[Guest Post] Tools and Equipment for Dice Castle Adventure

My second installment in the Adventure to Dice Castle went live on Geeks Dream Girl recently. It’s dubbed Tools and Equipment: Adventure to Dice Castle.

Here’s one of the items I recommend:

8. Business Cards – You can find inexpensive business cards almost anywhere for first time buyers or through special deals. I wouldn’t order a lot of them right off the bat, but having a business card is definitely better than not having one. When you give them out, try to get the business card of the person you’re networking with. — SOURCE: Tools and Equipment: Adventure to Dice Castle

I really love writing this series because it’s giving me the chance to put freelance writing for the hobby games industry in a fun context. While today’s post is less of a parody than the one I’ll write for next month, it’s necessary in the sense that there are tools you’ll need to write, play and design hobby games.

‘Til next time!

Announcing Strange, Dead Love for Vampire the Requiem

At GenCon: Indy, White Wolf 2011-2012 release schedule was announced. One of the projects on the list is a supplement for Vampire: the Requiem entitled Strange, Dead Love.

I’m happy to share with you that I’m one of the writers! The project is developed by Russ Bailey with co-developer Eddy Webb. Jess Hartley and Filamena Hill will be penning the other sections of this romantically-inclined supplement. Filamena will be coordinating podcast promotion for White Wolf bloggers, so please keep that in mind.

Here’s a little more about the product in Russ’s own words:

Strange, Dead Love will be available in PDF and digital print first, via our partners at DriveThruRPG. It will not be a standalone book; there just wasn’t room in the schedule to do a new Vampire core. However, it should be fairly playable with one of our quickstarts.

This is definitely a book for people who like vampire romance. We’re talking more epic emotions and dark action than the usual Requiem blood and asphalt. We’re focusing on being true to genre, much as we did with the two Mirrors sci-fi books. — Russ Bailey on Google+

To be blunt: I am thrilled to be on this project because this is a subject matter I’m familiar with. For the last, few years I’ve been going to a romance writer’s group where many talented people have been diving in and really educating everyone on the subject. It has been a great experience because they talked about things I never would have thought about. How relationships need to be plotted out. How there’s a difference between writing about sex and establishing intimacy. How there’s more than one emotion in any romance.

There’s been some mention of Twilight and similarly-themed properties in player discussions. I can tell you that this is not a book about Twilight, this is a book about vampire romance. Twilight is one type of romance — and it’s not for everyone. Believe me, there are many flavors. Kind of like ice cream, only…

Well, you get the idea.

Please, please do NOT hold me to any specifics. This project is in development.

[My New Column] Dice Castle: From Commoner to Freelancer…

I am pleased to announce that my first column has been published at Geek’s Dream Girl. Since the site already had articles written about the topic, I decided to take a different approach and turn a commoner into a freelancer. For once-a-month we’ll be headed to Dice Castle.

This first column talks about character creation.

Before we head out on our quest to Dice Castle, there are a couple of things we need to figure out. First? We’re going to take a look at your character sheet to see what’s already there. Oh, and for those of you who decide to min/max this process? There will be some opportunities for that, too. You’re a Commoner at the moment, but with any luck you’ll be a Freelancer in no time. So sayeth the GM, so shall it be done. — SOURCE: Calling All Freelancers! Adventure to Dice Castle at Geek’s Dream Girl

Then, I go on to provide some tips and insight into the industry to help a budding freelancer dispel some of the myths and figure out what they want to do.

Things like:

  • Penning fiction is not the same thing like writing flavor text.
  • I think this series will be good for people who need something a little more hands-on when they’re thinking about freelancing. By turning it into a workshop, I hope I’ll be able to reach a few writers and help them plan for their future.

    Check it out!

    Announcing Scenes of the Embrace and Our Design Notes

    Scenes of the Embrace | White Wolf Publishing | Vampire the RequiemHi everyone, I am pleased to announce that Scenes of the Embrace was just released from White Wolf Publishing for only $2.99. This was a stand-alone project that I had worked on with developer Eddy Webb, who was the developer.

    To celebrate the release, Eddy and I compiled a few of our design notes for Scenes of the Embrace and released them, along with a preview, at FlamesRising.com. I really enjoyed writing these notes, because this particular collaboration didn’t start out smooth. When you work online, writing a new project, that does happen more often than you might think. The product turned out great, though, and I’m really happy that Eddy loved the results.

    Included with Scenes of the Embrace are fourteen, stand-alone scenes that a Storyteller can use. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the terminology for Vampire: the Requiem, this product has a narrow focus on the moment when a vampire transforms a mortal into a new vampire. As Eddy had mentioned, although the word “toolkit” seems to be a buzzword now-a-days, that’s really what this product was designed for. There’s a lot of fodder in here for Storytellers that also ties back to a sire’s covenant, too.

    If you’re interested in Scenes of the Embrace, you can purchase it as an e-book. To read more about this new supplement for Vampire: The Requiem, take an Inside Look at Scenes of the Embrace at FlamesRising.com.

    Providing a Service Versus Offering an Asset

    For any creative professional who is providing a service, the difference between making money now and making money over the long-term can be pretty frightening. On the one hand, we all have the tendency to make decisions based on the power of a dollar. How many jobs have we taken that we were over-qualified for? How many assignments did we take because we needed to pay a bill?

    Are You Providing a Service?

    The idea that you, as a creative professional, are providing a service goes much deeper than making those quick decisions. Let me walk you through an example of what I’m talking about.

    Let’s say I get hired to write a story set within the Hellboy universe. (Hah, I wish!) Because that setting is owned by Mike Mignola, I would not own the rights to what I’ve written. Since I already know the setting, I don’t need to spend a lot of time learning about Hellboy, so I wouldn’t lose a lot of time there. I would, however, need to research new stories within the setting because there’s already been a lot of myths covered. Then, there’s the time it would take to write the story and go through the editing process. Once the story was done, I can’t do anything else with it because now it belongs to someone else. Even though I wrote for a setting I love, I still produced an asset for someone other than myself. In short, I provided a service to develop something that someone already had a need for.

    This example highlights how writing for a tie-in property typically works. The reality of being a creative professional is that we produce content for other people in order to make a living. I look at the process of developing an asset for someone else as our ability to provide a service rather than produce a deliverable. Other examples range from writing website copy for someone else’s business to graphic design to developing a game and pitching it to a publisher. The concept, though, is pretty simple to follow once you start tracking how the money is flowing to you. If you get paid up front for the work you’re doing, I feel that it’s helpful to look at your time as a service related to product development. You are, in effect, developing and providing an asset that someone else needs and will, in turn, sell.

    Or Are You Creating an Asset?

    When you design something for other people to purchase that you have more control over, then you’re creating an asset. An example of that is an illustrator creating a clip-art CD or offering prints for sale of artwork they own the rights to.

    Now, there are advantages to both business models because, in many ways, an asset’s value increases depending upon how many people want that asset. I could design an interactive fairy tale for you, but if you didn’t want it, then it’s not worth anything and I’d lose money because I had just spent all that time creating something you don’t care about. The reality of developing your own assets, is that it isn’t enough “just” to create the asset. You need to figure out how you can get people to pay for it. For a writer, that means you have to develop a strong base of readers that will invest in your work.

    A really good example of what I’m talking about here, are some of the arguments that self-published authors make. To those that don’t understand how publishing works, the publisher is greedy because they have too much control over the author’s asset (e.g. the book). What they don’t understand, is that the publisher is providing the author with a better chance of reaching readers which makes their asset more valuable. Even though there are many services out there that offer some of the same services as a publisher does, the majority of self-published authors don’t sell thousands of copies of their work for a variety of reasons. For starters, those services are not discriminate; they do not turn down an author based on the quality of the work. Publishers do, because they understand that books are assets that represent the author, but also their brand name, too. This is why authors who go through traditional models typically sell more books simply because of the way publishing works.

    Then What?

    Now, the examples I mentioned above may not apply to you specifically, but the idea is still the same. If you think about your time as your primary asset, then consider the following questions: Do I own what I create? If so, how am I getting paid for it? If I’m not getting paid what I’m worth, then how can I get paid more?

    For myself, I don’t attach a “good” or “bad” value to providing a service versus offering an asset because I look at them in terms of different business models. Which is, realistically, what they are. I’d absolutely write a tie-in story for a property I’d love; on the flip side, I’d still want to write a fun story of my own, too.

    Not sure about what you think about my post today, but I feel this idea is pretty important. That’s part of the reason why there’s so many changes going on here behind-the-scenes that I haven’t announced yet.

    Deep thoughts today! Do these questions resonate with you? Why or why not?

    Next Posts

    Monica Valentinelli >

    Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.


    Back to Top