[News] PLEASE READ: A Dangerous Pastime.

At what point do you have to reevaluate what’s going on with your story? When it starts feeling more like a chore than something you do for fun? When you realize that there are things you weren’t happy with to begin with and now, however long later, you’re still not happy with?

These are just a few of the thoughts that have been running through my head the past few days. This is NOT a preface for saying I’m going to stop writing Shadowcrest permanently!! I am taking a short break, but I will be back and so will the story. But there may be some changes on the horizon for it.

Shadowcrest is, when distilled down, a fish out of water story, set in a post (localized) apocalyptic setting. I think that it could work as a story if it were set in Ancient Rome or in the Twenty-third century (a la Star Trek) or any medium in between.

I’ve believed for a long time that the setting is the most important character you have in a story. But like all characters if it’s not working any more, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with tweaking a character or even, sometimes gutting a character.

Shadowcrest is one of the longest going stories I’ve ever written, not in terms of story length, even if you jammed every thing I’ve written so far into a novel, it would maybe crest a hundred pages, I’ve probably got nearly a dozen finished or unfinished manuscripts sitting on my harddrive that are longer than that. But in that a year in, its still going strong, still interesting, and I still want to know what happens with these characters, and if you’re here, every week reading this, you’re probably still interested in what happens with these characters.

But I truly believe that some changes need to be made. What sort of changes? I don’t know that yet. I’m taking some time to try and figure that out, just a couple of weeks, a normal hiatus for me.

What I can say is:

  • All of the characters will be back. (Including Alistair…) There may be some cosmetic changes, depending on what I decide. That is one of the things on the table. But even if I make Alistair wear a gorilla suit he’s still Alistair.
  • My plot outline, which is planned out through the end of Season Two, is staying intact, all of the salient points and plot arcs I have in the works are still greenlighted.
  • The soapy, trashy writing you’ve come to expect, plus my absolute obsession with sex-gone-wrong, will still be here.

What I can’t say is:

  • That Shadowcrest’s current setting will be staying as is. The medi-esque, faux-European time and place are the first things up on the chopping block.
  • The characters may or may not look exactly the same as regards costuming, hair, cosmetics, and even possibly some genetic changes. If I change the setting, the “look” I currently have for Shadowcrest may or may not make as much sense. However, I really want to stay true to the concept of the characters, so don’t expect to see Peyton all decked out in fluffy princess dresses with long Rapunzel hair.

But who knows. In a couple of weeks I may decide I like Shadowcrest as is and continue on unchanged.

Last thing: This is not a pity-post, I’m not looking for an ego-stroke, or a “Oh no, Andavri, we love Shadowcrest just as it is! Don’t change a thing!”. I just want to make you guys aware of what’s going through my mind and why I’m taking a bit of a break to figure things out.

When I know what’s going on with Shadowcrest, I’ll let you guys know what’s going on with Shadowcrest, thanks for reading, hopefully see you guys in a few weeks.


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6 Responses to [News] PLEASE READ: A Dangerous Pastime.

  1. Van says:

    Aww, sorry to hear that you’re not happy with it. But writing, like any other art, is at its strongest when the creator is enjoying herself, so if you feel that you’d prefer to do something a little different with Shadowcrest, all the power to you.

    In any case, I can’t wait to see what you come up with, regardless of how drastically the story changes or if it changes at all. Take all the time you need to relax and work everything out–we readers will still be here when you get back :)

    • Andavri says:

      Thanks, Van! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this. And after oh, nearly a week of thinkin’ I’m still pretty set on the idea of making some changes. Mostly though at this point they’ll be visual and show up mostly in the setting and a bit in the social structure, but I’m encouraged.

      The interesting thing is how much more energy my thoughts are taking on. I am excited in a way that I haven’t been with Shadowcrest in a while. But I hope that the resulting changes will be true to the concept of Shadowcrest and will still be enjoyable!

  2. Eva says:

    I certainly still enjoy reading your story, but if you don’t enjoy writing it anymore, it is definitely time for a change. This is a hobby, not a job.

    Personally I do hope you won’t bring the story forward in time. Ancient Rome would be cool though :P

    • Andavri says:

      Well, I have lost count of how many times I have tried to respond to your comment and not liked what I wrote. Hating my own writing, it’s not just for stories.

      I have a pretty good idea of what I think I’m going to do for Shadowcrest now. It’ll probably be another week before I have the buildings update and/or rebuilt in the new style. So I’m still hoping next Monday will find me with an actual update, and I think I will probably have some sort of a post regarding aesthetics and makeovers sometime this week.

      Also this week, with any luck, new site layout. And a couple of fun things in the next couple for my one year anniversary. :-)

      To touch, at least a little, on what I am doing with Shadowcrest. I don’t know so much that I’m bringing the story forward in time. (Although V1 of the makeovers all use eighteenth and nineteenth century clothing.) I’m more trying to pull Shadowcrest out of any specific niche of time.

      The problem I think I faced most with the “where/when” setting of Shadowcrest is I know just enough about the time period/place to be an idiot, and not enough to feel secure in knowing things. And rather than just shrug it off, which ask Morgaine, I shrug nothing off, I found myself burying myself in research and exhausting myself with it. I won’t say I don’t like research entirely, but there’s a difference between a little “this is fun” research, and feeling like I’m obligated to post footnotes to where I got all my ideas.

      And I hate to say it, but a good chunk of research, at least that you can find via the net, seems to be either “widely debated” or propaganda, people pushing an agenda a view on something. And some people use the same articles to justify both sides of a debate. It’s messy. So you (or at least I) can’t just read an article or a paper or a book excerpt and say: Huh! Cool! Now how can I use that in my story and in fleshing out my world?

      Harkening, I suppose, back to my college days, I always feel the need to “two out of three” something. Read three articles, if two of them more or less agree, I can proceed, albeit with caution. But that kind of research is tiring for me. And unfortunately, because of some issues with my health, I can only shoulder so much exhaustion before it really starts bringing me down.

      My vision for Shadowcrest was never to create Europe in the late 15th-early 16th century. Except, when it came to all sorts of details, and I am a detail oriented person, that was exactly what I was trying to do. Which is why, although the idea of a Roman Shadowcrest is kinda awesome, I chose not to go there.

      I know me. I’d swear I wouldn’t research, wouldn’t make a fuss, wouldn’t drown myself in minutiae…

      … but I would.

      The ideas behind the rebirth of Shadowcrest are an amalgamate. It’s a lot of random elements, but that very randomness may save the story or at least the writer of the story’s teensy grain of sane. With the way I have this set up, I won’t have to quit out of my game and spend three hours researching medieval flower gardens here. Or six hours referencing and cross referencing dye techniques from preTudor Europe there. I can happily make it up as I go along and that is where I’m happiest as a writer.

      I hope that you guys will still like the new Shadowcrest, even if it LOOKS different. And that’s 85% of what the changes are, it’ll be to how the pictures look. There’ll be a bit of difference in social structure and the like because of changes. But it’s mostly cosmetic.

      Thanks, Eva!

  3. Eva says:

    Oh, I see. I didn’t realize historical accuracy was part of the problem. Personally, I couldn’t care less whether or not the details are correct, as long as it looks sort of matching and harmonious. My own hood-in-progress is this weird mix of tropical-medieval-roman-greek-arabian-fantasy, with a post-apocalyptic background story. If I ever post pictures of it, the first disclaimer will be ‘this is not meant to be historically accurate in any way’. I guess I just don’t have the ‘every detail must be right’ bug :P But if you do have it, starting out with a background that doesn’t require it, seems like a very healthy idea.

    When I said ancient Rome would be cool, I basically meant it would be nice if they would live in roman styled buildings and wear togas or something.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what the new Shadowcrest looks like!

    • Andavri says:

      Thanks, again, Eva. And Sorry, again, for the long wait of on a reply. I like amalgamate neighborhoods. It’s awesome when someone can pull different peaces out and make it look like it totally goes.

      I know people don’t expect total historical accuracy, especially if you’re the sort who will read (and hopefully enjoy) a story that involves time travel. But that doesn’t seem to let me “excuse” myself anything at least in my own head. >_<‘ Hopefully I’ll have some fun pictures to share to give a bit better idea of Shadowcrest’s new direction this week.

      I’ve got a couple of small things I want to do to celebrate IWBY’s year anni. (Which was last Monday. I didn’t mean to miss it.)

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