Escape to Italia…

Pronto! It is time I departed for a bit, mi amici. I’m leaving the country to go do some travelling – hang around Milan; hang around by the beach learning how to interactively educate Italian bambini; and go somewhere to interactively educate those bambini; hang around the Emilia-Romagna countryside with old friends a bit more. I am very, very excited about this.

Altogether, for the next month I’m going to be in motion, out of the country and out of the loop. I intend to take this working holiday as a fresh break and therefore will not be hooked up to the internet, in synthesis with my keyboard or in sync with all the invisible clouds of connectivity and cybernoise. I’m leaving my laptop (her name is Galadriel, in case you’re interested) behind. I’m gonna get me a shot of unwired time free of social media, tuned out and unplugged from the relentless machine. I think I need it. Yes, I definitely need it and I need a change of scene. It’s that time: Adventure Time.

I won’t be here but some things I’ve written may appear on the internet in the intervening period. Flipping back to yesterday, June’s Pictonaut story is a 17th-century period-mystery choosable path narrative I knocked up in accordance with the rolling of the dice. For shapes of things that may come, there may be a couple of Friday Den of Geek columns published while I’m away. I’ve also scripted up some Fight! Fight! Fight! episodes that may be comin’ at’cha sometime in the near future. All of these things are in the hands of my internet overlords and I bow down to their pre-eminent editorial authority.

I just write stuff and enjoy the living drokk out of doing it but for the next month I won’t be writing it on a keyboard. It’s all going to be brainstorming in notebooks, doodling on sketchpads, etching love letters to imaginary holiday romances in the sand and scribing Zen beat poetry in a beautiful Chinese paper book my Dad brought back from China. He failed to find the 5 Deadly Venoms on his Oriental odyssey but nice stationery that I can do wonderful things with is an excellent gift, indeed.

When I get back it’ll be full throttle on some fresh projects. I’ll be editing the Badnasty Horror Horse Opera anthology. I’ll be working on more choosable-path yarns with The Working Barbarian and my own dicewriting exercises. There’s a whole lot more but for now though, basta. I’m a-gettin’ outta here.

Thanks for reading, take care of yourselves and be excellent to each other. Ciao, amici…

*Logs off. Disconnects himself and flies off into the sunset, riding high and free on an exhilarating zephyr wave, spirited away by the spirit of adventure…*

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Pictonaut Short Story Challenge: ‘The Tower on the Hill’…

What ho! June has Juned – it’s a real word, okay. Accept it – and summer has arrived. I’m about to go on a summer working holiday and had, thus, decided not to contribute to this month’s Pictonaut challenge. That’s okay, except I’m a liar who changes his mind a lot. Today I woke up and thought, “Yeah, I’m gonna pump out a Wordascope! Yeah!

The Tower on the Hill. Let me roll out a story about the Tower on the Hill…

This month, Sir John Steele picked an evocative photograph of a tower on a hill for the Pictonaut challenge. I decided it’d be a good opportunity to take one of my new writing ideas for ride and use the image as a base on which to test a fresh creative experiment. Keeping it simple – because more of these kind of stories are going to be coming out in the future – I’ve written a freeflow spontaneous tale on the fly that’s totally subject to the quirks of fortune and the chance falling of a die. It’s a little roleplaying or reading a Fighting Fantasy book except it’s a fictional writing exercise. I think I’m going to call this method ‘Dicewriting’ because that’s essentially what it is. I write then I present possibilities to myself to further the narrative. I roll a dice to decide what to do next. I write on in accordance with whatever’s rolled. I write and roll. I write and roll. I roll on and write on and it’s all made up as I go along.

It’s so much fun to do and it taps in to a lot of excited energy I’ve got about Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style tales I’ve got at the moment. Being involved with the crowdsourced saga of Jala, The Working Barbarian and seeing the work of Ryan North – I’ll be taking delivery of “To Be or Not to Be? That Is the Adventure” soon and I read an Adventure Time choosable-path comic by him that was ridonkulously brilliant – have inspired me. I want to write more of this kind of material and I figure that rolling out a few eclectic Choose-My-Own-Adventure threads will be enjoyable for me as an imaginative challenge and possibly entertaining for others to read.

Regardless, that’s the future when I’ve returned from my summer break. For now, here’s The Tower on the Hill as my Pictonaut piece for June and I genuinely wrote this this morning according to whatever the die decided. Enjoy…