Well, that's not the best start to the year, to post basically nothing for the first three months. Bit of a tale to tell regarding that, so let's see what's been happening.
Short and Sweet
A mix of personal issues, new developments in my life, and getting distracted with secondary material has contributed to me having essentially nothing to post for the last few months. My active time in RPG Maker before this past week was maybe ten hours in the entirety of January-March. On the plus side, I've completed what turned out to be vastly more extensive writing exercise than I thought it'd be when I started, which has led to a considerable amount of world-building for Doramor City and Dorlish culture, and some elements of this will be integrated into Unto the Breach. I also wrote another novella that ties into my main novel I've been working on, The Legacy of Terranis, along with some other writing plans.
Also I'm back at it with the game, and I'm almost 1/3 to completion with the Doramor Palace maps.
The Juicier Stuff
Alright, here's some more expansive details on what's been going on.
The bad: I'm still stuck in my current job, and it's been getting increasingly difficult to maintain a positive outlook on things, despite some (very) minor improvements. Until that changes, it's going to be difficult to stay motivated. Part of what's been going on has been my withdrawing into the writing exercise I was doing, as that was low-pressure with no hard, defined goal, I just...let the characters speak (something I always hear about, but honestly this is the first time I myself have encountered this in my own writing for more than a single scene or two. In fact, the later part of the narrative wound up going in a totally different direction than I thought it might initially).
The good: I'm buying a house! That's eaten up most of the last month with searching, viewings, extensive text conversations with my realtor and loan officer, signing an absolutely absurd amount of paperwork (nine forms just to put in a bid!), and lots and lots of anxious waiting. I should be moved in by the end of this month, after which things should settle down a bunch. I also became an uncle at the start of March!
Also also I went to Adepticon for the first time in three years, which was a ton of fun (but also had the usual stressors of me not having my army fully painted, heh).
OK, enough about me, you're here to read about Unto the Breach and the Templarverse. Let me talk about this writing exercise.
So, about four and a half years ago, I had a particularly vivid dream set in Doramor City. Like, an entire full narrative, complete with a brilliant opening line and possible follow-up threads. Come morning, I wrote a short story about it. And then I decided to keep going. It kept going, and going, and going. At the beginning of April, last week, I finished the second novel-length story of the character introduced in my dream.
Yeah, I wrote two entire novels, with a combined length of nearly 280k words. All giving backstory to a character that's "on-screen" in Unto the Breach for, like, five minutes.
The second novel involves his early(ish) days working at the palace, and so a few characters from that novel will make appearances in some capacity as minor NPCs in Unto the Breach as well.
Now, I suppose the obvious follow-up question is regarding possible publication or something. To which I have to say, "Probably not." Thing is, the general style and theme of the novels was...not something I'm used to writing, which was part of the whole point of it, to push me outside my comfort zone. While I think I eventually got pretty comfortable with the writing part, I am still far from comfortable with actually sharing the work with a wider audience. In fact I only just shared the first book with my girlfriend of 4+ years a couple weeks ago, it took me that long to work up the guts just for that.
So, they'll probably never see the broader light of day, which is a bit of a shame considering the sheer volume of material between the two books (The Legacy of Terranis is barely 100k, or at least the draft is). Or maybe they will, down the road, if I feel more comfortable with it. If nothing else, it was a ton of writing practice and character studies, as well as the aforementioned world-building for Doramor City and Dorlish culture in general (for instance figuring out what a Dorlish Ascensionist wedding would consist of, or the typical structure of school).
It also paid off in improving another story I wrote which WILL be getting published in some capacity, hopefully this year. I did a prequel novella to The Legacy of Terranis, centered around probably my favorite character from the novel, Lyara Keshin. In the novel, she's a freelance cargo runner/smuggler who gets hired by Lieutenant Hercule Girard (distant ancestor of Alex in Unto the Breach) to escape the Delta Gamma 421 system as the Great Enemy invades, though things...don't quite go to plan. The prequel story is her final job before coming to Delta Gamma 421, and it was an absolute blast to write, both the character and the story. It clocks in at about 19.5k words. Once I have something figured out, I'll be sure to share news.
Now that Malthus' story is complete, I feel ready to get back to The Legacy of Terranis. It really bugs me I've let it sit for so long, but, as always, there's only so many hours in the day. Alongside it, however, I also plan on going back and revisiting Unto the Breach: The Gathering. It's hard to believe it's been almost 12 years since I wrote that story. I've changed a lot, and so has Terranis. I want to go back and revise the story, update some of the world-building details, probably clean up the writing style a bit (I certainly hope I've gotten better in the intervening years!), and, perhaps most importantly, add on to it and make it an anthology instead of just a novella. I have three short stories planned (one of which is 95% done), one for each of the other three main characters that join you over the course of Unto the Breach. I'd like to include a fourth story, but I haven't decided what it'd be yet. There's a couple other stories I've written over the years I could easily include, but wouldn't be keeping with the "gathering" theme of the main characters coming together, so I'll have to think about it.
So yeah, lots and lots of writing. It extends to Unto the Breach as well with NPC dialogue. But of course there can always be more! Meanwhile, I'm also working on finishing off the maps for the palace. The first floor is about 3/4 done, the second floor is about 1/4 done, and the dungeon is basically unstarted beyond greyboxing.
I'm going to forego the progress graphics this month, since said progress is so marginal. But hopefully I'll have something to bust out with them next month.
So yeah. I'm back, baby! Stay tuned for more lore articles as well!