Balance of Powers

Closing Out 2012

That 2012, man. It's been a hell of a year, hasn't it? A hurricane in Manhattan, an election, the Olympics. Disney buying Lucasfilm. A South Korean pop star taking the world by storm. It's been one for the record books, I'd say.

A lot of people I know have had a terrible 2012, but actually... I think I had a pretty great year. I think? Let's boogie on down Memory Boulevard and take a look at all the stuff I did in 2012.

Invisible Projects

Through the first half of the year, I was incredibly frustrated, because I was getting a steady flow of projects... but nothing ever launched. 

A game for a Fortune 500 company that hasn't seen light of day, and as far as I know, may never; a prototype for a human rights game that never went on to further funding; a fair smattering of pitches that never went anywhere. It was kind of a downer, after 2011's eight launches in three months. It happens a lot, I know, but I'm not accustomed to doing much work that never makes it out the door. Spoiled rotten, I am.

All of the work in the world doesn't matter if you don't ship.

Bright Spots

But I did get to do quite a lot of work I'm proud of, particularly in the second half of the year. Perhaps the most notable was Is It a Deadly Affair? for Investigation Discovery. I'm still ridiculously proud of that structure, from both an implementation and a narrative perspective. I also got to contribute to a couple of Campfire projects, always a fantastic experience and a polished result -- The Wow! Reply for National Geographic's show Chasing UFOs, and Pledge your Allegiance for HBO's Game of Thrones. 

And this year, Naomi Alderman brought me in on a few things as well; another prototype, this one for an as-yet-unreleased fitness game (so many!), plus interval training missions for Zombies, Run! which also haven't been released yet, but I am 100% confident that it will happen!

Oh Yeah, That Thing

And then, of course, there was A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling. It's sort of cheating to chalk it up to 2012, because the writing was all done by Halloween of 2011. But in early 2012 there were still photo permissions and copyedits to sort out, plus June brought... promotion. Sooooo much promotion. Speaking and podcasts and interviews and articles. I'm going to have to properly collect some of that, eventually. And I guess update my projects list with stuff I've done this year, too. Wanion!

The book got a tremendous and flattering reception. I got to launch at Film Society of Lincoln Center! People tell me they like it! And I'm led to believe that it's on the curricula of courses at Columbia, Rutgers, USC, and several other universities. I'm secretly hoping that in next year's roundup, I'll be able to link to a bunch of projects made by people inspired or influenced by my book; helping people to make more and better work was, after all, the whole idea.

Original Work

In my heart, A Creator's Guide is linked with the idea of owning a stake in your work, flying your own flag, putting some skin in the game. This year, I made several steps in that direction -- more than I had thought myself until I started tallying up the score.

First, you may remember that Stitch Media announced the children's book Circus of Mirrors, my contribution to their forthcoming Imaginary Friends line, for which work is ongoing. You guys, I can't wait for the frabjous day when we can show it to you. 

Balance of Powers, the collaborative Kickstarted occult Cold War thriller, also finally launched in August after several painful and ultimately expensive months of trying to figure out how to make a small international business partnership on the legit. The plot has recently very much thickened, so it's a great time to take a look.

There is exactly one notable thing I did this year entirely on my own. Late in 2011, I ransomed a short story on Kickstarter. Early this year, I e-published the rewards from that as Shiva's Mother and Other Stories. This was a tremendous step for me. For all that I've professionally written hundreds of thousands of words, this was the first time I'd ever put just-my-own no-collaborators original fiction out in the world for other people to look at. It's a moody, kind of strange little collection of stories, which is fitting, because I am myself moody and more than a little strange. I'd be delighted if you picked it up and let me know what you think. It's only 99 cents!

Oh, and I, uh, started a vlog?

And last but by no means least, in late March, I started a blog series called Making Felicity, about my transmedia YA serial fiction project. I fleshed out the parameters in public view, but it took me a good long while to get rolling after that, because (see above) I had a lot on my plate.

That ball is inexorably rolling forward now. Behind the scenes, the cogs to make Felicity happen are turning, while I wait here and chew my nails and try not to obsess about it. I don't want to go into specifics because I don't want to jinx anything, but... the process has begun. 

And for 2013?

I'm still thinking about what I want for next year, and how exactly I'm going to go after it. I mean, obviously I want to land a fat nine-figure deal for Felicity and devote my life to her, but that's... shall we say... implausible.

I have a few very promising projects in my pipeline, too, though nothing set in stone (or writing, if you prefer), so if you've ever wanted to hire me, now is a good time to reach out.

Meanwhile, I think maybe I've earned a break. So for the rest of 2012, I'm going to read books, play games, and let the ol' brain-batteries recharge so I can do it all again next year.

Joy and felicitations to you. Here's hoping you had a wonderful 2012, too. Failing that, a colossal and magnificent 2013.

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Balance of Powers

And now, let's take a break from being emo for a while and talk about much more exciting things. Such as Balance of Powers! Remember that one time last summer when I did a Kickstarter together with Naomi Alderman, Adrian Hon, and David Varela? Alt-history cold war occult thriller, we said. Just give us a little money to make it more awesome. And you gave and gave. And now! We have done it! Now Balance of Powers is live! Go! Read! Talk on the forums!

We're sending out updates once a week, with intermittent bonus content sent to subscribers in between. The first of those went out yesterday. And other very, very exciting things are happening, as well...

I do love me a good launch announcement. More of these on the way, amigos. I've been a busy girl the last few months, and I sure do have a lot of show-and-tell to do! 

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Why You Should Still Fund Balance of Powers

As you may know, Balance of Powers became fully funded on Kickstarter this weekend -- and with several days to spare! So the project is thankfully, blessedly, happily a go no matter what happens next. But we're going to continue our fundraising efforts until the absolute last second. Here's a handy list of reasons why you should still consider helping us out.

1. You want to hear the audio. If we go $2000 over our goal, we're going to add audio content to the project. Audio is an incredibly rich and underused medium, and we think we can pull off something really special.

2. You want all of the content. When we officially launch, we will almost certainly be charging more than our Kickstarter reward levels -- and it's possible some of the things we're offering as Kickstarter rewards won't be available later at any price. Fund us now to lock in your rate and your access!

3. You love us. (Or at least one of us.) Whether you're a fan, a friend, a relative, a secret admirer, or a stranger on the internet who thinks we're funny on Twitter, it is at least plausible that you have a tender spot for one of us in your heart. Helping us to make something we deeply care about is an excellent way to show you care about us!

4. That grail-like business model. I highly suspect many of you want to see if this freemium business model works as badly as we do. We're already committed to running the experiment, and the more money we have, the better a proof of concept this will be. Surely it's worth throwing us a few dollars to see if we can spin a few thousand dollars into an ongoing project. Call it your R&D budget, or better, call it corporate espionage, since that sounds more fun.

5. You forgot until now. Maybe you already meant to fund us and just hadn't got to it yet. There's no time like the present!

So there you have it: Five reasons you should pitch in for Balance of Powers, even though the project is going to go on with or without you. The clock is ticking. Ten days to go! Let's see how high we can push the needle, shall we?

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