Down on the Farm

By , February 25, 2013

Working on the Foreworld has been an eye-opening experience. The crew on the Farm ranges from legendary writers like Neal and Greg to rank beginners like Linda and I. Watching these people interact and brainstorm ideas is amazing. Seriously, they could sell tickets.

At the time that I got involved I thought that my own fiction-writing days were long past; I was there as a martial arts and sword consultant. I was teaching a class on sunday mornings for the crew at eight AM (yuck) and occasionally getting called in for day-long sessions of choreography or video shoots. I think that I mentioned that this whole thing started with a movie concept? Well, they had a producer interested but they wanted co-producers. That apparently was a hard sell.

“We want to make an Historic European martial arts movie!”

“They had Martial Arts in Europe? What the hell are you talking about?”

So we wound up making a movie about how we would make a movie, sort of, for the producer to show to other producers. A lot of it revolved around choreographing a bar-fight, and since my credentials also include theatrical fighting and choreography I was in the thick of it.

Then came the Meeting. A bunch of ridiculously smart and creative people got together at Neal’s house and suddenly they were discussing not just a movie, but a first-person authentic sword-fighting video game, a serialized online novel, graphic novels etc. I nodded a lot and tried to look wise but in fact I felt like a monkey in a room full of physicists. This is not a feeling that I am accustomed to…

Encouraged by my wife, Linda, I started hanging out at the writer’s meetings after class occasionally, offering helpful suggestions, history-geek jokes and generally distracting the real writers. Since they were all doing the same thing I fit right in. ‘Herding Cats,’ Mark calls it… How charmingly optimistic of him!

If you hang out with car thieves sooner or later you’re going to steal a car. Same thing with writers… sooner or later you’re going to want to write, and they encourage this of course. I started writing an unrelated novel in my spare time (still unfinished) and then got a shot at writing for Foreworld, which resulted in The Shield Maiden.

The original story concept was built on shaky history, and we did manage to twist it into some semblance of a workable story but it just wasn’t very good. New writers, forced plot elements, trying to fit both history and Foreworld ‘canon’… it could only end in tears. So Mark told us to chuck the first plot and started over with a fresh story. You can read the results.

This got us into the habit of writing every day and established our process. Linda and I were hooked, so after the novella was published we started in on a new, more ambitious project of our own. A full length novel, a genre-bending heroic fantasy called, Diaries of a Dwarven Rifleman. We started just after Thanksgiving 2012 and are publishing it very soon. Oh yeah, we’ve got it bad…

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