The History of Storytreader
I’ve written on and off for quite a while now. It wasn’t until recently that I found much direction for it though when one of my favorite MMOs, City of Heroes, was shut down out of the blue. I signed the petitions to keep it going, tweeted to show my support for it, joined the epic in-game rally that filled one of the servers and played it with friends as the final weeks ticked away.
Sadly, its days were done. Its owners had decided to sunset it for reasons unknown and inexplicable (apparently they disliked making money?). The final sunset was announced for November 30th, which just happened to also be the end of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo).
NaNoWriMo is a purely individual contest that folks have dreamed up for writers. The goal is to write a complete novel in the month of November, 50,000 words minimum. That’s it. Just write a book in 30 days. The only one you’re competing with is yourself.
A novel in a month is a break neck writing pace for a lot of people. Generally that doesn’t allow time for careful wordsmithing and well refined plot development. That’s not the point of the exercise though. The point of NaNoWriMo is to get you to write. To do the very hardest part of writing which is to sit down and put words together and tell a story with them.
One of the parts of City of Heroes that I’d always loved was developing the stories for my characters. Through back stories and one off short stories, I had hundreds of characters playing around in my head for years. If their game was going away, it seemed that the least I could do was tell the story of how their world ended through their eyes.
For my City of Heroes “End of the World” NaNoWriMo, I pledged to write 30 chapters, one per day, of 2k words each, with a different one of my characters as the viewpoint character in each chapter. I thought that would get me to 60k words at the end and if I needed to cut a few chapters short or ran out of time I’d still at least meet the NaNoWriMo goal of 50k.
Over 80,000 words later, on November 30th, I concluded the story with 30 chapters, 30 viewpoints and the full tale of how the cosmos of City of Heroes ended for my characters and how a new world was born for them. One epilogue then followed to hint that the adventures would continue in this new world, and then I was done (and exhausted).
I’d “released” the chapters that I was writing on my Google+ account, sharing them with friends and family, but I wasn’t feeling quite brave enough to put my first, almost certainly terrible, work out there for everyone else to see.
Having completed the story kindled the desire to tell more stories though. Once I saw that I could produce something like that, I wanted to do more. I waited till the bustle of the holiday season was over and got back to writing, this time with characters in my own world.
I had a bunch of ideas, all of which seemed scary to go with. In the end I decided to tell Jin’s story. I set out with a few key scenes in mind and started working in chapters of 2k words. That turned out to be a comfortable length for me and it let me plan on thirty chapters for the book.
Once I got six chapters written as a buffer, I started releasing them on Google+ again to friends and family. Rather than the exhausting pace of a chapter a day though, I opted to put them out twice a week, on Sundays and Thursdays.
It turned out that Google+ wasn’t exactly the easiest way for people to get to the stories though, and the formatting options were basically non-existent. I could have kept going that way but the support I got from my family and friends was making all the difference in terms of letting me know that what I was doing had some value. Without their cheering, especially from my parents, it would have been tough to keep at it. So I setup storytreader.com as a place that anyone would be able to get to, regardless of what device they were using.
I added the early chapters of Jin’s first novel, The Hollow Half, to the site when I launched it and then continued releasing further chapters here on the Sunday/Thursday update schedule. In the end I wound up with thirty five chapters and about 110k words by the time Jin’s first story was done. I also knew that I had to write another one for her.
That’s basically how Storytreader came to be. Going forward, I plan to continue the Sunday/Thursday update schedule for as long as I have ideas to write about, and as always feedback and comments are more than welcome!
In addition to the twice weekly story postings here, I occasionally write separate pieces that are outside the novel I’m currently working on. These mostly fall into the “Short Story” section of the website.
Feel free to leave questions or comments or feedback on any of the posts or pages. If you’d like to contact me directly, I can be reached at my username of dreamfarer either at this site or on gmail. (I’m avoiding writing out the address specifically so that the spambots won’t pick it up.)
You can also follow me on Twitter (@dreamfarer) where I try to post updates on the days when new chapters are available.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you find the stories here entertaining!