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July 3, 2014

With a Single Step: The 500th Post

You know, I seem to recall me saying once upon a time that I was going to stop celebrating these “milestones” so blatantly.  The number of posts -- and by extension, the number of anniversaries -- doesn’t matter too much in the long run.  I’d prefer to measure success and value in terms of quality.  But I can’t judge that for myself.  That’s going to come from the people who read this blog, AKA the way it should be.

So I want to start this post by thanking those that are reading, whether you’ve been drawn in for the first time by the prospect of a milestone, or you’re a long-time reader.  I know I’m not the most popular blogger on the internet (and certainly not the smartest or best), but just knowing that I can make one person happy with what I write here means the world to me.

But I’m still not satisfied.  I want to do more.  Offer more.  Excite more.  Be more.  And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. 

And it starts with this. 

That’s right.  Coming soon -- well before year’s end, I hope -- I plan to launch a special crossover event: 

It’s going to be another bout of web fiction, but this time with a twist: the plan (such as it is) is to make it a more concise tale.  Not the sprawling beast that I Hraet You has become, but something much more digestible.  Leading man Lloyd is going to be thrown into a world well beyond his own, and he’ll have to face no shortage of challenges in “the city of broken dreams”.  Does he have what it takes?  More importantly, who is “The New Line Ace”, Arc Siegel?  What’s his story?  Well, I’ll get to him in a minute, so sit tight.

It’s worth noting right off the bat that this is NOT going to take the place of I Hraet You.  It’s going to be a bridge of sorts -- a noncommittal, easy-to-process story featuring several members of that story’s cast.  That means that when it’s done, you can look forward to more IHY chapters.  That way, those who have been following the main story from the beginning can see Lloyd and company take on some shocking new enemies, and have fun with that.  Those who are new to IHY or the blog in general can dive in from the beginning, see who “The Prince of Love” is, and get interested in the source material.  Easy, right?

But wait.  I’m not done yet.

I know how this story goes.  I get really excited about some new project -- post, feature, or otherwise -- and it ends up stewing here out of harm’s way unless some random blogger/Redditor catches wind of it.  I’m not going to let that happen this time, though.  And that’s exactly why I’m making an announcement: not only will Heat of the Dead chapters go up here on Cross-Up, but they’ll also be going straight to sites like Figment and FictionPress.  And they won’t be going alone; the crossover chapters will go up there eventually, but first and foremost, I Hraet You is going to be available to read elsewhere.  No hassle for you, no charge for you.

The fatal flaw of this blog is that it doesn’t have nearly as much exposure as I want it to have.  I’m taking strides to fix that (there’s a reason why I’ve had a link to my newly-minted subreddit for weeks), but there’s always more that I could be doing.  And right now, this is what I think I need to do; if the problem is that I can’t confidently get people to come here and check out my wares, then I need to get to the people and offer my wares to them.  Granted I haven’t fully figured out how I’m going to work out the kinks and particulars -- setting aside the task of implementing edits, I’m wary of how much of a hassle it could be to post the same segment three times, especially if it’s a formatting hassle -- but I don’t want the fiction stuff to be the weak link of this blog.  I want it to be just as noteworthy as when I whine about video games.

Speaking of fiction, let’s answer the question at hand: who the hell is Arc Siegel?  And as such, I’ve got to point to this little fixture:

Arc is actually a character who (along with his story of origin, D.O.X) actually predates Lloyd by a couple of years.  Indeed, once upon a time D.O.X. was set to be my first step toward becoming a writing hero.  But after giving it a good hard read -- times about eight -- I decided that even if it (i.e. all of its installments) was good enough to be published, I couldn’t let it go out with a clear conscience.

 It had some gaping flaws, some shoddy work, and despite its cumulative length of all of the words it wasn’t nearly as dense -- in plot, characters, theme, whatever -- as I would have hoped.  To put it simply, I had to choose between putting out something good enough to get published (however high or low the bar might be) and putting out something genuinely good…at the cost of YEARS of effort damn near torched.

I think I made the right choice.  By rebooting the story (or Xrd’ing it, if you don’t mind the phrase), I made it much, much, MUCH better than it was before.  The pace is faster.  The themes are stronger.  The setting is clearer.  The characters are bolder.  The action is punchier.  The comedy is funnier.  The drama is heavier.  The story is darker, but I can guaran-damn-tee you that it’s my interpretation of “dark done right”.  Pretty much everything has been supercharged by way of getting new life, and the prospect has me absolutely ecstatic. 

That’s part of the reason why I started doing those D.O.X is Dead posts -- because in order to see how I got here, I need to see where I came from…and I thought I’d bring readers along for the ride.  Likewise, that’s why I’m doing -- or if nothing else PLAN TO DO -- a crossover with Lloyd and IHY.  I see potential in the character, I like writing him, and I think he could really be something special. 

But if that’s all true, then there’s another question that needs answering.  If I’m so excited by this new story, then why hasn’t there been a D.O.X. is Dead post in months?  Well, part of that is because I’ve been sidetracked by other stuff (up to and including posts on terrible games.)  Part of that is because I want to save the next post for when I have something substantial to say.  And part of that is because it seems like a better idea to peck away at the actual story than a behind-the-scenes look at the ashes of some long-reborn phoenix.

Or, to put it simply: I don’t want to do another D.O.X. is Dead post until I’m done with the new story.  And the way things are looking, I’m going to be done pretty soon.

So I’ll go ahead and announce its tentative name: Dead on Prime.

Er, not quite.  But if you know Guilty Gear -- the likes of which helped make the story possible -- then you totally get the idea.

Guys?  I’m gonna be real here.  I’m so close to finishing up Dead on Prime.  SO CLOSE.  As of this post, I’m effectively on the final stretch.  Admittedly that “final stretch” means bringing the first draft to an end -- and that’s setting aside all the proofreading and editing that needs doing -- but still. I’m seriously within arm’s reach of the ending.  I need to chisel out a few more chapters, and I can already visualize exactly what needs to go in (I’ve been making my “just as planned” face for a while now).

  I’m in a strange position where, unlike times past, I don’t feel like I need to go back and add in scenes to retroactively boost the quality/plot.  What’s written is -- and I hope I don’t jinx myself with this -- good.  I like it.  I actually think it’s pretty good.  And think about what that means coming from me.  The only thing I can do as easily as breathing is self-deprecation; for me to actually call something I made “pretty good” stands for something.

So I’m calling it now.  Dead on Prime is going to be the one. 

It’s going to be the story that I try and get published.  Ideally, it’s my definitive, no-holds-barred step into the writing world, and the start of something truly magical for me.  For everyone.  I’m doing my best to make something that people would want to read, and while I know that A) it’s not a perfect story, even now, and B) there’s still a ton of work to be done, but I can feel it.  This is something that needs to go forward, whether it becomes a tour de force, or peters out a couple of steps from the starting line.

…It’d probably help if I wasn’t sick of this canon and wanted to move on to my dream projects, but whatever.  This’ll do it.

So there you have it.  Let the records show that if nothing else, I’m a wellspring of ambition.  And thus, you readers have a road map as to what sort of story-based content is going to come to this blog.  D.O.X. is Dead posts are going to come up first, because they’re a lot simpler to put out.  Once Dead on Prime is done (whenever that’ll be -- life being what it is, interruptions abound), then I’ll start working on and putting out chapters for Heat of the Dead.  And THEN, when all that’s cleared, I Hraet You will make its triumphant return -- here and elsewhere.  Just according to keikaku.

Now, I’m going to work under the assumption that some of you have glazed over these last few paragraphs by virtue of reading about mounds of fiction (and/or you’re looking to make me feel bad about myself), so let me be the first to say that, yes, there are still going to be video game-based posts, and movie posts, and all the rest.  They’re not going anywhere for the perceivable future.  So while I’d prefer for you to get hyped about the present and future content, I’m not going to force anyone to buy in.  I’ll only suggest it.  And I’ll offer up something else as needed.

So for starters, you can look forward to more of those short open-ended question posts.  That’s an opportunity for readers to get involved and voice their opinions without fear of getting chewed out, and given the responses to it I’ve seen so far, I imagine it’d be a good idea to keep that up.  (You can look forward to a new one this Monday.)  And like I said, more video game posts incoming once they’re ready…though I should probably use this space to make an inquiry or two.

If you’ve taken a look at the Let’s Discuss page, you might have noticed that there’s quite a backlog built up.  Blame Watch Dogs for that.  I’ll need to get through them in the weeks and months to come (though Ni no Kuni’s going to get something separate), but for now I want to see what you guys think.  That is to say, I want to see what you guys want me to do a post on first.  If you’ve got a request, mention it in your comment.  If not, I’ll just use my best judgment.

So here’s the list of games that are eligible for posts.  Take your pick from

Tokyo Jungle
Pikmin 3
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Wind Waker HD

I feel like that list should be longer, but whatever.  That’s as good a place to start as any.  Granted there’s one game in particular I want to do a short-ish post on first, but after that?  Your choice could help decide what takes top priority.  Though I’ll warn you up-front that if there’s a game, movie, or subject that pops up out of the blue, then there might be a shuffling of topics.

I’m only saying that because there’s something that I REALLY want to get into.

Among other things, assuming the planets align.

That’s gonna need some explaining.  But I’ll get to that.

And that’s about all I’ve got for now.  Again, I want to thank you readers for taking some time out -- whether it’s just this one time, or on a regular basis -- to check out my blog.  It’s thanks you fabulous (and irresponsibly handsome/beautiful, I suspect) people that this blog has not only avoided being an utter failure, but also reached a solid 1500 comments.  If you ask me, that’s the real milestone.  It genuinely means something to me -- something that warms my heart every time I load up the Blogger dashboard. 

But I’m still not satisfied.

I want to be a writing hero -- a hero in general.  How exactly I’m supposed to do that is up in the air; it’s true that effort that borders on the superhuman will help (and if my guess is right, will ultimately see me to the end of that journey), but what matters is that I do everything I can.  In order to be what I want to be, I have to be more than what I am now.  Same goes for this blog.  If I’m going to be a hero, and if this blog is going to be a platform for that -- for laughs, for insights, for thrills, and more -- then we both have to be willing to go farther than we’ve ever gone before. 

And that’s just what I plan to do.

That’ll do for now.  See you guys -- oh, wait.  One more thing. 

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…I’m gonna have to do a post on this.

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