Writing Plans for this Year, ZE Novel, and the Future of Safe Haven

For those of you still asking about Safe Haven Part 2, the files are with copyediting. Since the game is over 310,000 words, it will take a significant amount of time for the editor to go through it all. After copyediting, the game goes into the queue for updating. I believe in full disclosure, so once I hear from my editor, I will let everyone know.

Now on to the newsletter…

Writing Plans for this Year

After writing and coding Part 2 for the past 15 months or so, I need a small break from it. Not a long break, but my plan is to spend time on several projects.

  1. Finishing my Heart’s Choice title with my friend, David. This is due at the end of March, 2018.
  2. A new title under development with Mia, who wrote several large sections in Part 2. This game will focus on surviving the zombie apocalypse as a teenager attending boarding school.
  3. Finishing my Zombie Exodus novel. More on this below.
  4. Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven, Part 3.

In addition, I have been talking one another writer to code and produce her title for Hosted Games and have been approached by Choice of Games to pitch them a new official title for their label.

As you can see, I have a lot of irons in the fire as the idiom goes.

ZE Novel

Back in March of 2015, I had an idea to write a traditional novel based on Zombie Exodus. As a linear, non-interactive book, the challenge is to make a story that follows the game but gives a new perspective on the events experienced by the player. I decided to write chapters from the viewpoint of individual characters. For the point-of-view of the character, I turned to my followers on social media. On Twitter and Facebook on several Sundays in March, I crowdsourced a main character. By popular vote, we came up with Abigail Miller, a carpenter with high dexterity and strength. We played the game live together, and I used those choices to write each of the protagonist’s chapter.

The book will follow the ZE story written in the game. However, there are two main differences. First, I can delve into the thoughts and feelings of characters. Secondly, I can show what is going on with Emma, Heather, Uncle Lou, Jason, Mindy, Candace, and even Tom and Devlin during the time the main character is escaping the city.

This novel has not been a priority. My main focus remains development of choice games. Since March of 2015, I have written just over 26,000 words. My plan is to reach 80,000 words by the end of this summer and then query for agents.

As a teaser, here is part of the first chapter.

He awoke in the hallway of the apartment building with his wife still gnawing on the flesh of his thigh. He felt no pain in his leg or any sensation as her teeth scraped femur. All he felt was an intense burning in the base of his skull. No blood left the growing cavity—only a brown ooze pooled on the beige carpet. He heard no biting, no gnashing, or sucking. He heard the beating of his own heart.

Though he thought about swatting his wife away, she stopped on her own as if they shared the same thought. She glanced up in what seemed a smile at first, but her lips slipped apart and jaw craned open, revealing pink flesh and teeth. The pink flesh matched the remaining meat of his leg.

His wife, whose name he no longer remembered, rose from the floor. Her tan and green sundress, unstained and remarkably unwrinkled, clung to her body like a wet towel, and she limped off toward a stairwell. Where is she going? he wondered. In a flash of vivid images, he remembered a time not long ago. He was cooking vegetable soup, his mother’s recipe, to cure the common cold. His wife had remarked how her cold was anything but common.

The change happened soon after—she doubled over in pain and barked out a cough so vigorous it rattled him. Instincts made him dial 911, but it returned a busy signal. By then, his wife fell to the couch and writhed in the throes of agony. Her body shifted and twisted, her limbs thrashed, and the flesh tightened so much that bone and tendon stuck out. She grunted and wheezed wolf-like. Her fingers clawed the sofa cushions. She spit creamy bile on an end table.

He recalled the start of the fire. Smoke billowed from the stove. A roll of paper towels left too close to the flame combusted, sending white puffs to the air. He had rushed to the front door and opened it to let the smoke dissipate before it set off the alarms.

Questions from Social Media

Here are answers to questions from Facebook and Twitter for this week.

Do you plan to try your hand at another genre apart from zombie apocalypse? Asked by Deepansh Bhatia on Facebook.

I really want to write in two other settings: outer space and a demon world. For the space game, I see the player as a mercenary, pirate, or military fighter, traveling between planets, upgrading a spacecraft, and performing missions. For the demon game, you find a portal to another dimension where demons rule, and your only option is to join them in a secret war.

I hope to develop both titles eventually.

Other than your own series what is your favorite choice game series, and if you were to read your own story (safe haven) with no knowledge of the book, who would you have romanced? Asked by @NatahBish

My favorite choice game may be surprising – Choice of Broadsides. The game is well-written, uses choices effectively, and progresses with a perfect pace. If you replay it, the story changes in both major and subtle ways. Though it is one of the earliest Choice of Games titles, it holds up against any current game.

As for romance in Safe Haven, I’d go with Jillian, since I know what happens in Part 2.

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