Sunday, September 18, 2011

Writing "The Nightmare Beast"

My first work-for-hire story, "The Nightmare Beast," is available now to the general public at Story Portals. This is not the first time I've written in someone else's universe (my story "By Whatever Means Necessary" was an Honorable Mention in the first of Blizzard's annual writing contests for their Starcraft/Warcraft/Diablo properties), but happily enough, it's the first time I've been paid to do so.

"The Nightmare Beast" stars an assassin named Katya, the lead franchise character over at Story Portals. One of the best, Katya finds herself on a variety of dangerous jobs over the course of the series. In "The Nightmare Beast" she finds herself meeting an old acquaintance who hires her unaware of who she really is. She's asked to assassinate a man and steal package he neglected to deliver to her client, but the job can't be that simple, can it?

Doing work-for-hire can be fun since a lot of the world-building is already done, I can just cut loose and write, and I was able to write the first draft much more quickly than I could my original work.

"The Nightmare Beast" was also my trial run using Scrivner. I don't normally do first drafts on computer anymore, since I find the lure of the internet to be too distracting, but I didn't want to write "The Nightmare Beast" in longhand in my notebook because it would end up getting mixed in with the novel project I was working on at the time.

Scrivner has a feature though that allows the entire screen to be covered with nothing but a big white sheet, reminiscent of a typewriter, that hides everything else in the background. At first I thought it was a silly feature, but when I used it, I found it really did do a good job of blocking out distractions. The only problem was that the "typewriter" didn't advance with every new line (I was using the Beta) so I was usually writing at the bottom of the screen instead of the middle.

I’m not a complete convert, but the program might be used another time in the future if I need to avoid getting my notebook cluttered with multiple projects again.

I listened to several songs to get into the mood for writing Katya. Songs used for "The Nightmare Beast" were "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry, "According to You" by Orianthi, and "Who Knew" and "Please Don't Leave Me" by Pink.