May/June Recap

Episode Three: Old Oaths is complete, but is really one half of a two-parter with its follow-up episode. Originally the two were one long episode and may still be merged again in the future, extra polish revision.

Episode Four: New Stakes will complete the Hub story arc next week. Bianca’s introduction was something I’ve changed many times, since the trope of “Airship Captain’s Ex is also an Airship Captain and Probably an Antagonist” lies in well-traversed skies. So, I went with a more wistful and adult feel to their relationship instead, something hidden behind a mask they present to the rest of the world.

There is a new Guidebook Entry: Fixers. The fixers are probably the most steampunk of Skies Unbroken’s steampunk-adjacent setting. They’re a piece of salvage themselves, an idea and a couple characters reclaimed from a non-starter Sci-fi story I concepted and never executed on (See also: The janky Hard Salvage script thing under other fiction). A Fixer hulk and its crew will appear in the next story arc.

Speaking of which: I’ve drawn up and started working under a new plan of attack for Arc 2: Storm Breakers, hence the early ‘June’ recap. I’m not at all happy with the pace of output and flow of the Hub Arc, so I’m changing up my process for the next few months. I’ve been working without a buffer of chapters for a while now, and it is miserable. After Episode Four is complete, I’ll be taking a couple weeks off of regular updates in order to grind out a new buffer of written chapters. A guidebook entry and prologue scene will fill in the gap.

February Recap

A short recap for a short month.

Episode One of Season Two is complete. Last Call was an odd episode that started out under one concept and evolved into something adjacent but quite different. It was a bit of a momentum breaker in the first couple weeks of the season, a victim of being the opening chapters of both the season, and a longer 4-episode arc in and around Hub. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, honestly.

Episode Two: Rest Days started this week. This one’s a parallel to season one’s Gloria episode, showing a day or two in the life of the rest of the crew. In defiance of jinxing myself, this one feels a lot smoother and should roll out without issue. I settled into a good grove of production over the last couple weeks of February and should keep that rolling through March and into spring.

There’s a new Guidebook entry: Airship Classes. This is something I’ve had in partial form for a while in my internal worldbook. Now it’s cleaned up, expanded, and made official.

January(ish) Recap

January is always a rough patch of the year for me when it comes to writing. So much so that it has become a tradition to slump after the holidays, spend a couple weeks wondering what’s wrong, then realize it’s happening again and make the requisite mental and physical course corrections. Nothing fancy, just more reading and running when weather allows.

Season Two of Skies Unbroken launched on schedule with Episode One: Last Call. The follow-up left a lot to be desired and I’m not satisfied with how the rollout’s gone. This episode is turning out to be far trickier than I imagined. I think I’m past the rough patch, with the rest of the episode shaping up into something useable. The ending is…curious and more of a question than a resolution. The first arc of episodes in season two are generally shorter and add up to a single finale. Or that’s the plan, anyway!

I released a commercial ebook of Season One on Amazon. This is an optional way of supporting the series, available on Kindle for $1.99. There is no new content in this release. You’re not missing out on anything compared to what’s on my website or the free download available on the Season One page.

A commercial ebook implies a couple things by definition. First is cover art. You can see my serviceable amateur efforts on the Season One page. Graphic design is hard. Any emergence of an art budget will replace this cover in short order.

Second is a Goodreads page for Skies Unbroken – Season One. Add, rate, and review as you wish.

At some point, Skies Unbroken picked up a TVTropes page. I discovered this a couple hours ago and its made my day, despite how surreal it is to see. So, a shout-out and a toast to whoever created and filled out that page!

Finally, on February 1st, I was the Writer of the Day over on the r/Fantasy subreddit. Feel free to check out that post and a handful of questions about me and my writing.

Hmm. Now that I’ve laid everything out, I do feel better about how the first month-ish of season two went. I just need to pick up the pace on actual chapters.

Onward, then!

The Year Ahead: Skies Unbroken in 2017

And we’re back! What’s in store for Skies Unbroken in 2017?!

Season two of Skies Unbroken begins next week (January 11th) with a short Prologue. The first episode, Last Call, will start up on the 18th. Season two will be longer than season one, though the precise number of episodes is still in flux. I would like to contain the entire run within 2017, but that’s a far too large and distant goal to commit to a flimsy promise on the Internet.

New Guidebook entries will run parallel to the current episode and be topical or tangential to whatever the crew of the Wink and Smile are up to this time around. Originally these were gap-fillers or introductory content, but with weekly chapter updates, they didn’t really have a place. So they’ll be their own little sub-series and give the DM in me an outlet.

The Quarterly Reports will be discontinued and replaced by slimmer monthly updates and recaps. These always felt like an afterthought and were precisely infrequent enough to sneak up on me. The general goal is more content around the weekly chapters, which will give me something to actually recap.

The website itself will see some visual updates. This theme, while clean, doesn’t really match the aesthetic of what I’m laying down here. Or I’ll just change the font and banner image and call it good.

A commercial ebook release is upcoming. Given there’s already a free compilation available here, this release is more of a support option and SEO/visibility move. It also forces me to gin up some cover art with a budget of basically zero, which will be pretty special.

Onward, then, into new uncharted skies.

Season One Episode Commentary

Here’s an organized pile of thoughts on Season One of Skies Unbroken. There are oblique spoilers contained within, and this is written under the assumption you’ve read the entire series up to this point.

Onward for posterity and content!

Prologue

(as seen on the base Skies Unbroken page)

This piece was written for a writing prompt Reddit thread on r/Fantasy a couple years ago. At that time, Skies Unbroken was in a down period of attention for me, but I pulled it out of the trunk to act as a base for a quick 500 word thing. I only needed to make a couple adjustments in order to turn it into a sort of prologue/flavor intro once I committed to the project.

This takes place right as they depart the Triplets freeport. The events in and around the Triplets, a set of large islands on the western fringes of the Northwest Frontier, was season one of Skies Unbroken in every previous iteration of the story. It opened with Kor acquiring the Wink and Smile and went through the standard arc of building up a crew, and fixing the ship, and getting into various entanglements. Choosing to skip over all of that and get right to the independent freelancer phase was a key decision that gave the project the momentum it needed.

The Big Empty

I tend to shy away from flashy, immediate hooks in my openings. The whole “Better be a murder or war declaration in the first two pages or else!” rigmarole. The characters of Skies Unbroken are the connective tissue to this serial. I didn’t want a bland “meet the crew” side page, so it became the awkwardly titled ‘Episode Zero’.

Some pieces of this episode pre-date the beginning of the project, originally written under a slightly different canon, with different character names and goals and plot outlines. The crew was much less diverse until I took a step back and realized how easily I was falling into default fantasy demographics. Simply shuffling around the character’s cultural origins led to new axis of tension with respect to old political affiliations. Which, for example, is why Kor and Wilcox, despite being of the same ethnic descent, ended up on opposite sides of the War. The crew of the Wink is a microcosm of the Northwest Frontier as a whole, a grab-bag of cultures and origins, layered with where an individual or group stood during the Great War and Dissolution of the Orventian Empire.

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