The Challenge Of Things To Come...

# "It’s lonely out in space on such a timeless flight" # - Elton John

"Zip-Zap-Zupow!" It's launch time...
Are you ready? We are a-go for take-off...

Back in January this year, in my 2007 preview post as well as in my 2007 "Coming Soon" stories post, I promised that come the late Autumn and year's close that there'd be the launch of a new "spin-off" series of space stories from my main novel of Moon Crater... (I love that word "launch", especially since it ties in with the sci-fi aspect of "Moon Crater Adventures"...)

So, just what are these stories going to be about? Well, for a long time, probably since I first began to blog I've had the crazy wild-eyed notion rolling around in my noggin about using a webpage with multiple-choice links to create an interactive online gamebook... I used to love borrowing books of this kind from my local library when I was around the ages of 8 to 14, be they "Fighting Fantasy" or "Choose Your Own Adventure" or even "Find Your Fate"... And so, in this grand tradition, that's the reason why I've dubbed this set of bridging stories my "Seal Your Own Fate" series...

It's been a challenge coming up with the idea (quite separate and different from Moon Crater the novel but also very much related to the book too!) and also sitting on the train or bus, working out in my mind just how to make it work using an engine like Blogger to build such a gamebook. Basically it's going to be a progressive story which is not all going to appear at once, in one complete form... It'll be written month by month from the beginning of 2008 onwards and I'm going to rely on the fact that readers will always start at the soon-to-be main "Portal Page" and go through or simply bookmark the specific post they "pause" at for their tea or toilet break (as it's a website not a book, I can't imagine they'd finish the whole story in one 'sitting' anyway!)... To this end (and I'm hoping this won't be too frustrating) I'll be using what I'm calling "pause pages" to freeze the story until the next part is completed... But this has a dual advantage in that I want the stories to be completely interactive so that readers can email in or leave comments on the story posts and pages to say where they'd like the story to go next and I'll incorporate their ideas into the next chapter... Like any journey worth making, I want this to be a shared adventure - so that readers can make a real impact on an evolving story themselves...

There are a grand total of 7 "Moon Crater Adventures" waiting to be told (that's the number of story treatments I've got scribbled in my notebook at the moment anyway!) but the first will of course be the "grand experiment" and provide the basic blueprint for all of the subsequent tales... And so 'Simulacrum' will see YOU, the reader, arrive into a universe you feel is strangely familiar but you can't quite remember why, (but more on that later...).

Along the way I hope to create twists and turns, problems and ponderings to challenge the astute reader - there won't be just the choice of two clickable links at the bottom of each page to take you off to a different path of the story, but also quizzes and puzzles to solve as we go, which will hopefully enable readers to enjoy the story experience more fully...

The other very exciting element to this bold venture is that I'm going to have a cool co-pilot joining me to help create the worlds surrounding the reader on this epic journey... Back in my January "year preview" post I said I was going to search for an illustrator to "help me map out the world of Moon Crater a bit more..." and by a turn of fateful events, my writing paths this year crossed with just such a person... Rich Windass is an experienced graphic artist and has been brilliantly enthusiastic about my "Moon Crater Adventures" project ever since I chatted to him about it in the latter half of this year. He's already busy sketching away at the ideas and thoughts we've discussed about these space tales and he's going to take my really amateur doodles (as seen on the main "Portal Page") and give them his own unique and genius artistic spin... Here's what Rich had to say about our collaboration and jumping aboard for the ride:

"It sounds very exciting and a great idea...
I'll look forward to the challenge..."
Just before Rich takes over the art duties on these adventures, I've come up with a new concept picture of my own for an all-important element of any space-borne story... The spaceship! And here it is - for now, make of it what you will and let your imagination go wild as to what it's used for in the story:

2008 for me looks like it's set to be a "deep focus" year for the work on the novel of Moon Crater itself, using the 2nd draft to hone and perfect the writing of the book... so "Moon Crater Adventures" will probably be my main (e-)published output of this next year... But it's a journey I'm SO looking forward to! And I'm hoping YOU are too, incidentally... So without further ado...
to Zip forward to the Adventures
& begin to Seal Your Own Fate!

postscript: I've mused about musical inspiration elsewhere on this blog before - about how background music helps me write and particularly film soundtracks - and the final atmosphere and excitement I feel for "Moon Crater Adventures" heading into 2008, can be summed up with some words from the best adventure song I've ever heard (and ever had the privilege to subtitle for TV!) - Hans Zimmer and Elton John's "Trail We Blaze" from the animated film The Road To Eldorado (not a sci-fi film I hasten to add!) :

The trail we blaze
Is a road uncharted
Through terra incognita to a golden shrine
No place for the traveller
To be faint-hearted
We are part of a sumptuous grand design
Changing legend into fact
We shall ride into history
Turning myth into truth
We shall surely gaze on the sweet unfolding
Of an antique mystery
All will be revealed
On the trail we blaze...


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