December 23rd, 2010

torn world

Today, on the chopping block: Torn World

I've been putting this chopping block post off - at first because I was looking forward to it so much, so I held it as my reward for finishing all the others. Then Val (one of our more active members!) died, and that turned the topic bittersweet: for a while there, I don't think I COULD have written it. It came together today as I got ready to do the Muse Fusion wrapup.

Torn World has been open for just shy of a year now, since January 1, 2010. In that time, we have posted 101 stories, 35 poems, and 87 pieces of artwork, plus dozens of world-building articles and characters. 25 contributors have provided this work. Our canon board consists of 7 people (with me), and we do careful editing on everything that is posted as canon, to ensure that it fits the world and continuity and is of sufficient quality. Several people have expressed so far that the process has really improved their writing, and we've had no real disasters of ego.

Collapse )

Most critical to me, personally, I want to make it easier to jump into the project. Three people in exactly as many days have independently told me that they really want to get involved, but find it daunting. Not that they didn't have time, which I can appreciate (oh, YEAH), but that they weren't sure how, or they were actually too intimidated to.

I... can totally get that: the sheer amount of detail to wade through is epic. And I'm not entirely sure how to fix it, other than to insist that OMG, you guys - it is so worth that first step! The editing board is incredibly good, and you have to know that I wouldn't let them be mean, even if they are picky, and it's so helpful a process that I would like to submit my non-Torn World stories to them. We're really happy to help correct world/canon problems, so you don't need to worry too much about knowing EVERYTHING perfectly before you get started. It's useful to read the contributor's starting article, which spawns off to the most critical information. The forums, though far quieter now than when we started, are still a great place to say hello and bounce ideas around!

I wish I could promise more comments than we get - and I really need to step up and do my share there, but if you like cross-weaving stories, and having control of your own characters, and dancing at the edges of big, huge, world-bending plots, it's so incredibly rewarding and exciting. Our pace is somewhat slow - we don't maintain a strict x for x timeline so that it's marching along without us, and that sometimes means plot lags, but the opportunity to go in and fill in delicious plot holes with side trips and gems of character exploration is worth it. It's seriously like writing fanfiction for your own work - all the world-building structure is already there to play with, and there are so many wonderful, already-developed figures to bounce your own characters off of, plus as much collaborative back and forth as you want. You are welcome to play with the primary figures, too, and so many of them have ready-to-build stories in the history sections of their character sheets. Just add words! Or art!

And if you have other ideas about what would make getting involved easier, I am all ears! I would love any thoughts you might have about making the project accessible and enjoyable, as a reader or contributor.

Chopping block conclusion

Torn World is here to stay. I am still so, so excited about this project. I've had a rather difficult year, and even when this project went directions I didn't anticipate, or activity was down, or I was second-guessing my decisions and being a grumpy grouch because things felt too chaotic or I wanted things I couldn't understand or express, Torn World was a terrific comfort to me. It is thrilling to find a new submission in the queue, and watch the world unfold a tiny bit more with each new poem or piece of art. It's like watching a flower bloom - slow and gorgeous and amazing.

For Christmas? I'd like it if more of my wildly talented friends got involved. :) I want to share this with you!

Today, on the chopping block: Custom Tarot/EMG Tarot

This project is a site for a build-your-own tarot deck. Artists would supply card designs - any number of them from one to an entire deck of their own. Customers could buy cards one at a time, or full decks, or just the major arcana. It would give people a chance to build a deck that really, really spoke to them.

I still really adore this idea, and would still like to see it happen, but there are several roadblocks keeping it from really taking off.

Collapse )


So, the biggest downfall of this idea is expense. An expensive startup cost, and expensive decks. It also relies on an outside source - which I am rather gunshy of doing.

Is it a cool and fascinating idea? Oh, yes. I still love it for that.

Is it practical for now? Not in the slightest.

This project retains its current status: not in the cards for now.

Muse Fusion wrapup

A fun time was had! I rather like the more relaxed timeline, I'll see what the others thought of it. It allowed me to go out and get a Christmas tree without guilt, and I still managed three stories, an article and a sketch.

From ysabetwordsmith's prompt about an apocryphal licence, I got "An Everything License," a story about Jerumal and Denel's boys, arguing about whether an everything licence actually exists. Does it? Well... it does and doesn't! 750 words, sponsor for $10.

From itew's query about an Iowa equivalent, I sat down and wrote up a brief article (about 450 words) about the Mruuna people. It will be public once it's through the review board!

From a triple request for something eclipse related (my own request, kelkyag's and xjenavivex's), I wrote a mammoth (for me!) 2550 word story called 'Darkening Skies', spanning both north and south during an astrological event. It can be sponsored for $25.

And from melissad's query about mental illnesses and psychosis, I got 'Crazy,' in which Oranaan and Denel meet Gliiveran while observing time mad victims in part of the struggle to understand what is happening at the City of Lights. Just shy of 1000 words - Sponsored by nimitzbrood

Story sponsorships mean the story becomes public, rather than being reserved for supporters of the site only.

I also sat down and did a page of sketches, inspired by the prompts, and by the work that my fellow creators were doing for them:

The upper left is an illustration for Deirdre's freebie poem, Winter Follies:

The lovely shoes are an illustration for Lorna's story, These Heels Were Made for Bedding, which has been posted at the forum for contributors.

The eclipses were doodles for my own story, of course.

I will finish These Heels in this style (colored paper with colored pencil) for $35 - you'd receive the original! These Heels

You may also donate generally to randomly make one of these things happen:

I am donating half of what I make this month to the Severn Hospice in Val's name. You may also donate or sponsor using EMG or Torn World credits!

I still want to go back and tackle a half dozen more prompts - this was an inspiring batch. Thank you, guys!