As you may or may not know by now, Heroes of Gracia is a series of original episodic fiction that I’m releasing through such outlets as Amazon.com and RPGNow. What exactly is episodic fiction, you might ask? The simple answer is that most books you read are more like movies. They take a long time to write, a lot of production goes into them, they tend to be long form, and you tend to only get one every year or so, if you’re lucky. Episodic fiction is more like a television series. They still deliver a great story, and (at least in my case) editing and production go into it, but there’s another main differences. It gets released on a much more frequent schedule. I tried a weekly release schedule, found that people needed more time to get their reading done, so I’m switching to a monthly format where you’ll get more story less often, for pretty close to the same amount of money.
Obviously this is a bit of an experiment. People are willing to tune in week after week for television shows, but are they willing to read regularly released fiction? Is this something closer to a magazine? Should it be subscription based? I don’t have all the answers just yet. Like I said, this is an experiment.
So, why should you be interested in my experiment? What reasons do you have for wanting to spend your time helping me prove this out? Here are my answers:
1. Faster releases. If this works for me, it might catch on. This is a way that your favorite authors could get parts of their stories out to you faster. Imagine if, rather than handing you a densely packed literary brick every five years, George R. R. Martin gave you the next logical chunk of the book he’s working on as it’s completed.
2. Written by a professional. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve been a professional writer for the past twelve years. I’ve written books for Wizards of the Coast, Paizo Publishing, and I worked on a triple-A rated video game as a staff writer for two years. People have been paying to read my game material for years. Now try some of my fiction!
3. Endlands! The story takes place in The Endlands, which was created by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. What’s the Endlands, and who is Scott Fitzgerald Gray? The Endlands is a shared world that is open for use to everyone belonging to the Monumental Works Group. Scott Fitzgerald Gray is a professional screenwriter, fiction author, and game writer. He’s also a heck of a nice guy for sharing his world like this. And that brings us to…
5. A planned story. Many times you start watching a show and eventually you realize that the writers really didn’t plan too far in advance. You start noticing dropped plot threads, fundamental contradictions, and by the end, you’re left with more questions than answers. Yeah, I’m looking at you, LOST and X-Files. I love you both, but in the end, you didn’t have your story together from the beginning, and we can tell. Heroes of Gracia poses many similar questions, and while you may not get every answer it poses, I won’t be posing questions without a purpose. I’ve already come up with the beginning, middle, and end of this story, so there won’t be any major gaping holes like that. Despite what I’ve said, if there are, I’m easy to contact, and you can berate me until your heart’s content. No death threats please.
6. No super characters. While there are political entities who are important to the world, you won’t find that the storytelling is curtailed because of all-powerful individuals keeping the place from falling apart. That’s the job of the heroes in the stories. In other words, no Elminster or Circle of Eight. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those other settings, in fact, I’ve been enjoying them for most of my life, but I am saying that with The Endlands, we decided to do things differently.
7. A unique world. While the Endlands shares many similarities with some fantasy worlds you might already know, it’s also unique in a number of ways. Unfortunately I can’t go into all of those ways without giving up all of its secrets, but I can say that many of the standard conceits of traditional fantasy worlds don’t hold true here.
8. Adventure! While there is intrigue and deep questions that are asked in the Heroes of Gracia, the heart of the series is adventure. In the first part, The Vacant Forge, the heroes take on a necromancer with an unexpected past. The second part, Thunder at Aridas, is a romp through an orc-filled ruin, while being pursued by a villain with infernal blood who will stop at nothing to accomplish his goals. The third part, The Season of Storms, delves into the back story of the party rogue, Nalgaar, and explains why he is hunted.
9. Self published. You read that right, I’m putting this in the positive column. Why? How many times have you heard an author say that they had planned this or that for their characters, but then were told to do something different by their publisher? Trust me, it happens, and I hear stories from other writers on a regular basis. Maybe the publisher thought their one was too dark, or they changed something in the world that shouldn’t have been changed, or the *gasp* let the bad guys win! In this case, because I’m responsible for every piece of this, I can tell the story I want to tell. True, my material has to be consistent with the existing Endlands material, but fortunately, the continuity is something that is already known and doesn’t affect the story being told.
10. Traditional Fantasy: Despite the differences mentioned before, this is fiction with an old school feel. What does that mean? Characters are Humans, Elves, Dwarves, or Halflings. Monsters are there to be killed, they don’t join the party, and the characters don’t get all emo about killing them. The setting has baseline technology consistent with Medieval Europe, so it isn’t Steampunk, nor is it modern. Undead do not sparkle.
So that’s ten reasons to give this a try. After you’ve read it, talk back! Tell me what you think!