Friday, April 12, 2024

Writing Update

The third story in the Larenfall Cycle is out to beta readers and I'm awaiting their input.  So now I'm turning my attention to two other projects.  First is taking four different stories I wrote several years ago and turning them into something I can put up on Amazon KDP.  They begin with "Thunder Canyon" which appeared in the anthology Rage of the Behemoth.  (Link should be over to the right.)  I kept writing stories with the main character, Rath, looking for his wife who was taken by slavers.  Since the fourth story was never really finished and the whole thing doesn't have an ending, this project will require a bit of work.  Second is creating a D&D adventure based in the Realms of Eldara.  That one has a skeleton framework already but will need quite a bit of fleshing out.  So that's what's going to keep me busy over the next month or so.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

One of My Favorite Things

 I have a few favorite things.  Near the top of the list, right below Girls in White Dresses With Blue Satin Sashes, is typing THE END on the last page of a first draft.

 This morning I did that with the latest story in the Larenfall Cycle.  Finished the epilogue (which we seem to collectively call the 'post credits scene' nowadays) and sat back, triumphant.  It's sitting around 52K words right now and we'll see what survives the editing process.  Soon I'll be recruiting beta readers and getting feedback.  Hopefully I'll have it complete by the time Gen Con rolls around in August.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Larenfall Cycle Update

 "Lines in the Sand" is continuing.  I'm at 35K words and I'm starting part four of a planned three part story.  The word count is now projected at 40-45K and the story has become more complicated than I originally intended.  By that, I mean that I keep coming up with new ideas to throw into it and will let it all shake out in the editing process.  

 Like almost all my stories, things come into focus as I write.  Possible motivations and scenes and endings all present themselves after I've already laid down the foundations I thought I'd be using.  This is just my process.  I make a note somewhere to go change something in a previous scene in order to make the new continuity flow towards the ending that I build.  Then I keep writing until I have to do it again.

 I'm definitely thinking that I will publish this, probably through Amazon KDP, in an expanded format with character and creature statblocks, new sub-class descriptions, spells, weapons and all the other D&D stuff that forms the base for these stories.  That, of course, means negotiating a licensing agreement with the amazing Evan Blair.  Exciting times.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Realms of Eldara Story Update

   Still pounding away at my latest story "Lines in the Sand".  It's up to 30K words and I think I'm still on track to hit about 50K.  The middle is proving to be tough to write my way through but that's not unexpected.  At this moment I'm vacillating between two potential endings and it's a 50/50 split on which one I'll use.  

  I really want to have the first draft done before the end of March so I have a hope of finishing before this summer and the potential for an "Eldaracon" meetup at GenCon in Indy.  After that, depending on the ending I choose I'll either have one more story in the Larenfall Cycle or none.  Time will tell.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

The Saga of Othren Four-Scars

 Next up in my foray into self publication is an e-book and future paperback that combines a couple of my sold stories and an unpublished prequel story.  I've called it The Saga of Othren Four-Scars and it is a compilation of The Battle of Raven Kill, The Feorhmaeghan, and The Witch of the Westmoors.  (Side note: I've taken away access to the Google docs for these Amazon stories because I'm pretty sure the agreement with Kindle Select is that they have to be exclusive to Amazon.)

 So, the experiment continues.  Link to the new e-book is right here: The Saga of Othren Four-Scars: As told in three stories: The Battle of Raven Kill, The Feorhmaegan, The Witch of the Westmoors eBook : Draper, Jeff: Kindle Store

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Amazon Kindle Editions Now Rolling Out

 I've started making compilations of old stories and formatting them for Amazon's Kindle e-book system.  The first test is up and running.  "Protector" has its own page on Amazon.  More stories to be released in the coming months. Protector eBook : Draper, Jeff: Kindle Store

Friday, November 17, 2023

Next Realms of Eldara Story

 OK, what started as a bit of a lark has become a more intensive writing project.  The third story in The Larenfall Cycle is firmly underway and it's tentatively titled "Lines in the Sand."  That was my first title and it has a very good shot at staying the title.  It just seems to fit the vibe of the story I'm going for.  There are some literal lines in the sand and there are some figurative lines as well, as characters find themselves with unaligned goals and ultimatums are given.

  This is turning out to be longer than any of the others and probably will approach novel size all by itself.  I'm at 20K words and I'm just starting Part Two of a projected 3 parts.  It's taking these characters into new places, both within the Shattered Sea and within their relationships.  I'm still keeping track of combat rounds and hit points and spells since it is a D&D based story, but the real narrative is less about the monsters and the traps and more about how these characters are growing and changing.  We'll see if I end up getting it right.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

New Project Phase 2

 Really can't call this a 'new' project by now but it's what I'm doing.  My next story in Evan Blair's Realms of Eldara fantasy RPG setting is called "The Bad King" and it's live and online for all who are interested.  The link will take you to the story in two formats, one is a regular Word document, and the other is a .pdf mockup of what the future might hold.  I'm starting to get crazy thoughts about publication.  The next story in the cycle is underway and I have an idea for a fourth.  If I can pull this off, I'll have about 100K words and that is novel length.  That kind of volume presents opportunities.  

But first, I give you: The Bad King

Sunday, September 03, 2023

The Battle of Raven Kill Again

 Next up is The Battle of Raven Kill.  It's posted on Google at: The Battle of Raven Kill

This one was a big step up from my first sale.  Much grittier, much more blood, much more splattered brain matter, and a charming father-daughter story all rolled into one.

I sold this to the amazing Jason Waltz at Rogue Blades!  You'll see his name come up again here; he's a scholar and a gentleman and I owe a lot to him.

Two versions:  Original piece that I sold and another file with embedded author's notes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Hosting and Posting

 I've started up a Google Drive to share my previous stories and host the new project as well.  The first link is to my first story ever published.  It was called "Protector" and it was published back in 2006.  I've got both the original version and one with author's notes.

Friday, May 26, 2023

New Project (Phase 1) Complete

 All right, the first story in my fanfic series set in the Realms of Eldara is finished.  All revisions are complete and there's no more fiddling with it.  That's a good thing because I'm almost done with the first draft of the second story.  (Phase 2, if you must know.)

  The story ended up being called "Stones Like Rain" and it's part of what I'm calling "The Larenfall Cycle".  It follows an adventure with four classic D&D characters; a fighter, magic-user, cleric, and a thief.  (Yes, when I get to their backstory I'll figure out how to have them meet in a tavern.)  That is the most stereotypical party of adventurers imaginable so I went straight at it.  Interesting side note: as I was writing I found out again how balanced a party with those four classes is.  Stereotypes exist for a reason, folks.

  It has a compelling villain since I've talked many times about how important the villain of a story is.  It has high stakes with a threat to an entire city if they fail.  It also has relationships that are tested and reinforced.  And it has at least one decapitation.  You know, all the good stuff.

  Right now I'm hosting it on my Google Drive and working on how to release it.  More on that later.  I'm also working on hosting all of my previously sold pieces there as well for free reading.

  One of the really fun things about this new group of stories is that I'm also going to release a version with the game mechanics running down a side column.  When the heroes enter into combat you can read the standard thrilling prose of the main story and also see what the attack and damage rolls were.  There was no other way to present a story based on a D&D 5E ruleset.  Also, another version is going to have the story with embedded author's commentary just like your favorite movie on DVD.

  And of course: D&D character sheets for the band of heroes.  You'll get to see all their stats and abilities and spells and such.  That way you can have great fun second guessing the author and saying in your bestest, most condescending voice: "Well, anyone who knows the rules would have cast Lightning Bolt instead of Fireball there.  This guy's an idiot."

Thursday, January 26, 2023

New Projects

 That last story was finished in time for the holidays and I immediately started working on another.  This project is a little different.  I wrote a story grounded in D&D rules and based in a world created by an excellent Twitch streamer, Evan Blair.  (EvanBlairArt - Twitch

His world is called Tellaria and it's one of the Realms of Eldara.  All his own creations.  The story I wrote is essentially a fanfic and isn't saleable anywhere but I had great fun with it.  There were two things that created the most difficulty fun.  First was trying to fit the tone of Evan's shared world idea.  I had to take his lore and the various Known Things in Eldara and adapt those into a story that both honored his creations and also was a separate creation of my own.  I've loved writing in shared worlds before and I'm happy to have a chance to do it again.  (Ed.- 'shared world' is a very ephemeral title, as nothing is really released publicly that would be considered 'shared' and this is all pre-debut.)  Second, I found it challenging to write a story that had to follow specific game rules.  It's not as easy as you might think.  Games and fiction are two different mediums and they have different goals for the type of user experience they deliver.  Hacking away at monsters is perfectly good fun when playing D&D.  It's not that great to read about.  Similarly, a story arc in fiction has elements of tension and resolution that are just not present in a game system.  There also has to be a balance in the action beats that don't always happen in D&D.

But, like I said, it was great fun.  More stuff like this to follow.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

The New Story

My current writing project is an excellent example of an idea in search of a story.  I finished a story that flowed quickly and felt easy.  Then I had an idea for another story and started in on it.  Then I realized that the idea didn't have the sticking power in my mind and it drifted for a month or so with no progress.

The issue is that an idea doesn't always mean you're ready to start.  I should have recognized that I didn't have defined characters, didn't have a plot beyond "get to the top of the tower and fight", and I didn't have a resolution or even a hook that needed resolving.  Therefore, it should be no surprise that the momentum faltered.

But now things are starting to gel and I have a vision for the characters, their relationship to each other, and how to bring this to a satisfying conclusion.  Of course, the first sections are going to need complete revision but that's all part of the deal.  This one should be done before the end of the year.

Thursday, October 27, 2022


 OK, it looks like I need to update this site a bit because I've gotten back into writing.  First thing I needed to do is remember my password here.  Failed.  Updated password and regained control of the blog.  Second thing I need to do is come up with a witty post to mark this memorable occasion.  Failing.  Review options for success.  Few.  Abandon post?  Yes.