I have bubbles!

Those are supposed to count down how long it is until your turn.

I made a dude:

So, I’ve just about decided what I’m going to do from my options. Here’s what the next few months currently look like:

  • November: NanoKidmo. Do Nanowrimo, but instead of writing one 40K page novel, write sixty to ninety 500-1K word kids’ stories according to my kids’ pulp formula. I will also furnish each story with a single illustration. I’m not 100% settled on this, but if I announce it on October 31st, it’s locked in.
    I’m going to try and do illustrations for Jump the Shark 2 at the same time, just to see if I can…
  • December: Ugly prototype of Licensed RPG, per Thomas Brush’s 12 months to an indie game studio. I make a prototype RPG engine. It needs to be mechanically fun with no story or art to speak of. The idea is to make a design I can layer any story or art on top of at a later date, making a Hat Trick RPG, or a Deus Vult Wastelanders RPG. Obviously, I’d want to warp the mechanics to fit the subject matter, but I want to establish an underlying heartbeat that can carry a game all by itself.
    Potentially, this is also where I’d launch my kids’ pulp business if November goes well.
  • January: Comic Kickstarter Prep. Here I prepare a Kickstarter for Hat Trick 2: Night Mare Nightmare. I do a complete mockup of the book as a comic. I do cover art, and two pages in black and white, color, and painted styles. I get video of me looking solemn.
    Simultaneous to the Kickstarter Prep, I am shopping out my ugly prototype to gamers I know, watching streamers try it, and recording feedback.
  • February: Rebuild the prototype knowing better. This is the place where I take the feedback from January and make a game with the problems more or less ironed out. Simultaneous to this, I launch and run my Hat Trick 2 Kickstarter.
  • March: If Hat Trick 2 funds, make Hat Trick 2. If Hat Trick 2 doesn’t fund, make a John Michael Jones book. Or maybe some other idea will occur to me. In either case, take a break from the game dev, and make a book. At this point, if I’m sold on my RPG engine, and so are my friends, I need to start asking the indie authors in my circles, “hey, want to do a team-up?” So that by next month I’ll know what the setting and characters are likely to be, if it’s to be one of my stories or someone else’s story.
  • April: Make Licensed RPG look good. Replace the placeholder art with art worthy of a final game. Add screen shake and particle effects and flavor. Make it a sexy, sexy demo.
  • May: Draw a picture, buy a song. Basically, this is the same as February, but instead of preparing a Kickstarter for a book, I’m preparing a Kickstarter for a game. The groundwork I did with the Kickstarter for Hat Trick will be useful here, as it grants me both useful experience and useful footage, but my main goal is to hire the right musician to create a single piece of videogame music for the demo, and to paint a gorgeous cover/logo.
  • June: Kickstarter for Licensed RPG.

Just a reminder that I re-evaluate projects at the end of every project. So, once I begin a project, it’s locked in. I’m definitely doing that and seeing it through to the end. However, all other future plans are not only subject to change, they are likely to change.

See, I have that same problem that every aspiring artist has where I don’t finish anything I start and I constantly want to jump to different projects. Except I’ve conquered that problem, and now I finish what I start, as evidenced by Jump the Shark, Hat Trick, Alphabeasts, and so on.

The way I’ve done that has three or four main elements:

  1. I keep projects to one or two months in duration.
  2. I am completely committed to my current project. I will sink my teeth into it and finish it come hell or high water.
  3. I am completely uncommitted to future projects. I love to brainstorm them and decide which path would be super awesome, but I will toss them aside guilt-free if a better idea suggests itself.
  4. Once I’ve begun a project, if at any time if I find myself spinning my wheels for a day, the very next day I ask myself “what do I have to cut or change to ensure this gets finished?”

Right now, in addition to being not set in stone, this workflow has a few issues:

  • I’m all kinds of enthused about making a game, but not enthused about cranking out kids’ stories like a machine. Thing is: any path to establishing myself as a kids’ book author requires me to either up my quality or up my volume. A month of cranking out 2 to 4 stories a day is the most efficient way to do both.
    I’m letting myself play with game dev for the balance of October, as seen above, to compensate.
  • Ideally, I would release a book every month. At the very least, I want to release a book every other month. That is, maintain the momentum I’ve created. This plan does neither. In fact, the only reason I ‘try’ to make Jump 2 during November here is I feel bad about not getting any books out until March. On the flip side, even if NanoKidmo fails, I should end the month with enough kids’ book stories to produce for years to come.
  • I’m not sure writing a story every day is the best way to produce a story for every day. Something tells me I should bunch them up and write 3 stories one day, wait a day, then go back over them on day 3 and edit them. I want to test a workflow of that sort, and my current conception of NanoKidmo doesn’t do that.

I just finished an 80 page black and white illustrated story about a rabbit who discovers he has magic powers. Check out Hat Trick 1: The Death of Arthur now!


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