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A Creator's Guide, Unabridged

It was important to me that A Creator's Guide not just offer my perspective -- my readers would definitely benefit from hearing about the experience of other creators, too. So as a part of my writing process, I conducted interviews with over a dozen transmedia creators and thinkers who have been extremely influential to me personally, and to the industry as a whole. These appear as Q&As sprinkled throughout the book.

You can read the first of these, a Q&A with Sean Stewart and Elan Lee of Fourth Wall Studios, at the end of the sample chapter already available.

Without exception, these creators were all tremendously generous with their time and their thoughts. As a result, I wound up with much, much more material than would ever fit in the actual book. So as the clock ticks toward the June 22 launch of A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storyelling, I'll be starting up a weekly series posting some of the behind-the-scenes extras from these Q&As -- all of the wonderful stuff that didn't make it into the full printed version. But I'm keeping the list of names as a nice surprise. You'll just have to wait and see!

I'll run these on Mondays as a sort of countdown to Launch Week, so we can all get excited together. Eleven weeks to go!


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An Alert for RSS Subscribers

If you are an RSS subcriber, it's possible that the link you have doesn't work anymore. I'm getting reports that an Atom feed has suddenly stopped working, and am baffled as to why it worked in the first place. 

Please check to make sure the RSS feed you're subscribed to is the right one. And for your reference, the right one is Feedburner: http://feeds.feedburner.com/DeusExMachinatio

Apologies for any inconvenience, grief, or other manner of woe this might have caused you.


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Fun With Tech

Yesterday, fed up with spam, I turned comment moderation on. Then the inestimable Brad King made a suggestion -- why not use a third-party commenting system, like Disqus

Worth a shot, I thought. And certainly more fun than writing words! So I tried it, and it looked good -- except that all of my old comments vanished. Huh, I thought, that's no good. Better look into that later.

Later that evening, after performing a sub-adequate amount of actual real work, I found myself in full-on blog improvement mode. Inspired to find other ways to improve on Squarespace's defaults, I looked for a plugin to link to my most popular threads in my sidebar. I didn't find one, so I updated 'em manually. But I did find a recommendation engine called Outbrain, which now puts a few suggested links at the bottom of posts. Feedback on that is welcome; I tend to like that feature in a blog, but hey, you're the readers here, not me.

I fooled around with Disqus' sidebar plugin for highlighting active threads, but it didn't really work for me. It was creating links with the URL in the sidebar, not the post title, and I felt it was too ugly to permit it to stay there. Worse, the comment counts in my post footers don't work quite right with Disqus, so they're out. So for now, there's no way for you to know what threads on my blog have hoppin' conversations. Sorry about that.

I also made a sub-blog called Short Fiction, where Shiva's Mother now lives. I will eventually move some other content in there, like my Google Calendars time-travel story Circular Logic... and now if I write other small pieces of fiction that don't belong much of anywhere, I'll have a more fitting place to put them.

You may notice I changed my headers, too, and included a subtitle with my name in it. I'm assuming it's a good idea to do that for SEO reasons, sigh.

Oh, and those old comments? I got 'em to work after all -- they're slowly populating now, and I expect to have almost all of them in a day or two. (Actually, it looks like I've lose a couple dozen, but since the total number was just upwards of a thousand, I'm calling it a win.)

How did I do it? I exported all content from Squarespace, made a one-off temporary account at Wordpress.com, imported my Squarespace content, exported it again in WRX format, altered the links in the new XML file to point to my real domain and path, trimmed the leading 0s from months and days in the URLs, and... hey presto! They've imported now, and should populate over the next... couple of... days.

Piece of cake, right? ...Right?


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Comment Moderation

There are a lot of things I like about SquareSpace, but their spam filtering is truly awful. Truly, truly, awful beyond belief. I've been waking up to new handfuls of spam comments every morning -- probably on the order of 50 new ones a week.

Worse, that means anyone who subscribes for notifications of new comments on a post is getting spammed, too, rendering that feature worthless. And that's why I moved to SquareSpace to begin with!

So I am for the time being regretfully turning on moderation for anonymous comments. Sorry for the trouble; and rest assured I'm not the sort who would hold comments just because I disagree with them. Any and all non-spammy and non-trolly comments will be approved just as soon as I see them.

Hopefully this will make Deus Ex Machinatio a better place for conversation. Thanks for your patience with me!


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Plots Within Schemes

Have you been wondering where my head is at lately? Missed the days of more-frequent blog posting? Curious about the glamorous daily goings-on of a transmedia creator by day, suburban mom by night? You're in luck! Because I'm about to tell you all about where I am now, and where I plan to go through the next couple of months.

* First, I am not yet at StoryWorld. I'm coming -- don't worry! -- but first I have two small girls, two small costumes, and a whole lot of fun-sized candy that need seeing to. I should be there around noon or 12:30 on Tuesday; don't all go to lunch without me!

* Once I'm at StoryWorld, I'll be on the "Show Me the Money" panel at 3:45pm on Tuesday. Should be a good time, and I hope to see you there!

* Next up: I delivered the manuscript for 'A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storyelling' to my editor last night. Whew. The projected publication date is June 2012. And when I can see past the anxiety, I think it might even be a pretty good book! Or so my first readers are telling me. I'll try to post some thoughts on the writing of a nonfiction book a little later on.

* I have just a little bit of paying work at the moment; it's a pleasant break, after my spring of let's-launch-fifty-things-all-at-once. I have bandwidth for more, though, so if you have a light project going through the end of the year, you're more than welcome to reach out.

* Meanwhile, I've been thinking about NaNoWriMo this year, and it's official: I'm going to write a ChoiceScript game in November. I've been noodling with an idea for a long time now (maybe a year and a half?) so I'm very excited to finally get cracking on it. It is a superhero game! It will probably be funny, or at least it is going to amuse the heck out of me. Working title: Superior.

* Beyond that, I need to get Shiva's Mother posted and recorded, craft the bespoke short stories for my star funders, get cracking on Balance of Powers, and start plotting out what I'd like to accomplish next year. There's a novel I'd like to sell and a series of YA books I need to write up a business plan for, just for a start.

But for now... it's nice to catch my breath. And how have you been?


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