Shaintar – Why and Where We Are
This thing is way overdue; I was supposed to do this on the evening of my birthday, and obviously failed. Insert list of personal excuses here; if you care, feel free to ping me direct about that, but they do not matter to the results you rightfully expect.
So let’s get to it. I don’t think I ever really explained how I managed to screw the plan for the Shaintar Guidebooks and Black Lantern Reports up so thoroughly. I know I meant to, and I’ve explained to a few of you at cons and otherwise over the last year and a half, but it hit me while I was at Chupacabracon this past weekend that I’d failed to really get into it as openly here as I should.
When I first conceived and presented my Guidebook plan to MMK and the Savage Mojo crew (the great and patient folks who managed the KS for me and are still doing all the art and production for these books), I did so with the underlying assumption that all I really had to do was take the material I’d developed and written over the decades and give it a solid re-tread. Some polish here, some punching-up there, and add in some mechanics stuff – book, instant books!
I was delusional.
First off, I was way too excited about the Kickstarter and its planning, so I utterly failed to go and do the research and review of all that material that should have occured. I didn’t really look until near the end, when it suddenly hit me that most of that stuff was way out of date, or else just not nearly as good as I’d remembered.
At the end of the KS, even as the massive gut-punch of realizing how I’d screwed myself by not actually paying myself out of it was setting in, the self-administered knife in the back slid in as I realized all of those books would have to be written very nearly from the beginning.
Try to imagine you’ve got the pre-set ingredients for thirty cakes and pastries, all ready to go in bags and plastic containers, and you’re thinking you can crank out all that breaded goodness in short order, since all you have to do is add a bit of milk, do some stirring, and maybe tinker a bit here and there.
Now imagine that you’ve opened those bags and plasticware and discovered the ingredients went too stale, or got rotten, or you’d completely screwed up the proportions from the very start.
Now you’ve got to start practically all over again; what was supposed to take a relatively short while is now looking to be a nearly impossible task, given when you were supposed to get all that baking done.
That’s been my life since July 2013. Ethically, I simply cannot cheese this stuff. I love and respect my world more than that, and I love and respect all of you more than that.
That, friends, is the crux of how and why all this became such a mess.
As for where things are now…
Kickstarters can be viewed like venture capital efforts for various kinds of buildings, most of which are big, elaborate towers. Some never even see the foundation get built, while others shoot right up to completion.
The Shaintar Tower got the foundation done (Shaintar: Legends Unleashed), and a few floors have been put in over time. It’s a very slow, often stalled project, and understandably the citizens of the city are sick of seeing cranes everywhere and not hearing the machinery going nearly enough.
The chief architect couldn’t get his act together; he threw the plans out, started all new plans. He finally brought a new foreman onto the site, who’s done a pretty awesome job of pushing more floors into place. The quality assurance inspector is powering through the various emplacements.
The architect took a vacation for mental health. He is, at long last, back on site and returning to the key design work. The foreman is planning a scheduling meeting soon.
In more direct, practical terms, here’s what we have going currently:
* Two more novellas (Scott Corum and Dan McGirt) in hand; one is edited and needs to enter production, the other just arrived and needs read-through, editing, then production.
* The first production draft of Magic and Cosmology: Volume I is in hand and Carinn will be doing a final read-through today. There are some art notes we need to see handled, but at this stage, I believe we can talk in terms of a couple of weeks for release. Assuming all goes well, perhaps even days.
* There’s a manuscript from Shawn Gore in hand for Black Lantern Report: Snakes Den, which Carinn has on her editing pile. Guidebook: Kal-a-Nar Empire’s been in from Betty Law Morgan for a while and has been put off for too long, so that’s next on my personal agenda. We also have Ed Greenwood’s Serenity: City of Secrets in hand, which came in during the holidays. We’re particularly excited about getting this through edits and into production ASAP.
* Not part of the KS fulfillment, but the City of Eastport is on Ross’ desk for production into a release product soon, as well.
There may even be more that I am forgetting (Ross will get me more fully up-to-speed this Friday at our next Evil Beagle meeting), but as you can see, we’re not idle by any means.
The next big decision is which Guidebook I am going to delve into writing first, and I’ll be letting you all know that soon. There is also that Huge Project I talked about, which I still cannot reveal publicly just yet. I will be working on that, too; as I explained, it’s going to be how I continue actually making a living, since I was so foolish with the structure of the KS and the product line. It’s important that you, the supporters, know that I am splitting my time. However, the tower will go up, all the way to the top.
As always, my deepest and most abiding gratitude for your continued patience and support.