The Road to World Conquest: Plan A

It’s time to stop putting off Plan A.

When I was a young writer, I admired Harlan Ellison for this gimmick he devised, wherein he would park himself at a typewriter in the display window of a bookstore and spend the day churning out fiction. Sometimes, he’d draw inspiration from a reader for a title or theme. Then he’d just run with it.

I can’t say I’ve ever been comfortable in the skin of a traditional writer who labors best in solitude. So, when I used to ride to high school on the bus, I’d share outlandish stories that I wrote about my friends. When I worked at Walt Disney World, I turned day-to-day task ledgers into collections of creative missives that a friend of mine says he still has in his Tennessee home decades later. Back in the BBS days, I’d post message board epics on Vic DeGiorgio’s Philosopher’s Stone. At Valencia Community College, I partnered with Jeff Stanford and Liz Sentz to write fiction. After college, I became a journalist, putting out stories with a byline day after day after day for thousands of readers of the St. Petersburg Times. When newspapers started a serious decline and the Internet began its meteoric rise, I turned my attention back to creative writing with an audience. Instead of a school bus, though, it was an original-theme space opera MUD with a focus on collaborative storytelling rather than quests and monster-slaying. I called it OtherSpace.

It’s been online since 1998. Save for the occasional server crash, it’s been consistently running for 13 years – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That’s a lot of history gone by, in game and out. Three U.S. presidents. A madman blowing up a colony world. YouTube. A rift crisis threatening to tear the universe apart. Hulu. Everyone fleeing an invasion force aboard a giant lifeboat called Sanctuary.

OtherSpace outlasted my first marriage. It bridged the gap between my careers as a reporter and computer game designer. It was around before World of Warcraft and EVE Online.

All this time, I’ve rarely had the opportunity to treat OtherSpace as a day job. It’s always been more of a hobby, something done just for fun. It wasn’t practical to call it a job. But, make no mistake, it is work. Some of the best work I’ve done, I think, but it’s still work to pump new energy, new worlds, new characters, new stories into OtherSpace.

Now, I’ve got the chance. Thirteen years later, we’ve got Kickstarter.com at our disposal. So, I’ve kicked off a fundraising project with an eye toward subsidizing the next major arc project on OtherSpace, which I plan to run from Sept. 1-Nov. 30, 2011.

If we land the funding in the next 30 days, I’ll start working on pre-production for the arc – Across the Multiverse. It will be more ambitious than any that has gone before on OtherSpace, through major events, news articles, and short stories. And I’ll work it like a full-time job during that period, intent on giving every participant a chance to shine and experience an epic adventure that might make their characters into the legends that future players will talk about.

I think the time and the circumstances are ripe to get the support necessary to make this happen.

So, help spread the word and make sure OtherSpace: Across the Multiverse meets that 30-day goal!

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