Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Day 120 - So why do we play? - Required 330000, Achieved 327937

And this is the question I need to ask of everyone, my essay of an answer tomorrow, but it's why does everyone play the games they play, and I'm not just referring to tabletop RPG's but boardgames, computer games, hell, even those things by waddington made in a time when games didn't have to be fun...

Do we do it for the interaction, the contact, the adventure, the exploration?
Is it for the achievements on the profile?
Is it because we want to be more than we are?
Is it because we just don't want to be us....?

This is the question.

My answer tomorrow

This is John Dodd on the Sunless Sea and goodnight England, wherever you are...

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Day 119 - A day of many things - Required 327250, Achieved 325763

Last of my four days on and finally though all the entrants for the Expo awards, there were supposed to be a few others, but they seem not to have materialised, now all that remains is to tally the judges scoring and see where we get to.

In other news, I'm playtesting something based from the Fallen London game called Sunless Sea, closed playtest, but it's proving to be a lot of fun so far and I suspect I may have to ration myself on it or lose a lot of time exploring the dark seas...

More details about it can be found here:

Anyone who says that games based on exploring don't work needs their head feeling, and more on that tomorrow, because I have a question for all those listening.

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Monday, 28 April 2014

Day 118 - Nearly missed the daily - Required 324500, Achieved 322406

More tomorrow

UK Games Expo Awards - Seventh Offering - World War Cthulhu

Seventh Offering, and interestingly enough the counterpoint to yesterdays offering, World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour from Cubicle Seven.  Based in the same time and with ostensibly the same enemies to face, WWC presents a significantly different viewpoint.  In this game, the enemy is precisely what it is, an unspeakable thing that humanity has neither concept of nor defence against.

Suffice it to say with the exception of the subject matter, there's no common ground between this and the other game.

WWC contains everything you need to run the game, from the generation of Investigators to the background of the game, a full keepers handbook and a scenario at the end of the game.  The focus level is close and the level of play is gritty, there aren't going to be any encounters in here where you punch a Hound of Tindalos out, and the game makes no apologies for that. Played closer to classic Cthulhu, Investigators in WWC play the part of operatives working under the supervision of a man called N who is carrying on a one man crusade against the Mythos with a number of resources from the British military and government behind him.  It is not clear as to who N is or just what his part in everything is (there are a number of possibilities listed for those who want ideas), only that he has power to command the use of others and he has a vested interest in preventing the Mythos from encroaching on the world any further.

Character creation is expanded from the original CoC, with backgrounds, new character classes and ways to integrate beginning characters into the world before they even come to the table.  Unlike the basic CoC game, this also gives a starting point, how the Investigator first came upon the Mythos, and what their motivation is regarding it.  This proved very popular with our younger judges as it got the players right into the game with a minimum of delays.

The Keepers section covers how to set up missions, a geographical gazetteer of the places where missions might take place, and equipment that the Investigators can requisition or obtain.  It also contains a comprehensive section on how most engagements are handled using military tactics, which proved very useful for those judges who had less interest in that particular field.

The Campaign included will keep a group of investigators occupied for a few weeks of game time if they know what they are doing and longer if they don't, but rather than give away the secrets of the campaign...

We now move to the judges comments.

World War Cthulhu is for Cthulhu Purists everywhere, it's dark, deadly, and in this war, the only thing that's not on rationing is the Mythos.

The improved and expanded character creation process is very useful for drawing the party together before the adventure starts, it lets you build a sense that the investigators aren't just random bystanders who just happen to know of something strange out there.

An excellent resource on the war itself as well as the tactics used, it allows a keeper to make engaging scenarios with little prior knowledge of the war or the mythos.

World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour is available from Cubicle Seven directly at

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Day 117 - I don't have the words today - Required 321750, Achieved 320139

My good friends wife died yesterday

She was my age

Life goes on, until it doesn't...

Nearly twenty years ago I met a man who made a difference to me in a way I can't easily describe, we lived in different areas, so only caught up in person once in every great while, but we remained firm friends and throughout all the hardship the both of us had in those times, we were always there for each other. He was and still is, brother to me in all but blood.

Around the turn of the millenium, he found love out there in the colonies with someone he found on the net, and despite all our warnings to the contrary, he knew that she was the one and he gave up everything to go over there to be with her.  I always kept a space available in the house for the day I expected he'd be calling with "Damn Brother, I need to come home."

But he never did...

Things didn't go well in the colonies, the job market dried up, he had to move around, times were hard, but he soldiered on doing all the things he needed to do and somehow, against all odds, He married the lady and they had children together.  Contact became more sporadic as we both got jobs that occupied us the way that jobs do when you hit our age, but we caught up once or so a year.

Today I found out that the lady passed away yesterday, and the utter unfairness of life has hit me in a way that I didn't think it could.  This is not the way the world should be, it shouldn't be for the good guys to shoulder everything like this, we don't deserve this. I was wrong all those years ago when I kept a space available expecting him to come home because that was for my own selfish reasons, because I wanted him back here, but that space never left my house, and its still there if he and his family need it.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

UK Games Expo Awards Sixth Offering - Achtung Cthulhu Keepers Guide to the Secret War

Sixth offering, and this time it's the Keepers Guide to the secret war for Achtung Cthulhu. Achtung started life as Three Kings, a scenario pack that introduced the two most dreadful things in the world, the world war and Cthulhu, to each other.  The popularity of this product was such that sequels were inevitable, leading to the production of an entire game to allow people to explore these dark times.  This game approaches the matter in the manner of the war films of the time, such as Where Eagles Dare and Kellys heroes, where the heroes were bold and decisive and courage combined with a stiff upper lip could win the day.  Nazi's are painted blacker than their uniforms and there is no misunderstanding in the manner of which this game is intended to be played.

The book itself is well laid out in a distinctive style, looking very much like briefing documents, complete with the artwork being attached by clips and shown as photos upon the page.  The production values are excellent, the artwork is both abundant and appropriate to the subject matter and the layout is exceptional, making everything feel as if it came from that time.  The book is all meaningful content, from the details of how regiments are made up to the vehicles and weapons that were used in the time, but make no mistake, you cannot play the game with this book alone.  This book would allow you to run a campaign in the era and have the details with which to run it, but it does not encompass the generation of characters and playing within the world listed herein.  That requires the Investigators Guide to the Secret War, a completely separate book that would have been submitted for consideration had Expo rules allowed for two submissions from the same publisher.

That said, on base merits, this book is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to play a game in this time, with or without the Cthulhu element. It has statistics for both Savage Worlds and 6th Edition Call of Cthulhu/BRP within it and there is a new version of the book that has the FATE conversion within its pages as well (Which we haven't seen yet, but we want to know the FATE stats and feats for Cthulhu...).

And that brings us to the Judges comments

It's an engaging product, the strong visual imagery is the sort of thing that you leave out to get peoples attention when you're trying to sort out what to play next.

Given the darkness of the subject matter, there's a light touch to the way its been handled, which puts the players more in the mindset of Indiana Jones than Saving Private Ryan.

An excellent resource for World War 2 in general and a good addition to the Achtung line.

Achtung Cthulhu Keepers Guide to the Secret War is available from Modiphius

and from RPGnow

Day 116 - Something most exciting just landed in the dropbox... Required 319000, Achieved 314884

I haven't mentioned it before, but I'm doing my own game to be released this year, it's taken some time and indeed some money, as I don't believe in doing half measures.  For all the things I haven't been able to do myself, I've brought in professionals as I believe this is the way forwards, if you're going to do something right, do it right, don't do it yourself and hope that you can do it as well as someone who does it all the time...

I have a professional doing the layout and the first parts of it just landed in, I'll be sharing some of it when I have the size down to manageable, and I'll be presenting it at the Dragons Den at Expo, because here I am telling everybody to do what they want to and not what they have to, what example would I set if I didn't do the same myself...


This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Friday, 25 April 2014

UK Games Expo RPG Awards - Fifth Offering - Numenera

Fifth Offering and this time it's Numenera, the new offering from Monte Cook Games. Set in a world where there have been eight previous worlds all living upon the surface, civilisations that rose, grew, and eventually shattered under their own progress.  What remains of all these previous civilisations is the world in which the players find themselves.  It's impossible to begin to chart what such a world would look like, but they've given it a damn good try.  The main book has most of the world listed and catalogued within it and to put some scale on that, the main book is 416 pages long, full colour layout, excellent production values and teeming with artwork both relevant and beautiful.  The world section alone is a hundred pages, all the areas are thought out well, there's interesting things throughout, the creatures range from easy kills to abandon all hope and throughout there's a sense that there's always more just around the corner.  From a purely layout and artwork front, it trumps almost anything else we've ever seen.  There are a number of adventures in the back and a large amount of advice on how to be a better GM.  On the surface of it, it seems perfect...

So why did were the judges so divided upon it?

The game system is radical in a way that most game systems aren't, it allows the players to make sacrifices of their character, to push them harder than they thought possible in order to make the difference to the game.  Such a sacrifice may leave the character massively vulnerable, but it will allow them to make a move that simply would not have been possible in another system.

This has both good and bad points, and is best summed up by a comment from within the book (Page 330)

"When talking about rules, sometimes people will toss around words like 'Game Balance' or refer to rules as 'Broken.' These concepts belong in games where players build characters using extensive rules and make a lot of choices and then pit those characters against specific challenges to see how they fare. Because Numenera isn't about matching against challenges or advancing characters through conflict, these concepts do not apply.  If something seems broken, change it."

This is where the judges were divided, deciding to disregard the rules is not a decision to be made lightly and most beginning players would be hard pressed to make the call on whether or not a rule is immediately broken.  Our experienced judges understood that the rules can be changed or broken on a regular basis, but most of them have been playing for many years and so were used to doing that anyway.  Amongst the beginning roleplayers on the judges panel, there was some consternation as many of their players chose to play one particular character class because it offered significant advantages in the early stages and at later stages has the ability to control minds and move mountains, something the other character classes simply cannot match.

And this brings us to the Judges Comments

Visually Spectacular, a deep engaging world filled with life and possibilities, a rules system unlike anything we've ever seen before.

Immense and grandiose, a dream brought to life in technicolour with enough to keep any group occupied for the length of their gaming career.

Not balanced and surprisingly unrepentant about it, time will tell if this is a good thing or not.

Numenera is available through the Numenera Website

Day 115 - John Dodd of Mars - Required 316250, Achieved 313125

It's been an eventful couple of days, I'm learning that my opinions on things are more interesting to people that the stories I'm writing, which is both a pleasant thing and a damning statistic in the same sentence, so I'm considering just putting the books out there when they're done and not as a continual stream of fiction.

Thoughts on this from all those reading would be appreciated.

I'm home now, and my heart soars again, I don't know about everyone else, but when I'm working away from home, it's like I'm not myself.  In the manner of John Carter, it's like I'm a copy of my real self out there doing things but not whole till I return home.

Important safety note, never eat filled Dunkin Donuts in your car, even when not moving, they explode everywhere and leave you looking like the a truculent child dropped one on you...

So this is John Dodd, with all his clothes in the wash, Home and Happy again, and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

UK Games Expo RPG Awards - Fourth Offering - Hellfrost: Tales from the Sands

So, Day four and the offering this time is not a game by itself, but rather a set of four individual adventures.

The Golden Queen - The lowest level adventure in which someone is looking to make slaves of an entire continent by summoning dark powers

Darkness at Darshah, a small village beset by a terrible evil

The Last Voyage of Sinbad - In which the players go looking for Sinbad

Reign of Fire, in which the heroes must prevent the land from being consumed by Fire.

It's written for the Savage worlds game set in the Hellfrost: Land of Fire setting.  Unfortunately, there's not much to say about the adventures without giving away a lot of the details regarding them, they all draw from creatures and tales of legend and they're all mechanically sound.

I say mechanically sound because there's a lot of statistics in here, the adventures are plotted in a similar vein to those done in the early to mid eighties, a small preamble followed by maps, lots of creatures, goodies to plunder, and a resolution.  It makes for simple reading and easy reference, there are maps for every part of the scenario (including the study of someone in case the players wanted to break out the battlemaps for searching the study).   Attention to detail is high, but there was the feel that a lot of the maps were just there to break up the outline of the text, which is understandable, but when well done, it provides an unobtrusive break and something to look at.  When there's a random map in the middle of the page, it begs the question of why is it there?

The Darkness of Darshah scenario is two maps with the details of the contents of the maps listed afterwards and cursory notes regarding what's going on, many references such as "It's not possible to list everything that could happen and here's where your skills as a GM come into play," indications to fudge the dice rolls to stop the players doing things and in general, quite a lot of Do it yourself.

From a games system, we understand that, when it's a scenario, you're providing something that the GM can take in lieu of doing their own preparation, so there should be background, notes on adversaries, reasons why the characters should be out there doing things, and in general, a reason for the scenario to be, not just a map and "Have at it"

Full colour on the front cover with black and white throughout, the images are well drawn but there are a lot of maps and comparatively few images in it.  One of the judges pointed out that deck plans of a ship are not the ship as seen from above but actually plans of the decks....

And that brings us to the Judges comments...

It harks back to the days when a map to find the monsters, a lantern to see them and a sword to slay them by were the cornerstones of adventuring, and for those who still live in those golden times, it's a good product.

As stand alones or diversions from the main campaign, the scenarios work well.  It would have been good to have something that linked them into a mini campaign.

Well laid out, lets GMs get straight into the action without much preamble.

Hellfrost: Tales from the Sand is available from their website directly at

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Day 114 - Of Conventions and being out of Yorkshire - Required 313500, Achieved 311463

So, sitting in a Great Western hotel trying to keep up with things in general.  The convention meeting went very well and I have to ask how many people think Plymouth is too far away in general when it comes to multi-genre conventions.

Other than that, things are well, very late night last night, got in around 0200 and then been in meetings and driving all day again, so a little worn out....

So, this is John Dodd, in the Mos Eisley of England (that'd be Birmingham), and Goodnight England, Wherever you are....

UK Games Expo RPG Awards - Third Offering - 13th Age

Today we have 13th age, from the people who brought you D&D 4th and D&D 3rd, this makes for a distinct pedigree in the gaming community and it has been well received as a game in its own right. Initial thoughts and impressions were that it was going to be something that didn't do much very different from the two editions just mentioned.

We were wrong...

Firstly, this isn't aimed at beginners, not by any stretch.  In fact, to be honest, I'd go so far as to say that if you're a beginner and new to the whole Roleplaying thing, you may want to start somewhere else...

Cheerfully we're not beginners :)

To be fair, there are a lot of similarities, both in the artwork and presentation and people could be forgiven for thinking on a skim glance that it is just a new incarnation of D&D without the name attached.  However, when you look closer, there's a lot of thought gone into it, both the designers have put a lot of personal notes in there regarding how they like to do things.  This won't be for everyone, but it does provide an interesting insight into how people think about things and how they work when they're designing a game. They've made it clear that this is the version of the game that they wanted to play (indeed, that they themselves play), and that they didn't make this game to get rich. This is just as well as we all know that the only way to get a small fortune in RPG's is to start with a large one. The mechanics are similar in nature to D&D, it is D20 based but things are simplified with regards to weapons and armour and there aren't the massive lists of things to choose from with spells and feats.  The nature of the game once again is very much to emphasize the narrative nature of things and to make things work better without having to rely on the rules.  This has been something that has been apparent from a lot of the games put forwards for the Expo awards, things that were written so long ago about the system only being useful as long as its needed are now coming to pass in all the new releases.  There is a lot of cross referencing within the book, and they are aware that no one wants to go searching for things in paperback books, so it's all noted on the relevant pages.  If you're checking for something, it's easy to find and even easier to go to the relevant sections without having to spend ages trawling through the index.

And that brings us to our Judges comments.

Presentation values and layout is excellent, it's enough of a reminder about D&D without being completely D&D, which fulfills the nostalgia criteria as well as having something new to work with.

The simplified nature of the game (rather than a thousand tables and separate things to look up) makes it easy to get into quickly and easier to set things up on the fly, something that a lot of traditional games don't do well with.

It's D20, but D20 as it should always have been and never quite managed...

One book, no monster manual, no players handbook, no GMs guide, all you need in the one book and enough to keep you occupied for some time, this is the way games should be made.

13th Age is available from Pelgrane Press direct

And also from RPGnow

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Day 113 - Busy - Required 310750, Achieved 310886

To Derby to see friends
To Plymouth to resolve conventions
To Birmingham to resolve conventions

Things may be quiet tomorrow....

This is John Dodd in the Socialist republic of South Yorkshire and goodnight england, wherever you are...

UK Games Expo RPG Awards - Second Offering - Maelstrom Domesday

The Second offering to the Awards is an alternate timeline for the Maelstrom game.  For those who weren't around all those years ago (and if I sound old, it's because I am old), Maelstrom was a game made back in the mid 80's, around the time of fighting fantasy and all the other good things that came about in that period.  Set in the sixteenth century, it was filled with all manner of good things, magic that was dangerous, wounds that didn't heal with potions, complete lists of herbs and their effects, swords that came in versions other than short, long and two handed, and all the realism that had been missing from D&D and it's counterparts.

Fast forwards thirty years and ironically, Maelstrom has gone back six hundred years to the 1000's.  The character generation has been streamlined, the things that didn't work in 1984 have been changed so that they do work, the world has been expanded on and there's a whole wealth of other things to do out there. What started out as an A5 book at 300 pages including a choose your own adventure and a game scenario is now 220 pages at A4 size, all of which is in game material.  The images have been sharpened up, the content increased, and everything rigorously tested to make sure it works without having to modify the rules.

For a number of the judges, this was a walk down memory lane, most of us have the original Maelstrom book by Alexander Scott (Several copies in some cases, obeying our Roleplayer DNA to have multiples of everything...), and most of us tried to play it at the time with varying degrees of success,

And that brings us to the judges comments.

Not romanticised or toned down for an audience that might not enjoy the grittiness of the times, there's a lot of background material in the book, enough to keep a campaign running for some time.

It's not the book we grew up with, but it's a worthy successor, well written by people who clearly cared about the original and saw the potential for it to be something more than it was.

An excellent resource for the times as well as a complete RPG in its own right.

Maelstrom Domesday is available from their own website at

or through Drivethrurpg on

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Day 112 - So when you do add up the written word, it provides a useful backup - Required 308000, Achieved 310492

Which I'm going to need this week, between a massive convention meeting in Plymouth, then an all day meeting in birmingham on friday, it's going to be a busy week...

Still, first of the posts up about the Expo RPG awards, with another five to be done this week to bring us neatly to the sunday, I'm interested in other peoples thoughts on the subjects raised in those posts, particularly with how everyone else plays games and what games you play.

And I only figured out yesterday (looking at my blog) that I've been posting everything twice because of the public option, so really sorry for spamming the world :(

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

UK Games Expo RPG Awards - First Offering - Intrepid, John Keyworth

The first game on the Expo list is Intrepid, designed and produced by John Keyworth, a member of the UKRP Design Collective (  It was released last year and has won praise in a number of places with its innovative nature.  Styling itself as an "Indie" game (by which the storytelling and narrative focus is far more important than the requirement of rolling dice to decide things.), Intrepid tells the story of a journey, the nature and quality of the journey are decided by the players upon starting the game.

I say players, and the key point here is that unlike most traditional games, there is no games master in games such as this.  The responsibility for the game running smoothly is shared across all the players, each of them taking turns to narrate a part of the story (in effect taking the role of games master for a turn at a time), while other players work on the narrative with them.  There is no "winner" in this game, the reward is a story well told and enjoyed by all.

There comes a time in every roleplayers life when the rules start to mean less and the story starts to mean more.  I personally came to that realisation about twenty years ago, but I understand that a lot of people need the framework of rules to work with, it allows them to adjudicate when questions come up that need straight answers. It doesn't make rules-light systems (Amber) any better or worse than rules heavy (Rolemaster) systems, it's just presents a different way to do things.

Played from a single piece of paper to illustrate the journey being undertaken, and that piece of paper will change every time that a new game (or a continuation of a game) is played, there are no character sheets as such, no boards on which to play, and no massive list of swag and items that the characters are trying to increase. The feel is as far removed from traditional roll-playing as you could get.

And that brings me to the judges comments.

Lacking in mainstream artwork with the usual creatures, example adventurers and full colour panorama's, 
Intrepid does have a strong visual impact with the flowcharts and illustrations that it does use, a salutory lesson that sometimes less is more especially when all the artwork is absolutely essential to the game.

Intrepid has a number of good lessons in making games work that more mainstream games could benefit from taking note from.  The nature of how the game is played and how relationships and scenes evolve is neatly done and makes for good reading even if you don't play the game as it is written.  

Very impressed with the production values, well laid and out presented and the game is a mere £10 for the print copy and considerably less for the PDF version, which as everyone knows these days barely buys a beer and burger at Expo, a good game for a good price.

Intrepid is available from RPGnow 


Monday, 21 April 2014

Day 111 - Sometimes days are less Epic :) Required 305250, Achieved 308535 (and that's not all of them).

With the writing things by hand, I like to finish the page before I count the words on it, and I've got a number of pages where they're only half finished, so the words will only add up when I've finished them and I'll get a jump on the wordcount, it all counts in the end, just looks to be in fits and starts.

Only nine chapters of the shift left and then it's done

But I would like to hear peoples thoughts on the ending.

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

The Wolf Online....

A while back, I put up a link to a kickstarter that I really liked,

and it looks like it's sadly not going to make it, so undeterred, they're doing this instead

Check it out :)

On the subject of Games and what people look for.

This year I'm in charge of the judging for the RPG awards at UK Games Expo and it's been an interesting exercise in seeing what people look for in their games. There have been a number of different entries into the categories, from independently published games published by one person on their own merits to the massive studio releases with several hundred pages, full colour images done by professional artists and separate maps attached to the back covers.

The present submissions list for the awards is as follows.

Numenera - Monte Cook Games
Intrepid - John Keyworth
Achtung Cthulhu Keepers Guide - Modiphus Entertainment
13th Age - Pelgrane Press
Maelstrom Domesday - Arion Games
Hellfrost: Tales from the Sand - Triple Ace games.

Rather than hold different categories such as quality and quantity of artwork, rules simplicity, layout and similar to provide an aggregate score, each member of the judging teams have been asked to provide a single score for each product, the score representing the likelihood that they would buy the product.  The reason for it being done this way is that (for example), a product such as Numenera has massive production values and a huge backing team to it, but will cost a significant amount more as a result, whereas games such as Intrepid are produced with cost in mind and although they do not contain the same level of artwork and production values, the game itself may have a similar level of interest from other quarters.

At the end of the day, the deciding factor in any game is how many people want to buy it.

So over the next few days, there'll be a cross section of the feedback from the various judges.  I should point out that at no point will I be revealing any of the scores for the games, so anyone looking to place bets on the outcome should expect to be disappointed.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Day 110 - Sometimes, days are Epic - The shift is finished - Required 302500, Achieved 306648

So not only did I manage to finish the first of the books this year (final word count 147403), I got a whole bunch of other writing done today.

I'll be putting up the shift for the next ten days because that's how many chapters are left in it, I'll be interested in peoples thoughts on the ending, which I shall not give away.

Beyond that, today has been a good day

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Day 109 -But Easter Eggs are the best thing in the world, and I have one tomorrow... - Required 299750, Achieved 298586

And many conventions...

And more words still...

It is better to be busy and tired than calm and bored...

I believe this, I believe this in my heart...

My head, however, is tired...

But Easter Eggs are the best thing in the world, and I have one tomorrow...

and so...

This is John Dodd, in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Friday, 18 April 2014

Day 108 - Conventions wipe you out... No change in word count

Up at 06:00, one hundred miles south, M1 closed due to accident, back at 21:00 exhausted.

I have not written today, I have seen Keary and Simon and all has been well, but not a word has been typed because of the lack of break when working conventions.

A salutary lesson in what I have to do in advance of Expo this year...


This is John Dodd in the Socialist republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Day 107 - Another convention tomorrow - Required 294250, Achieved 295208

And it's in Coventry, at the Ricoh Arena, called Insomnia.  I'm headed down there under the banner of Expo to try and bring tabletop games to those who normally live on the pixels edge...
Should be an interesting day if nothing else and I'm sure I'll have stories to tell by the end of the day, even if I don't get back in time to tell them all...

Shift is officially at 140000 words and I'm nearly done, should be completed within 10k and then it's done and i'm back to writing world war wolf, so my apologies for all those missing the furry apocalypse.

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Day 106 - Of things that could go wrong - Required 291500, Achieved 291529

So all manner of fun today

When repairing a car, be aware that there are only so many things that can go wrong with it.

Not so in the case of my sons car it seems...

And well done to all of those that noticed the overdeveloped 8 pressing :)

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Day 105 - Yes I did stop writing for the night when I got to that total... Required 288750, Achieved 2888888

Sometimes my level of OCD surprises even me :)

Hundreds of thousands of words already written, good, A chance to get a row of eights on the wordcount...


So, cheerfully

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Monday, 14 April 2014

Day 104 - Sometimes the days are so long you miscount the previous one.... Required 286000, Achieved 287548

and the days can be filled with frustrations, more on that tomorrow when I have time
The Shift takes a sharp turn tonight with the death of a major character, thoughts on how I did it would be appreciated.

I'm going to start working on opinion pieces for the morning, with the daily story updates for the evening, any ideas would be appreciated.

This is John Dodd in the Socalist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Day 103 - Sometimes things speed up as you get towards the end of them... Required 283250, Achieved 284747

The Shift is the longest book I've ever written, more than any other book by nearly double, and now the end is close, the words are just pouring out.

So, another update on shift tonight, more tomorrow.

This is John Dodd in the socialist republic of south yorkshire and goodnight england, wherever you are...

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Day 102 - Long days again - Required 280500, Achieved 280055

So a little bit behind again, and a lot of Shift is being written recently, and that's because for the most part that's where my head is, I'm close to the end and I'm getting it out there while its still fresh.

The other reason for it is that World War Wolf is going to get really really dark shortly and my heads not in the right space for it just yet...

I need (somehow) to write more different things, short stories perhaps...

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Friday, 11 April 2014

Day 101 - A question of opinions - Required 277760, Achieved 277750

The next few weeks are going to be hard to keep up with, I've managed it this week, but I was a day ahead and now I'm only ten words on the front, next week I've got another convention in coventry and the week after that, meetings in plymouth on the thursday and then all day meetings in birmingham on the friday, so it's going to be very, very busy.

That said, still quietly optimistic on the whole thing, but I thought to ask if an opinion piece in the morning might be something that people would find interest in, not counting towards the wordcount because it's not fiction of any sort, but opinions and reviews of things.

Answers to the usual :)

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

The London Book Fair

So on wednesday I went back down to london to pay a visit to the Book Fair.  Held every year, it's the calender event for publishers and supposedly, authors.  Now I'll freely admit that I only considered going to it two weeks ago, having read an article in Writers magazine that said it was no longer just about Publishers but also about Authors, so I didn't get time to organise interviews with publishers to promote myself, but I did get to attend a number of seminars.

First impressions

It's huge...

Now that's not a bad thing, and certainly from the point of view of interest in the publishing world, it's a good thing, but as a number of guides that I read (belatedly) said, wear comfortable shoes, because you can walk for literally miles in here without coming across the same thing.  The majority of the people there were business, there were a few authors, but they were either on the panels having been invited, or wandering around looking like they were trying to avoid the police (After all, if you're not a published author, what business do you have there.), and so it felt for me.  The seminars were interesting, nothing that I hadn't heard before and nothing groundbreaking, finish the book, make sure it's the best it can be, choose your platform carefully, and it was there that I found the most interesting revelation...

Following from the keynote address from Anthony Horowitz

Amazon are "Evil Bastards", but he has to use them anyway.

And I have to say that the Amazon/Createspace rep at the event certainly earned his money, he was everywhere and I do mean everywhere, including the Alliance of Independent Authors panel on self publishing, but although he himself was a perfectly affable chap, helpful and cheerful and a representation of everything Amazon want you to believe they are, it was not him that got my attention.

It was everyone else around him, all of them infinitely polite whilst being wary, in the manner of gazelles drinking at the same pond as a tiger, all wanting to share the water whilst being very careful not to end up lunch.

And of all the things I took away from the convention, that was the one that stuck the most, beware the predators, because as an author, you're never going to be a predator, you're prey, no matter how good you are, you're never going to get the claws and fangs that those running the place do, so you have to make yourself look like a herd, network with others, have many of you, and support each other, which is a problem when we're as many solitary introverts as we all are.

So I shall be going next year, organising in advance, taking books to sell and generally having a better time than I did this time having done preparation, but still...

Watch yourselves near the watering hole...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Day 100 - Couldn't be down on words for this day.. Required 275000, Achieved 275025

Hadn't realised how much the london book fair had knocked out of me, up at 04:30 to drive all the way down, then up till silly oclock catching up with things.

Needless to say that all caught up with me this morning, then a long trip back and not at all recovered...

There'll be a post tomorrow on the book fair and everything about it, but I'm not coherent enough to articulate it well, so I'm holding fire for now

This is John Dodd, Home, and Goodnight England, wherever you are...

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Day Ninety Nine - The London Book Fair - Required 272250, Achieved 272793

And I'll tell everyone about it tomorrow, with photos.

Update on shift for tonight and then bed because I'm firked

This is John Dodd in the Capitalist Heart of the Empire (that'd be earls court) and goodnight england, wherever you are...

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Day Ninety Eight - Possibly a day tomorrow without an update - Required 269500, Achieved 272359

Because tomorrow I'm at the London Book Fair, back on thursday when there will be updates and pictures...

but I have to be up in five hours now...

So it's brief

Another update on the shift, and I must write more :)

This is John Dodd in the socialist republic of south yorkshire and goodnight england, wherever you are.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Day Ninety Seven - Required 266750, Achieved 268880

not much to say, it's been a busy day, more tomorrow when I'm not flatlined...

The shift gets dark tonight, and it's only going to get darker...

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Day Ninety Six - Knowledge of Future endeavours spurs you to greatness Required - 264000, Achieved 266346

For example, I know I'm in London two days next week for the book fair, and I know that in those days, if the networking goes well, I'll not be writing much because I'll be too busy networking.

Thus the idea is to build up a store of words so I won't end up 5k behind by the end of the two days...

It's not going too badly :)

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Day Ninety Five - Thomas Magnum played Dungeons and Dragons on the computer - Required 261250, Achieved 262712

I kid you not, Jude loves 80's TV, so we're working through Magnum PI (Season 2 I think) and Higgins comes up with the idea that Magnum was playing D&D on the computer and tried to convince him it was trying to map the estate...

It's official people, the coolest man-tache on the planet played D&D

This brightened my day somewhat

So, still ahead

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Friday, 4 April 2014

Day Ninety Four - A matter of publicising things. Required 258500, Achieved 259910

It's been a better week this week, much more so than it has been in recent times, I'm a half day ahead of the count and only World War Wolf is behind on the story, but that will be rectified from tomorrow.

On monday of next week, I intend to broadcast this a little wider than it has been so far and see if that brings anything else interesting to the party, although I'm getting regular views (quite a few of them), I don't get many comments and I appreciate that that's usually how the world is when it comes to these things, but it's difficult to put this much effort in and wonder if your efforts are going to naught.

Additionally, I'm going to london next week for the book fair, so a few of the updates will be at different times on wednesday and thursday, but they'll be there.  The trick here it to get in advance first, then take the days out that you need.

Hoping that WiFi is free down there somewhere :)

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Day Ninety Three - Ahead and the world is well, Required 255750, Achieved 256561

So it's been a busy week, but things are going much better now, we (the monday knights) recorded the first of what might well be several shows for getting more people reading and writing.  Very strange to see yourself on the screen, and even more so to be talking about writing while doing it.

Still, a good feeling, one word behind count on Nano, so not worries, and well ahead on count for million.

A good week so far.

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, Wherever you are...

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Day Ninety Two - Told you I'd catch up :) - Required 253000, Achieved 252126

Once removed of the problems, the words are back as if the pipe had been blocked up and suddenly freed, nearly up to date now and will be so by the end of tomorrow.

Liking doing three stories, but I have to be careful they don't all intersect now...

So, again the question, does everyone want to see the new story as well as the present two or shall I just release it at the end of Camp Nano?

Cheerful today, things are going better!

Hows everyone else?

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, wherever you are...

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Day Ninety One - And now free of what slowed me, the words come back in full - Required 250250, Achieved 247367

Only a single day behind now, and tomorrow is a day off with all the time in the world to catch up and make things write.

I'm also doing the camp nanowrimo thing, which is interesting because it now means there's three things to write and I should be doing a chapter a day on each, the question is how many people reading this are keeping up with even the two I'm doing presently

Will one more just be a distraction?

Answers on an email

This is John Dodd in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire and Goodnight England, wherever you are...