Writing Update: Format Change Edition

While I’ve been able to somewhat easily return to writing The Academy series, there’s been one thing that I hadn’t been able to resolve until today. That is the idea of independent stories featuring in The Academy: Second Volume. For a long time it seemed as if including these stories that had little to do with the overarching plot was a waste of time. The problem I was having until today was that I saw this as a problem for Second Volume and not First Volume.

“If it worked in First Volume, then why does it seem like a problem now?”

The answer is obvious: because this is not First Volume. I always set out to do something new with the second installment in the series and I’ve always wanted to make sure that it is its own entity as I do with all my works, but I foolishly forgot to extend this idea into the format of Second Volume.

While the entirety of the format is not changing, there are certain stories that won’t work in this volume and so I’ve deleted them. As a result, Second Volume’s structure has benefited greatly and it utilizes a “new” format that I find to be very exciting and conveys my vision for this volume perfectly. To continue being mysterious, readers will find that the structure of The Academy Series has not changed; only the format between volumes has changed.

If you can figure it out now, I applaud you. If not, then please look forward to figuring out just what I mean at the end of the year when Second Volume is released.

Writing Update: Concept Edition

While information on my series for 2014 won’t be released until the end of January, now is a good time to talk about how I’ll be working on the series. The plan for the development of the new series is as follows.

Concept Stage – For all of 2013 I’ve been gathering ideas together to define what this series is. 90% of that information has been gathered and on December 31st, 2013 at 24:00 the document with all of this information will be locked and the concept will have been defined allowing me to begin working on the project. Information included in this document will include the world of the story, the general plot, and the core themes and ideas that will be explored.

Planning Stage – Early next year I’ll be deciding what will be the first installment in the series. There’s a lot of information on the characters, plots, and stories I’m thinking of in the concept document, but those are not definite plans. The time to decide if I’ll be going forward with those or telling completely new stories will be now. The key beats to the story and who the characters upon the stage are will be decided at this time. The plot will be allowed to evolve during the writing, but the story at the core of the first installment will be decided before the writing begins.

Writing Stage – This is where the plan is executed and new things happen. During the writing stage it is important to always be true to the concept and to not alter the plan for the first installment without very good reason. This is where everything happens and is explored in greater detail than in previous stages and where the product is created. A minimum of 70% of the final product should be represented here.

QA Stage – The first installment will be read by a select few who will provide feedback. This feedback will be necessary in shaping what has been written into the final product. A maximum of 30% of the final product can come from this stage, but if I’ve done my job right then there won’t be a need for so much of the product to come from the Quality Assurance Testers.

While the QA Testers work, I will be planning the second installment of the series.

Editing Stage – Feedback is compiled, decisions are made, and the written product is shaped into the final product. This stage mainly includes proofreading and rewording. Some minor details may be added, but no large events or revelations are likely to be implemented at this point. The plan for the second installment will continue to be written while taking into account feedback received from the first installment as well.

Release – If all goes well, my plan above will have worked out and the product will be released. I won’t when to expect the first installment yet, but remember to check back for details on what the 2014 series is on January 31st, 2014. After that date, expect to understand the series on February 28th, 2014 when information about the world of the series is revealed and continue to check the blog for more information as development on the project continues.





Rose Guns Days S2 Review

Note: This is a review of the Season 2 product which contains Season 1 as well.

With the release of Season 2, Ryuukishi07’s Rose Guns Days series is now half complete. The game is divided into seasons by release date and not by the in-game years (also called seasons) which has caused confusion for some, but is more straightforward than it sounds. When you click Start and select Season 1, you’ll play through the first five chapters of the year 1947 in an alternate history post-war Japan. The newest content contained in Season 2 contains the final two chapters of 1947 and the first three chapters of 1948. Personally, I believe the way the story is divided up is brilliant and each set of chapters ends in an exciting/meaningful place that makes you eager to get started with the next season.

Ryuukishi does a fantastic job at incorporating real world events into this alternate history as well as incorporating new fictional events that paint a beautifully realistic world of a devastated Japan taken over by the Americans and the Chinese. The battle minigames are a lot of fun and the cast of characters and their journeys as time progresses are incredibly rewarding even with the series only being half completed thus far. If you enjoyed the Season 1 battle scenes then you’ll love Season 2 which contains more large-scale battles that remain optional for those who aren’t a fan of them.

Season 2 adds less than 10 new BGM, but the utilization of new tracks is done brilliantly and certainly doesn’t leave you wishing there were more.  Included in this release is also a handy new Score menu that records your final scores from the battle minigames in Season 1 and Season 2.

Score: Great

*Scoring: Flawless > Great > Good > Okay > Bad