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OOC: What would commissioned stories look like...?

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Kartanian
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OOC: What would commissioned stories look like...?

Hi folks,

I'm posting in RP because that's where collaborative stories are being written, but this is potentially a little off-topic. (It's also my once-or-twice-a-year fiction promotional announcement. Superhero, fantasy, and science fiction novels: http://bit.ly/sdpbooks for the "gallery." There. Spread the word, as appropriate.) BTW: "Power Struggles" is close to being finished after a four-month break in writing. My mom's death kind of sapped a bit of creative energy out of me for that particular project for a while.

I've commissioned artwork from time to time, like the cover art for my Venture City superhero novels and other smaller pieces. As I'm in the process of setting up a Patreon page, I am wondering if short fiction commissions might be a viable thing. It would certainly be fun as hell for me to do! I do the same sort of thing for corporate training clients all the time, but there are some pretty big differences.

Because the stories about people's personal characters reside in their heads already--with lots of head-canon--is commissioned short story viable as a thing? If so, what should I charge for it to give good value?

Any thoughts, reactions, or suggestions?

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

Lothic
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First off sorry for the

First off sorry for the passing of your Mom...

As far as your short fiction commission idea goes just how "short" were you thinking? I could almost see a market for people to pay for well-crafted character summaries that could potentially fit within CoH's 1,024 character limit bio descriptions.

For instance sometimes I could come up with a cool bio description for a character but it would come out to say 1,500 characters and it would frankly be a PITA to try to "wordsmith" it back back down to the 1,024 limit. I might actually be willing to pay someone for that service. ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Kartanian
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*chuckle* I like the

*chuckle* I like the character summaries idea. I had not thought about that. (See below for an example of doing just that kind of bio work.)

My concept of short is somewhere in the 1,500-2,500 words range--enough to include a good intro and one action or character scene with a satisfying resolution. I typically do fiction writing at a pace of 500-750 words per hour, when revisions and editing are considered.

CHARACTER BIO CONVERSION EXAMPLE (World of Warcraft, Night Elf Death Knight)

(ORIGINAL: 2,871 characters, including spaces and name)

LUNADELLE MOONWHISPER

I am young, by the standards of my people, but I have seen and experienced much. That I am now of the living dead only serves to heighten my conviction to protect those that I can.

I was trained as a Sentinel, assigned to the windrider cavalry, and even promoted to an officer's rank by the time I was 120. I served in Ashenvale, Feralas, and then given a special assignment in Silverpine Forest. My command was for the 6th Feathermoon Group was to monitor and assist along the Gilnean border. I did not realize the significance of that assignment until much later. My troops and I did much to covertly aid Gilneas and Southern Lordaeron, though very few knew of our presence. Indeed, my death went unnoticed by the very people I was protecting.

We were to prevent the feral worgen from infiltrating and overwhelming Gilneas, but what we found was a mass of the Scourge. Caught between the Forsaken, the Scourge, and the great Wall southwest of Pyrewood, we stood and fought. Lord Crowley's people and our Moonpriestess escaped, but most of us fell to wave after wave of the Scourge. The bolt of shadow blackened my vision and my life ended.

Except that I came to consciousness--I won't say that I really awoke--as one of the undead, in the fortress of Acherus. I was stronger, faster, tougher, and very, very hungry. They had brought me back to a semblance of life as a death knight. Let me just pass over that time, except to say that while I resisted the Lich King as best I could, I committed horrible acts. Knowing what I was, I should have let my spirit slip from my body, but I have always been stubborn. My will to exist was too strong to give in. I fought, instead. When the opportunity came to break free, I did. I escaped the Plaguelands and journeyed, trying to find myself; to find what I was and what I should be.

These days, the essence of dreaming glory and shreds of arcane magic keep me whole. I use the cold, dark power within me to seek Elune's grace, or at least as much of it as I can grasp in this state. I can help, and I can fight evil for good and the innocent. In the Jade Forest of Pandaria I learned important lessons of balance. I am always cold, but it doesn't bother me. The warmth I feel from battle, or the good deeds I attempt to do, keeps my heart from freezing like so many of my peers.

I will keep doing what I can to remember what is right and good, and to keep the ice within me under control. Friends make that easier, though my own people are--rightly--hesitant to allow me near. Now, I seek to learn what happened to the friends I lost and to be reinstated as a Sentinel Commander. While General Shandris is encouraging, so many others remain skeptical. I have to admit that I am uncertain myself whether I should lead another group of Sentinels, my living sisters, when I can no longer fully share in that life.

(SHORTENED: 1,022 characters, including spaces and name)

LUNADELLE MOONWHISPER

I am young, by the standards of my people, but I have seen and experienced much. Being dead only strengthens my will to protect the living.

I was trained as a Sentinel, assigned to the windrider cavalry, and promoted before turning 120. Sent to Silverpine, my troops and I secretly aided Gilneas. My death went unnoticed by the very people I was protecting.

Caught between the Scourge and the Wall, we stood and fought. The humans escaped, but many of my sisters fell to endless waves of Scourge. A bolt of shadow blackened my vision and my life ended, only to find myself raised as one of Arthas’ death knights.

I resisted as best I could, but I committed many horrible acts. I should have let my spirit slip from my body, but I have always been stubborn. I fought. When the chance came, I escaped.

Now I use the cold, dark power within me to seek Elune's grace. The warmth I feel from battle keeps my heart from freezing. I will fight for what is right and good, to keep the ice within me under control.

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

DesViper
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Sorry to hear about your mom

Sorry to hear about your mom :( That can definitely sap any creative energy for awhile, sometimes indefinitely.

I could definitely see "tales of..." sort of thing being viable as a commission stream :) I presume bios are a bit picky and take a lot of collaboration, but maybe that's just me.


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Sorry for your loss. Losing

Sorry for your loss. Losing loved ones is never easy.

As for the main topic of the thread. Prepare to do a lot of rewrites, I think.

You'll probably have to work closer with the character's creator than say, a visual artist, for someone making a picture of a character needs only know what they look like whereas an author needs to know what they look like, how they act, how they sound, how they talk, how they move, and possibly a bunch of other things I haven't even thought of.

Sundancer doesn't walk, she sashays. She doesn't say "Halt, evil doer!" She says "Face me, villains!" Etc.

That's not even getting into various tones and styles that they could want.

Is it viable? Maybe. How much to charge? No clue. How much time would it take to write one, and how much is your time worth?

"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to."

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I found that a fine way to

I found that a fine way to condense a good story was to use 'poetics'. Poetry is a classic way of cramming a lot of 'feels' and other information into a dense format. Better still, it doesn't actually have to rhyme.

For one of my characters, I simply set out to 'declaim' the tale like a Scandinavian Epic...

"So, long and long and long ago I, Alflogi son of Ljótr, was a warrior-poet of the Vanir.
Then came the Aesir, out of the east - we battled fiercely, but they proved stronger.
To end the conflict and ensure the peace, we exchanged hostages. Our lord's son, Yngvi went to join the Aesir and I was with him. Soon the tribes united, two parts of one nation, fighting together to win the land.
Eventually, long in years, I fell in battle and the Choosers carried my spirit to Valhalla.
There, I found old friends and new, and feasted and fought, as the eras rolled by, unnoticed. One such shield-mate was Donar of the Aesir.
Then the word came, from the lords of Valhalla - 'true warriors' would be chosen to return to the living lands, as emissaries and reminders that Valhalla had not forgotten them. So, I tricked my doughty friend Donar into volunteering with me, and lo, we were chosen, he for the Aesir and I for the Vanir.
Now reborn, we fight together, in this new place of heroes, and mighty indeed shall be our tale!"

Be Well!
Fireheart

Kartanian
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Good thoughts, folks, thanks.

Good thoughts, folks, thanks.

Declaiming would work really well for some characters. That's part of the fun--finding the style that fits the character and story. For some, it has been an entry from Arachnos files. For others, a background story snippet like Lunadelle's, above. For others, the epic style. For still others, a personal reflection.

That's also part of the fun in doing short pieces, too. As a writer, short works let me use different styles. For a novel-length book or series, I have to keep the style internally consistent. (Within certain exceptions, just like comic sometimes get to switch perspective and style for an issue or two.)

Time to launch and experiment as I get content and things loaded and rolling. :)

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

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For telling a story, the

For telling a story, the 'Police Incident Report' could be a good format. I discussed some of my usual story development tools in another post. It seems to me that the format of the 'story' could depend, a lot, on the nature of the character(s) involved. Or on the setting of the 'incident' itself.

A key thought is that not every story needs a 'multi-volume mega-novel'. The whole purpose of a story is to make the neurons go 'Ping!' in the audience's brain. Often, there is the goal of conveying ideas or explaining phenomena. This is not required to be exhaustive or even 'complete'.

I have found, sometimes, it can be FUN to do extensive research on a time-period and use 'real life' as a partial framework for a character's adventures. Sometimes I'll grab an idea from popular myth, old stories I've read, or something suggested by the last visual entertainment I experienced, then deconstruct and analyze the heck out of it. Then I'll 'do it all over, differently' in my story.

Unfortunately, many people think telling stories is 'Easy' and Writing them must, also, be easy. It may be so, that telling a lie is 'easy', but telling a good, compelling story is anything but easy! Writing them is... labor.

Be Well!
Fireheart

Kartanian
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And fun. :)

And fun. :)

Thanks, Fireheart!

(( I did not acknowledge this comment when I first saw it, but I am watching the thread and appreciate the ideas and suggestions. ))

A Wing and a Prayer, A Strong, Strong Wind, All Forests are One - Venture City metahuman novels in the spirit of City of Heroes and other comic book superhero fiction. (http://bit.ly/sdpbooks)

Fireheart
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We must not forget the FUN!

We must not forget the FUN!

As for staging this thread in RP, that is one of the fun things that a writer gets to do. Invent the Role, invent the Setting, then Play it out and write up what happens.

Sometimes that resembles an epic cinematic spectacular, but sometimes it comes out like some dark secret diary, or a psychoanalysis paper. Personally, I often find 'The Threat' is the hardest part to create and I have to work Hard to keep it believable. Ninja Goons do not just pop out of the woodwork and engage in 'epic battle', despite how some artists seem to work it. There needs to be a Reason Why, even if it's not revealed to the reader or the hero, at the time.

Be Well!
Fireheart