A New Future

As some may have learned from one source or another, my life has come to suffer quite the upheaval so far this year. My engagement was broken just before Christmas and I moved back to Finland less than a month afterwards. After some time living with my brothers, I have now found a new place and things are starting to look bright again.

So, here's the plan for a new future which I would not have dared attempt while abroad with a slight language barrier despite years of practice: I will continue writing and expanding my reach. Both interactive fiction, and genre fiction will be on the table. Patreon supporters already have access to drafts of short stories and flash fiction, which I aim to pump out on a monthly schedule. In addition, Patreon supporters from the $5 tier and up will have access to a short worldbuilding draft I have been working on for a new roleplaying setting.

But I want to do more. I want to get out there and proselytize interactivity in storytelling. I am hoping to sell the idea to schools and libraries nearby first as a pilot program, then expand out from there. It will be a class or workshop in interactive storytelling, aimed at youths who are consuming interactive stoytelling in apps and games, but may not be aware of exactly what it is, and just perhaps find a few striving authors from the bunch as well.

In addition, I aim to establish my Twitch channel Banteroll as a multimedia company. As well as continuing the current Twitch and Youtube entertainment programming, it will in the future publish the roleplaying world when time is right, and hopefully genre fiction from Nordic writers who seek to write in English, as I have. Support for foreign language publication is harsh outside of English speaking countries, and I hope for Banteroll to become, in part, a pillar to prop these minority writers up and onto the international scene without the competition placed on their manuscripts by native-speaking authors.

How long will all of this take? No idea. But I have ambitious goals and seek to accomplish them as best I can. One step at a time. I hope you will follow up on the journey I will be undertaking and perhaps become a part of it in the future!

Good luck to me.

A Little Book in Thimbleweed

So, Thimbleweed Park is out, and it is an amazing point-and-click adventure game that anyone who was a fan of the old Lucasarts style of games should pick up. If for nothing else than an easter egg for all of you who might be going through the grand library in Mansion mansion. In fact, if you happen to peer really hard at the 1.6 section, you might find a little story called "Serpentstones of Essick" by some strange author named Teo Kuusela.

For those who aren't willing to go through a whole adventure game just to read what I wrote, here's the original text that I submitted to their open roll-call for books.


Serpentstones of Essick

"You have fallen into my devious trap!" the frail looking man cackles. "There is no escape from certain doom now!"

He hops from one foot to the other, the dust between his sandal and the balcony floor crunching. You glance down at your body covered in full chainmail, and grip your shield and sword, when suddenly the old man hacks and coughs, pausing to bow and place his head between his legs to help take in deep raspy breaths.

"Whooee," he wheezes and takes another struggling breath. "You have not a clue as to how much trouble you are in!"

You watch as the frail Grand Mage Bringledin wheezes and puffs, then glance at the large mummified serpent curled in the middle of the floor. While being trapped in a pit with a giant snake seems quite the formidable task, it appears that the trap is well past its use-by date.

If you wish to climb up to the old man's balcony, turn to page 68.
If you wish to rummage through the mummified snake for treasure, turn to page 92.
If you wish to try and open the door, turn to page 65.

Not Best of Us

Alright, enough time has passed so I can finally address the very small elephant in the room that is my new gamebook. While the reviews have been (overall) mixed, with many of the written criticisms pointing out the short length and abrupt ending, I can call the gamebook a critical failure.

This isn't me beating myself over the head with it, it is addressing the truth of it - a truth that I knew already by the point I turned it in to Hosted Games, although I hoped that the public would accept it as it was. Of course, they didn't and shouldn't be expected to.

To me, Best of Us was always an experiment in storytelling and literary conventions. It was both an experiment on finding where my limits run as to the kind of prose I am able to write, and an experiment on going against the tropes and conventions of the superhero genre. Needless to say, I found the going difficult and there is a reason behind that - I was neither having fun writing a majority of the story, nor was I comfortable in the story. In addition, I was from the very beginning thinking about the story from the absolute worst angle, as when I was trying to keep away from the tropes I was also dismissing the very heart of the genre. I failed to capture the story idea I had and contain it in a way that would prove both interesting and enjoyable.

While the story itself was definitely not something I was very good at fleshing out, another issue of testing the way I wrote it is also apparent in the reviews. In the way that Best of Us is laid out, it is the widest gamebook I have so far worked on. Lords of Aswick was fairly linear, with a few major branching points that trickle down all the way to the very end of the story. Best of Us is much more open in the way it branches, with only one major branch while the others are branches of a few pages in length. In addition to this, I also attempted a dungeoncrawl style for a fairly significant segment near the middle of the story, which nearly drove me insane. This branching, unfortunately, ends up contributing to the feeling that the story is short.

Overall I have mixed feelings about Best of Us. I feel it was a story I wanted to tell and it was good to get it out there, but it has many flaws in the way I told the story and in the way I constructed the mechanics around it. I will fully admit that towards the end I was rushing to just get it done, even as the final scenes remain something I am proud of from a core plot significance. Best of Us is a major step forwards in the way I write and think of the stories I write, as well as the sheer step up in grammar and code. I will be taking the lessons learned into everything I write currently and in the future. Every failure is an opportunity.