Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Fork in the Freelancing Road



There are many different types of freelancers, and I'm one of them. I toil at the day job, fighting with clients and bosses and underlings and administrators, pushing out deadline after grueling deadline, all so I can go home, sit in front of another computer, and fight deadlines of a more welcomed nature. Sadly, sometimes things come into conflict between the two and the day job must take precedence, because my wife says so. I generally just do what she tells me.

In any case, my career situation is such that I have made a choice on the writing end of things, to only take on one contract or project at a time. It's hard enough for me to keep the day job at bay when I have only one iron in the writing fire that trying to juggle freelancing projects is a recipe for disaster and disappointment all around. I have just finished and submitted Chaos Earth: First Responders for Palladium Books, completing that agreement, and await the fulfillment of my contract for my Chaos Earth Psychics article, which will be some time after The Rifter #50 is published in April. So, what to do next? Let's look at the three forks in the road. Three tines in the fork? How does that expression work with three choices? Anyway...


Fork #1: Homebrew RPG
I have ongoing plans to build a setting of my own. It mashes up traditional fantasy elements with a theme of expansionism as seen in North America at the height of Manifest Destiny and the race to the Pacific. Political intrigue between rival kingdoms, with a forsaken Emperor across the sea trying to regain dominion over his colonies. An epic setting, with massive mountain ranges and bottomless canyons, but the level of the supernatural is very low. Native nonhumans that inhabit the land and resist being pushed westward, or else ally themselves with the race of men. I think it has a lot of promise, both as a game setting as well as a basis for some literary work. In any case, it should be a good time, and fun to write.

Fork #2: Fight On!
I am intrigued by the relatively new magazine of old-school gaming, Fight On! It comes very heavily recommended to me by Zachary the First over at RPG Blog II, and I have anxiously awaited the opportunity to check it out. The premise is certainly interesting, as stated on the publisher's website:
Fight On! is a journal of shared fantasy. We who read and write for this magazine are a community of role-playing enthusiasts unified by our love of the freewheeling, do-it-yourself approach that birthed this hobby back in the 1970's. We are wargamers who write our own rules and fantasists who build our own worlds, weekend warriors sharing dreams of glory and authors collaborating on tales of heroism and valor. We talk, paint, draw, write, act, costume, build, and roll dice in service of our visions.
We game. And you're welcome to join us.
It just so happens that I have a mini-setting that would be perfect for this. Of my current options, this may be the frontrunner.

Fork #3: The Novel
I think that all writers aspire to this most daunting of projects. I actually have what I think is my novel, working in my head. This isn't just another writing project, but something that I think might be really special. We all have something that we want to tell the world, and I think this is that something, for me. It might actually be a novella by the time I'm done, because I don't know how long it will be when I've finished saying what I have to say. In any case, I'm not going to lie. This one scares me. Writing role-playing books or short stories is one thing, but putting yourself out there to actually publish this much of yourself for others to read and judge is a tough assignment.

What will I do? How will I proceed? I'm going to take a week or so and mull it over. I don't like to jump into projects lightly.

But in the end, I'll probably just do whatever my wife tells me.

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