characters do some shit they really shouldn't have in the name of preceived justice.

    The Royal Knights continue to be the main antagonists until the very end when the war is stopped. Though not before a lot of people on both sides die and the city's very existence is threatened by a magical WMD stand-off. During the story, we meet innocent Royal Knights and good Royal Knights alongside hate-fueled murderous fuckers. We have grand heroic stands by players but their allies might be guilty of some dark shit.

    The whole idea is to show the colossal mess that this kind of thinking can lead to. The book also explores the way out of said mess, via James.

    Overall, I worry that people are going to think I'm trying to make Nazi's sympathetic, or that they are going to get a book where both the good guys and bad buys are all shades-of-gray and they're gonna hate it. I meant to tackle some of our current political woes (lack of compassion, rampant racism, etc) with this theme. It's very audacious. Now that I've written it and it's headed to publication, I'm so damn nervous about how it will be received.

    Smaller reasons which can be discussed without spoilers are,
    1. I'm still touching on transgender issues (cause players trapped in their characters) and sure do hope I can pass the sensitivity readers' test this time. I've been leaning.
    2. I'm also dealing with the aftermath of one character attempting to rape another. Because it was attempted rape (ripped clothing), not actual, the assaulter couldn't be justifiably executed for the offense. I did this on purpose because... well I just didn't want to have a character be raped for one... but I also wanted to show how messy life after judgment is. Said would-be rapist is heavily punished all through book 1, and bears the consequences of his actions for the whole series. It lets me explore themes of justice, redemption, and atonement throughout the series as well. It's all very interesting IMO, which is why I wrote it, but oh god are these messy topics and I hope people aren't up in arms about how I'm handling them.

    Ok, I'm done fussing now. Been wanting to talk about this for a while and finally found the right place for it. Thanks. Next time I post I'll have fun book 3 construction ideas to yack about.
     
  3. Gryphon

    Gryphon Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Sounds fun.
     
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  4. WaywardDreaming

    WaywardDreaming Level 6 (Footpad) Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    I'm glad the second book is on the way! I'm mostly through the first, and I'm enjoying it pretty well so far. You definitely have two interesting leads. Not reading under that spoiler for obvious reasons, though. XD
     
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  5. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Yay! Thanks! You just made my day! ^_____^

    (Yeah, stay away from even the blurb for book 2, it's impossible to talk about book 2 without some spoilers.)
     
  6. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Working on FFO3 while 2 is still in production is weird. But that's just cause book 2 is massive and copy editing takes forever. I want to tweet about book 3 but I can't cause book 2 isn't even out yet.

    Anyway, I'm happy with my writing on book 3 overall. Book 2's first draft was 185,000 words and it ballooned to 225,000 words in the edits. With book 3 I have been ruthless about chasing fewer rabbits, staying on target, hopping over detours, and keeping the drama tight. As such, I'm 2/3rd of the way through now and the first draft is only 85,000 words. I have hopes that the book witll be 100k-110k by the end. Toss in edits and it might "only" be 150k in size. Still big boned, but so much easier to handle commercially.

    This all assumes it survives my editor (Rachel) of course.

    Whew! :)
     
  7. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    FFO3, Chapter 12 - a fireside chat with the most amazing NPC which goes on for 6000 words.

    I'm pretty convinced that there is no way readers won't be bored by the chapter I've written. It is literally all conversation. I tell myself that it's a really interesting conversation wherein I reveal all the final secrets of the series and explain how everything happened and why it happened. Like pulling a string and the whole puzzle just snaps together.

    But it's really just three characters sitting and having a Q&A session. I don't see how this is going to work for anyone less interested in the book than I am. (i.e. no one.)

    Not sure how long of a conversation I can get away with though. 2000 words? 4000? How long is too long for this super-important reveal-packed dialogue? Hell if I know.

    And I still have to write the 2-3000 word escape scene at the end of this chapter. So this thing is gonna be beast of a chapter.

    My plan at the moment,
    1. Keep writing as it is, letting the characters yack, until I reach the end and things start blowing up again.
    2. Go back and list all the important points of the conversation.
    3. Ruthlessly cut 50% of the convo at least. Find a way to crystalize it down to those crucial points only.
    4. Ad more drama and conflict somehow to the dialogue. The stakes are already there, but I'm not bringing them out well at all because I've been prioritizing "teh revealz" instead.
     
  8. WaywardDreaming

    WaywardDreaming Level 6 (Footpad) Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Not sure if it's really kosher to comment, and I won't again if you'd prefer, but I really enjoy characters having conversations. Granted, they should still be contributing to the plot in some way, but...frankly, I get a little turned off when writers seem to think every conflict/chapter has to have some kind of violent or otherwise action-y element in order to be interesting. Your dialogue is one of your biggest writing strengths; don't be hesitant to use it. That said, it sounds like you have a good plan for this.
     
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  9. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Totally kosher. You made my day with this. Thanks ^_^

    The start of the book is mostly just talking, in tents no less haha. But that's dramatic talking. I supposed I'm nervous because chapter 12 feels like it's a massive info dump. This late in the series, the readers are hopefully cool with some info dumping as curiosity will be at a maximum. But there are limits and I worry that I crossed them a few thousand words ago.
     
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  10. Windfall

    Windfall Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I’m gonna read this next :)

    And you just made me feel better about my 5000-word convo to explain some game mechanics :p
     
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  11. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I have figured out how to tame that beastly conversation and it only took me 10 days. Sheesh. If this wasn't one of the most important convos in the entire series...

    Anyway, here's what I wound up doing.

    I broke the chapter into 3 scenes. There's getting to the big NPC. There's the conversation with big NPC. Last is the escape from big NPC. That scene 1 of intro and building tension, a scene of conversation with our lives on the line, and the escape/action scene. Every scene starts with a clear goal and problem for the MC and ends with an important decision which propells us to the next scene.

    To fix the conversation, I first wrote it naturally and it was the aforementioned mess. Then I analyzed it down to just the crucial facts, reactions, realizations, and decisions that made it work. Then I regrouped and reorganize those points into something not-confusing and much more concise. (Everything I deemed unessential got chucked into the cuts bin.)

    For example: Part 1 of the conversation is "history lesson" which is now only a few paragraphs of The Actually Important Stuff (tm) as opposed to a rambling 50% of the damn chapter. Part 2 is the hero's decision on what to do with that new knowledge. This was a vital change as I am now able to focus on the MC asking questions based on trying to get what he wants. Part 3 is montaged as the MC buys time to escape with their new knowledge.

    Part 2 is really important. Before I had my MC asking the questions that I wanted him to ask because the answers revealed information that I wanted the reader to know. Aka. "Mah world-building! I worked so hard on it. Read! Read!" That was the biggest problem of this whole affair TBH. Now the MC talks like a real person- using words to try to get what he wants and needs from a very dangerous man. This keeps the conversation focused towards solving the problem we entered the scene with and removes that whole "is this a waste of time?" feeling I kept having with previous versions.

    Whew!

    All that said, I hope it's actually good. I'll find out when Rachel looks at it. (the advantages of having a co-author.)
     
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  12. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    The fun: FFO2: Last Bastion has a set release date of April 25th! It'll be simultaneous with the audio release which will be a first for us. I'm gonna get pre-orders and reveals going soon.

    TODO this week: rip out the final battle of the final book of the series b/c it's terrible. I've been piling up badass fighting tactics for IRL raiders to use against the ultimate boss and behold -- the fight as written is just a battle. Move, counter-move, HP going down. It's gonna be so hella boring to anyone who isn't me. I forgot that the battle still has to be a functional story.

    Old words are boat anchors in this case. Gonna toss the whole chapter starting with the first sword swing and rewrite it. This time, starting with a structure. Since this is just a 3000-word segment, I'm gonna try to apply 3-act and see if that works.

    The good: I'm keeping this one scene that happens in the middle of the battle because it's character drama gold and I'm so proud of it.
     
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  13. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Moving has gotten in the way of writing like a hungry cat on a laptop. Still stuck on the final battle of the series but only because I've had no time or brains to work on it. I'm really looking forward to getting my house on the market so I can stop working on it.

    Hell, once my house is up for sale and the agent is showing it, I'll be sorta exiled from it. Being trapped with only my laptop in the public library for hours every day will be very focusing, I imagine.
     
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  14. Windfall

    Windfall Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Just finished Book 1 and liked it a lot! Good thing I only have to wait 3 more days for the second book :D
     
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  15. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Yay! Thanks so much.

    You made my day, Windfall. ^_^
     
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  16. Paul Bellow

    Paul Bellow Forum Game Master Staff Member Shop Owner LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Sounds like a good Stephen King novel! ;)

    Good luck with everything.
     
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  17. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    I can only hope, haha. Thanks
     
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  18. Yuli Ban

    Yuli Ban Level 18 (Magician) LitRPG Author Citizen Aspiring Writer

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    Reading the first book as we speak! I don't have an Audible account, though.
     
  19. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    Awesome! Thanks! ^_^

    I hope you like it.
     
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  20. TravisBach

    TravisBach Level 15 (Guardian) LitRPG Author Citizen

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    FFO2 is out - https://amzn.to/2VzAfeU
    And the first few reviews are pretty glowingly positive. I'm so relieved!
    Now to post frantically on all the social medias!
     




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