John Evans' Blog

Tag: writing

Fragment of a horrible dream

by on Jan.31, 2010, under Uncategorized

Recently I’ve been playing Echo Bazaar. It’s a neat web-based game with a very evocative setting; in summary, Victorian London is dragged to Hell. (It also uses Twitter OAuth authentication, so you need a Twitter account to play…I think.)

Anyway, last night I had a dream where I was reading this text (as well as exploring the area mentioned). It was surprising how complete the text was in my dream (not FULLY complete, but the important parts were there). I feel like I was reading this from some alternate version of Echo Bazaar…some version featuring, not London, but a certain city with an island nearby.


One might wonder how several thousand people on an island with so few routes on or off. Food is provided by Hunger’s blessing, in a swarm of black bees that bring forth an endless supply of honey. Chefs of the island, such as they are, most famously use black pepper to break up the monotony. There are rumors that the honey has subtle side effects on the mind and soul; the terms “sweet tooth” and “heavy eater” have a particular meaning on the Island.

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I’m a published game writer!…sort of

by on Dec.18, 2009, under Uncategorized

So, there’s this game called Legends of Zork. Produced by Jolt Online, it’s a web-based game situated in the Zork world, with locations and artwork that evoke the Zork universe.

Recently Jolt had something called The Best Quest Contest. In summary, they solicited “quest” writeups from the playerbase and judged to see which were worthy of inclusion in the game. (In LoZ, a “quest” is a series of text scenes which include a few little puzzles.)

Long story short, I won! That is, my quest, “The DEAD Walk!” tied for second place. Today it was implemented in the game, so you can go forth and solve it! (If you’re at least level 25, of course…)

So, now my writing is part of an officially published game! Not only that, it’s part of the grand Zork legacy. 😀

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Writing in dreams

by on Jan.23, 2009, under Uncategorized

I took a nap and I had a curious dream. I felt like I was hearing a story that someone sent into a website talking about their experiences…This guy was a Best Buy employee, and he was working at Best Buy wanting to buy something, but there was a customer being serviced that would take hours. So, for this situation, they had a mannequin dressed in Best Buy clothes with a clipboard that they put in line to hold their place. Of course, the thing about the clipboard was that random passersby would write stuff on it…and over time this had evolved into an interesting collaborative story!

The story writers then decided that they wanted to keep control of the story in the hands of the experienced writers…but of course, this was all anonymous to begin with. Their solution was to write a bit where they explained that only story bits that contained text in a color other than black would be counted. All else would be treated as attempts by evil conspiracies to influence the story reality. So, if you wanted to contribute to the story, you had to carry around a red pen or something. Eventually no one would be bothering to read through the previous pages of the clipboard, so they wouldn’t know about this little rule…unless they had been participating for a while!

Of course, thinking about it now, I doubt anyone smart would want to shut out new writers. Without new writers, a project like this eventually becomes stagnant and abandoned.

(…Then there was something about puma kittens, but whatever, dreams are like that.)

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Blasts from the past

by on Jan.20, 2009, under Uncategorized

My previous entry appears to have become a meeting ground for old-school Impro conspirators.

Awesome. 😀

In fact…


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The Tarot Cafe: The Wild Hunt

by on Jan.18, 2009, under Uncategorized

The Tarot Cafe

Yep, that’s me, with a book; The Tarot Cafe Novel vol. 1: The Wild Hunt. This is a novel based on the Tarot Cafe manhwa series (manhwa = Korean comic books). An author named Chandra Rooney (a.k.a. sora_blue) was commissioned to write The Wild Hunt.

If the name “Chandra Rooney” sounds familiar…she was also known as “Lady Chaos”, active years ago around ImproFanfic and creator of Dark Star!

And now she’s got a published novel. 😀

(Incidentally…the URL on the shirt is outdated. 😉 )

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Patrick McGoohan, age 80

by on Jan.15, 2009, under Uncategorized

As you may or may not have heard, Patrick McGoohan died at age 80. Thinking about this, I realized that I admired this man and his work. So I figured I should write about it…

Patrick McGoohan’s magnum opus was, of course, The Prisoner. (That’s a link to Six of One, the Prisoner appreciation society. Also, if you’re interested, you can watch the original Prisoner episodes online, legally!)

About Patrick McGoohan’s work

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What would you say to the people who own the stories you write fanfic for?

by on Oct.27, 2008, under Uncategorized

The link pretty much speaks for itself. What would you say to the people who own the stories you write fanfic for? Tell The Man what you want! Now’s your chance! Go comment and talk to someone who actually has access to some of those big corporate people that own IP!

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Lessons of Collaboration

by on Oct.23, 2008, under Uncategorized

So I went to the IGDA NYC Chapter’s First Annual(?) Pecha Kucha night. Pecha Kucha is a format for giving quick presentations; each presenter is allowed 20 slides, which stay up for exactly 20 seconds each, for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds of presentation. There were 8 presentations tonight.

All the presentations were interesting in one way or another, although some were better than others. Dave Gilbert had a presentation about Reality on the Norm, an interesting game development community.

Reality on the Norm started when a group of people working in Adventure Game Studio created a simple adventure game set in a kind of wacky town…then they encouraged others to contribute more stories in that same continuity. More and more people created games of their own, many of them introducing new characters. Then the issue of quality control came up; there really wasn’t anyone, because everyone was encouraged to participate. Some games were derided as being low quality. However, there wasn’t any moderation practiced other than a general community consensus. Eventually there were more than 100 characters and the barrier to entry for new people was set fairly high. Still, lots of people had fun and learned a lot about game making.

Why do I have this feeling of déja vu

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Fan works from an academic perspective

by on Aug.18, 2008, under Uncategorized

Are you interested in fan works? That includes fan fiction, fan art, writing or drawing your own versions of established characters, music videos that remix other works, fan videos…

If any of those interest you, you should read How Fan Fiction Can Teach Us a New Way to Read Moby-Dick (Part One). It includes part of a draft of a guide for using fan works in the classroom.

Today, I wanted to share with you a section from the guide which is intended to explain to teachers what fan fiction is and how it might inform their classroom practices. I am not so much advocating that they take existing fan fiction into the schoolroom. I suspect what is valuable to young fan fiction writers is precisely what would get lost if we imposed teacherly standards on their production. Rather, I am interested in drawing on the reading and interpretation practices that inform fan fiction to open up new ways for students and teachers to talk about fictional works. My hope is that we can teach students not only to read critically but also creatively and free them to make the books they read for school into resources for their own imaginative speculations.

I want to know what fans think of this material and so I am posting it here in hopes of soliciting your comments. There are so many teachers and librarians in fandom that I suspect you have a special stake in making sure we get this material right and a special insight into how we might bridge between these two worlds. We are in a process of iterative design with this material; we will be collaborating closely with the teachers and students involved in our study to refine and revise this material over the coming year. So, let me know what you think.

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Writing Porn

by on Jul.16, 2008, under Uncategorized

I’ve recently found an interesting article on writing porn by Thomas Roche. (Kind of like writing “erotica”, only, not really…just read the article to see what I mean.) I found this article quite interesting, and I recommend it to any aspiring writer. (That is…I recommend reading the article. I’ll hold off on giving any other specific recommendations.)

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