2016 was a great year for me as a writer. My work made its way into a number of different publications, both print and digital. 2017 hasn’t even started yet and I already have some more stuff slated for publication, which is really awesome. For an entire year, though, I’ve been exclusively putting out non-fiction. As 2016 comes to a close, it’s occurred to me that I’ve gone an entire year without leaking any new fiction at all.
For the last year, I’ve been stuck in that awkward time when I have several fiction projects on the go, but they’re all still a long, long way from being complete, or even in a state where I can talk about them in a meaningful way. After all, the last book I wrote started as a rollicking adventure through time and space, and ended up being…well, an deep dive into nihilism, depression, and the creative murder of main characters. The prior book underwent a massive rewrite after its first draft, with probably only 10% of the first draft surviving all the way to the end.
But I don’t want to close out the year without releasing even a single scrap of fiction, so I’m going to do something I’ve never done before: release a scrap.
This is an early draft of one of my current projects, a sci-fi novel titled Starborn (I usually go with one-word titles while I’m writing, and usually settle on something more ridiculous later on). It’ll probably be unrecognizable by the time it’s ready to be read again, but it should give you a good sense of the world and where things ago going. And, hopefully, leave you wanting to read more.
Every year since 2012, I’ve done a photo series on the Vancouver Pride Parade. Why? Because everyone in attendance at the parade is absolutely, unbelievably gorgeous.
I grew up in a place known nationally for its homophobia. Sexuality was always this distant, fringe thing, and anything outside of well-defined limitations was, well, perverted. And I didn’t understand why perversion was something worth celebrating.
Well, it turned out I was totally wrong. About a lot of things.
When I first moved to Vancouver, it felt like living in the future. Hell, a lot of TV shows and movies set in the future use Vancouver as their backdrop. It just feels like a place where so much is going right–the buildings shine, the water glistens, and the grass is green year-round, and there’s a progressiveness and thoughtfulness that permeates everything. The city cares about social justice, about the environment (Vancouver aims to be the most environmentally-friendly city in the world by 2020), about the day-to-day lives of the people who live in it.
One of my favourite games of 2015 has been DONTNOD’s Life is Strange. It’s a brilliant indie-film-coming-of-age-time-travel-story about a girl who’s recently returned to her home town and struggling to repair past friendships. Oh, and try to prevent the town from being destroyed by a crazy magical tornado, a disaster she might be able to avert by manipulating time.
No one would be able to claim that it’s a flawless game, but it does so much stunningly right that it’s going to be on my mind for a long time. At some point, I might need to write about how the gameplay works to mirror the emotions of the main character–Max–with the emotions of the player. That’s some fantastic stuff. But right now, there’s one thing that I was to focus on: pacing.
This was originally published on Medium back in February, 2015
I grew up in one of the most incredible eras. The timing was really impeccable. I was born the same year the Macintosh was released. The proliferation of personal computers is something I witnessed first-hand. I remember monitors that could show only orange, followed by CGA (3 colours), EGA (16 colours), and VGA (256 colours, which was nothing short of a revelation). It was a complicated, new, and occasionally scary world.
I would kill to work in the games industry. But how do I break in? Where should I go to school? What should I be doing?
I get asked this question a lot, and the answer is…complicated. So I thought I’d answer it here, once and (mostly) for all.
Game development is a relatively new industry. If you want to be a pilot, you take aviation. If you want to be a doctor, you go to med school. But when the profession you’re interested in has only been around for a handful of years, there’s no clear way into it.