WATCH ME: Live on the Internet!

June 23rd, 2016interviews, video games

Well, “live” as in “pre-recorded” but so be it.

As you may know, I spent last week in Los Angeles, California showing off Agents of Mayhem at E3. I had a blast, and a big part of that was being able to sit down with press and discuss our game. If you’ve been wanting to see more of me (and, boy oh boy, who hasn’t been?) then check out the videos below.

Me on Twitch!

Me on Gamespot!

Me on Young Hollywood!

I also narrated the following video where I talk more in-depth about what to you’ll find in Agents of Mayhem.

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See You at E3!

June 10th, 2016video games

I am super-stoked to announce that I will be heading to Los Angeles on Monday to spend the week at E3!

This will be my first time at the show and I am honored to be there representing Agents of Mayhem.

If you’re in the LA area next week—especially if you’re at the show—hit me up via email!

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Watch Me: IGN REWIND THEATER

June 8th, 2016video games

More Agents of Mayhem news!

I had the pleasure of sitting down with IGN’s Vince Ingenito to discuss the story behind the recently released AOM announce trailer! Check it out:

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Announcing: AGENTS OF MAYHEM

June 6th, 2016news, video games

I am so incredibly excited and relieved to finally be able to talk about what I’ve been doing at work!

For those who have been wondering, I am Lead Writer on Deep Silver Volition‘s upcoming Agents of Mayhem! Check out IGN.com for the announcement—and watch the trailer below!

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2016! Man, it’s been a while.

May 17th, 2016fiction, news

It’s a bit embarrassing how long it’s been since I last updated. But the reason is fairly simple: I’ve been really really busy. In addition to my duties at the day job, I’ve been working on fiction writing. I am very happy to announce that I finished the first draft of my Middle Grade novel Little Fears: The Wolf Pact. I am currently editing it for a summer release. I am also working on another kids’ book that I will shop around once it’s ready.

I’ve embedded the cover to The Wolf Pact below. Click on the link to check out LittleFears.com.

Little Fears: The Wolf Pact Cover

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Watch Me Play PREY

June 16th, 2015interviews, news, video games

I recently sat down to play through the very first game I ever worked on, Prey, here at my current job at Deep Silver Volition. Check out my wonderful first-person skills in the below video.

Also, I wrote the manual.

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Operation Awesome: Revelations on Story

February 23rd, 2015essays, fiction

This is gonna be mostly old hat to most writers, I reckon, but every author goes through their own journey and such so this is new and revelatory to me, at the very least.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the core essence of story lately in light of a) always wanting to get better at my craft and b) having a novel make the agent rounds to some initial interest but not enough to seal a deal.

And that initial interest is a really good data point to have. I managed to move beyond the query stage with a good handful of agents but the manuscript didn’t connect enough for them to say “Yes, I must have this!” What that’s telling me is that I am far enough into my novel-writing ability to have a solid concept and my query was good enough to pique their interest but the work itself wasn’t bulletproof which is where I ultimately want my writing to be.

Turning that over, and working on my 30k word Little Fears novel, The Wolf Pact, has caused a couple thoughts to bubble to the surface.

Thought One: What’s the story about?

More a question that a thought but it’s the first question I need to answer before moving forward. It’s essential.

Now, when most folks ask “What the story about?” they mean (or at least get an answer pertaining to) the genre, details of the world and characters, and cool stuff that happens. But that’s all much lower level than I initially need to be.

For me, the answer to “What’s the story about?” is “This is a story about how [BLANK] learns [BLANK].”

Everything else is details.

In The Wolf Pact, Nate Torrance is a boy who discovers there’s a world of monsters that exists next to ours. Throughout his investigation, he makes friends with a girl named Jennifer Mills who has her own tie to monsters and, together, they uncover the truth about some wolf attacks in the area.

But, really, The Wolf Pact is a story about how Nate Torrance learns about friendship.” As his oldest friendship with his neighbor starts to fall apart, he builds a new friendship with Jennifer. That’s the essence of the story.

Also, that second blank is the story’s theme. “Friendship” is the theme of The Wolf Pact.

Thought Two: What about the protagonist is being challenged?

Okay, so this thought is another question. And it stems from the first.

If this is a story about how Nate Torrance learns about friendship, what about Nate is being challenged that leads to an epiphany? In The Wolf Pact, Nate holds firm that friendships are fixed. They don’t change. They certainly don’t end. It’s one of his principles. That his neighbor, who is older than Nate, is moving on forces Nate to try to reclaim that friendship. Jennifer wants to be friends with Nate but the boy is resistant. Not due to a flaw in Jennifer but a flaw in himself.

Thought Three: How is the theme supported?

Okay, so now we’re onto question three which calls back to question one. How am I supporting the theme? Perhaps a better term is “exploring.”

I’m exploring the theme of friendship by presenting different sides of it: the neighbor is moving on from friendship. Jennifer is trying to build a new friendship with Nate. Nate is trying to learn how friendship works. The antagonists also address this theme of friendship which is tied into the book’s name. The titular wolf pact is a core expression of friendship and how beholden one is to a promise made in youth.

Thought Four: How does the protagonist change?

Hrm. So all these thoughts are questions. Good to know.

Okay, I know the story is about how Nate learns about friendship. I know his idea that friendships don’t change is what will be challenged throughout the story. And I know I’ll explore the theme of “friendship” by showing different perspectives and stages of it. But what will ultimately change about how Nate views friendship? Once he has all this information and has seen the theme of friendship from multiple viewpoints, what does he do about it?

I won’t spoil that in this post (you’ll have to read the book to find out) but the basic options are: he accepts that friendships change or he rejects that friendships change. There are additional levels of complexity to this of course but those are the top levels I’m concerning myself with.

In Sum

With those in mind, I was finally able to approach The Wolf Pact armed with the information I needed to start. Next came outlining, developing subplots (which go through their own version of this but with a mind of supporting the established theme), and then the actual writing.

I’ll be very interested to see how this all comes together in the finished project and how everyone reacts to it. Either way, these kinds of revelations help make my writing stronger which is my ultimate goal. Is it bulletproof yet? No. But it’s another level of armor and that’s good enough for now.

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Interview with Local Show “Current”

January 28th, 2015interviews, video games

I’m a (local) TV star! My coworker Lorcan Murphy and I sat down with local news show Current to discuss having fun at the workplace, which is something we at Volition know quite a bit about.

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Interview at Escapist Magazine

January 16th, 2015interviews, operation: awesome, rpg

So this was unexpected.

theescapist

Late in December, Adam Gauntlett—one of the folks behind the tabletop section of wildly popular gaming/geek site The Escapist—contacted me to see if I was interested in doing an interview about Little Fears. Of course, I jumped on it. I’m very happy to say that the interview is now up and I don’t sound nearly as dumb as I usually do.

Check it out here!

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Here’s the Thing About Dreams

January 2nd, 2015comics, fiction, operation: awesome, video games

Another year has ended (and I’ll write about that soon) and another one has started. All comments about arbitrary date changes aside, the beginning of a new year is as good a time as any other for reflection and declaration.

I’m not one for resolutions—no slight against them—but I am one for goals and dreams. It’s no secret that I love my day job. Writing video games is amazing and Volition is an aces place to work. I love coming into the office every day so much that I’ve become horrible at taking breaks from it. But, as do most creatives, I have ambitions beyond a single outlet. I want to create all the things—and I continue to strive to do so.

Over on Twitter, I posted the following:

Then, a little later, I added this:

Now, for the top tweet, those aren’t all crazy ideas. I’ve finished three novels in my life so far and though none have connected enough to move forward to publication, I’ve learned something with each. I am currently working with an artist on doing our own comic series and we’ll see what grows from that. And I endeavor every day to be a better human being in all relations, especially my familial ones.

But that second tweet, well, that’s a bit harder.

Some folks think because I write for a living (in video games no less!) that I have some sort of power and pull when it comes to getting Big Ideas made. Maybe, inside the confines of a Volition meeting room, there’s some truth to that (though video games are all about collaboration and any “win” I have is balanced by the wins of other people) but not-so in the bigger world.

Truth is, hardly anybody knows who I am. This isn’t a cry for pity or validation; it’s simple fact. My co-workers do, for the most part, and both my tabletop and digital games have fans (who are amazing!) but on the big creative scale, where the movers and shakers do their moving and shaking, I’m just another guy with ambition. Sure, maybe some credits too, but not so many big ones that they have to take notice.

I’m trying for that by making the things I can make and meeting the people I can meet but I’m not there yet. I’m not someone who enters a room and draws attention (outside of usually being the tallest person in the room). So, I’m just another anonymous person emailing a plea for connection and fives minutes of their time. When one of my emails hits an inbox, it’s shoved into the same Will-Get-To-Later-Maybe-Or-Maybe-Not pile as the emails of anyone else who doesn’t have some real clout behind their name.

And it doesn’t help that, frankly, the creative fields are tight, crowded areas. There are SO MANY people vying for the same thing that those who swim in the big pond can’t spend their time combing through all those emails looking for brilliance without a good reason. That good reason being name recognition or a referral from a friend or something that shines a light. I can only imagine being in the position the heads of studios are in when it comes to sorting through the in-flood of Folks Who Want Work.

I followed up the above tweets with the following two:

I wrote a comic, oh, about eight years ago (as I’ve talked about before) and I would love to get back in the field. And I’m doing that small comics project I mentioned earlier but there are some really cool established characters I’d love to take a crack at. I spent a good month putting together ideas for a Josie + the Pussycats reboot that I’d love to work on. Same for Cloak and Dagger. Zatanna’s one of my favorite characters of all time and telling one of her tales would be oh-woah-amazing. I would give blood to work on any of these titles. (And Power Pack too, as my friend Doug Snook reminded me.)

But so would a lot of people. Including folks working in comics right now. So, it’s a long shot. A really long shot. A Hail Mary pass into gale force winds. But it’s a goal. And it’s a dream. And I’m a big believer in having goals and working toward dreams. Once upon a time, working in video games was a long shot for me too.

I see myself as a creative who lives somewhere in the middle of this whole artsy mess. I write for a living but, I hope, I’m not at the top of my potential just yet. I’m just a writer trying to make it. I have my ups and downs, my successes and setbacks, but, mostly, I’m a guy with ambition. A guy who’s trying to do more and be more.

Maybe 2015 will give life to some of these dreams. Time will tell. But I’ll still be here working, no matter what the Fates have in store.

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