How Many WIPs are Too Many?

I try not to burden myself too much with the WIP phenomenon — what makes a WIP, is it alright to have more than a single WIP, how many WIPs are too many, and other questions of the kind, but the recent and somewhat uncharacteristic accumulation of WIPs for various Darksiders fanworks has forced me to consider this in some depth.

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I Make Art Now, Apparently

In an unlikely turn of events, I have started to invest serious time and efforts into learning to draw and I’m pleasantly surprised by the results. The first of these that I deem good enough to show in public is — of all things — a rendering of the cover-them-up meme that’s been going around for a couple months now, featuring none other than War.

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Writerly Troubles

I’ve been keeping a “writing journal” since Nano 2017, when I picked up the idea from one of the pep-talks. It’s a fairly irregular affair, with entry titles often going along the lines of “Three Months Later” and “The Mother of All Breaks”, but I don’t sweat it. I use it when I need to talk to myself about writerly troubles and it makes for incredibly entertaining and occasionally educational reading after a few years of maturing in a cellar. It’s nice to look back at problems that I have managed to overcome. And identify those that I have not!

Reading through some old entries related to the interminable efforts to rewrite my Nano 2017 novel, Under Her Wing, I came across this paragraph that made me laugh out of frustration that has moved nowhere in the three and a half years since I wrote it. I’m going to redact the hell out of the specifics to avoid spoilers, but I think everyone who’s tried their hand at writing will find something to relate to here despite the vagueness:

I still don’t know the answers to a great many questions. Do I want [X] as a character? What might be the content for, and more importantly, the point of the planned chapter with [X] and [Y], that’s supposed to illustrate their relationship? Am I OK with portraying [A]’s relationship with [B] as a troubled one? How do I infuse the story with the love between them [if it’s mostly about their problems]? Are [A’s reactions to the problems] enough to depict it? Does [Game] really have a role in the story? If not, should it be cut out? Are only things with a role allowed? If not, what else should be cut out?

That’s all I’ve got. Sorry, but I don’t actually have answers. Just questions.

A No Humans AU

During my many years in the Mass Effect fandom, I’ve seen many fanfiction authors embrace the “No Reapers AU”, where AU stands for Alternate Universe, marking a departure from canon large enough to affect the entire setting. This may be done for a number of different reasons. The author may dislike the notion of the Reapers and the save-the-world narrative framework; they might want to distance themselves from themes such as indoctrination or ignore the existence of factions like Cerberus; from Shepard as the protagonist and their tired hero’s journey; last but definitely not least, this might be the means to keep favorite characters, like Saren and Nihlus, alive past the timeline of the first game. This comes at the price of effectively deleting much of the official content and usually requires supplementing it with much of one’s own world-building.

Needless to say, all sorts of AUs are possible and “No Reapers” is only an example.

Well, lately I’ve been thinking about a “No Humans AU”.

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Maps for TTSS

While excavating the drawers of my former desk, I came across a bunch of development sketches for Thinker Traitor Soldier Spectre (TTSS), my Mass Effect novel from 2019. It’s mostly maps and scenography plans.

Here’s an evolution of the overall itinerary:

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