First of all I want to apologise for the small blog post yesterday. It was late, and I was in definite need of some rest after finishing the latest draft of my novel The Z-List Celebrities. I wanted to put something down, but even the few paragraphs felt a little stake and uninspiring, so I thought i’d give a little more in todays post to make up for it.
So it’s a Saturday and i’ve spent it at the computer, finally realising how I can fit together all of my ideas for the boardgame i’m working on called The Messengers of God. The title is a little Christian, but I was left to develop the rest of the ideas myself, and I wanted to write about a world that had turned its back on faith, not just in a religious or spiritual sense, but for the world and the people in it.
I didn’t want to be part of something that forced religion down peoples throats, which is something I don’t condone, if people want to express or explore their faith they should be free to do so at their leisure. I don’t want something that is sort of fantasy, but basically gives a big thumbs up to core Christian qualities, because I feel it would cheapen the message of the game.
Instead I wanted to focus on the idea that you need faith in your life, and it should primarily come from within, and the things you do should be to benefit the world which has sustained you. The idea where the world has turned in on itself isn’t too difficult to imagine with all of the recent conflicts going on, and I wanted a setting where there seemed to be a lot of finger pointing, but ultimately points towards each and every one of us.
In the game you play as one of six messengers, who are aspects of the Cosmic God, and are desperately trying to create some sense of order, allowing people to figure out what’s truly important before the game ends and everything turns to chaos. the aim of the game is to be the player with the most faith.
Players take turns placing coloured counters on the map-based board, to signify either advancements in their own faithful cities, or their attempts to control and influence the remaining faithless cities. There are three coloured counters: Red (Military), Yellow (Industry), and Blue (Influence), which are used to develop cities into strongholds, trade-ports, or faith-states, which in turn spread influence to neighbouring cities.
While the messengers attempt to influence the world, they also find that they must also react to the unpredictability of nature: assassinations, giant attacks, corrupt officials, mine collapses, and more, which can push cities over the edge and lose faith, while the messengers focus on competing against one another to prove who’s the best.
It’s a lot of fun, and pretty easy to understand, which should hopefully bring people a lot of fun, before they grow bored and MOG is placed out of sight somewhere dark and cobwebbed, as it drifts into the boardgame afterlife.
I still can’t believe I have the privilege to work on a boardgame, not to mention having to work it from the ground up. It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me, and it happened because I decided against sense to apply for a job I didn’t think I would get, but looked really cool.
I can’t stress enough the importance of just going after what you want, even if you think you’re not going to be any good, because you might surprise yourself. I knew my chances would improve if I applied, and when I got the job I knew I had hit a turning point in my writing career, which was about five months old at that point.
It’s been tough, and there have been a few issues, which is what you can expect when you’re new at all of this, but I can’t deny it’s been one of the most interesting parts of my writing so far. I have over thirty thousand words of fantasy and Sci-Fi backstory written which won’t be included in this project, and that’s ok because i’m just going to keep it and use it for something else.
Maybe i’ll try and find some people to make another boardgame with, one where there are libraries out in the desert, filled with strange scholars dedicated to understanding the nature of magic through the powers of words. Maybe i’ll work it all into my short stories, or as i’ve been thinking a lot lately., maybe they will end up in a novel. I’m certainly surprised at the ideas that came to me, but that’s all part of sticking to deadlines, it forces your brain to make some interesting decisions; not all are good but write them down anyway, they might work better with a later project.
I’m also very excited about finishing this project because it means I don’t have this huge shadow over me, causing me to slightly resent working on other projects. My brains feels a little untidy when it has projects that aren’t finished, and I feel dirty when I abandon them for something new and shiny.
I have about thirty thousand words of a unrelated novel I was working on last year, and i’m strongly thinking that i should just carry on with that and see where it goes. It’s completely unrelated to my first novel Z-List Celebrities, mainly because I didn’t like the idea of only working on one specific style, and forcing myself into a creative corner. That isn’t to say I don’t love the Z-List universe, but I can already see where it’s going, and while that’s wonderful i’d like to try something else, something where i’m a little confused as to how to make it work.
I’ve been a little bewildered since the start of the year, wondering what i’m going to do, and how to make money while still having fun, and while it’s still a little scary i’ve accepted that the best thing I can do is go at everything with an open mind. The best opportunities seems to unfold when I take the time to get out of my head, and just listen. Worry has its place, and it’s a reoccurring character in everyones life, but there is a lot to be said about accepting the control you have over these situations. Times are tough, and you have the opportunity to deal with it however you want, and i’m going to try and capture the moment so I can write it down.
I also miss the northern hills, something which I don’t get much of so close to Manchester. There are trees, which are lovely, but it’s not the same. I miss the odd looks from the sleeping sheep, the cold air across my face, and those moments where I can sit at the top of the hill and just marvel at the world below me. I don’t regret much when I decided to move so I could write, but I do regret the fact I can’t just walk up the road and climb one.
Tomorrow is Sunday, which means i’ll be posting a short story on here for you to read. I’ve written five or so new short stories since the new year, and they range in style from strange, to downright silly, so i’m sure i’ll find one suitable for that relaxing Sunday vibe.
If you’ve liked what you read and want to support me while I make stuff up for a living then head over to my Patreon and give me some money to buy a coffee or a pen or something. If not I hope you’ve done something creative today, and try and share it, who knows you may just encourage someone else to try something.