Skies Unbroken will be going on a (customary?) end-year hiatus starting, oh, two weeks ago. My recent efforts have all be glitchy and disjointed, and I need a thorough reset, similar to what I did last year at the end of Season One. Routine maintenance, mostly involving updating world documents and staring at outlines that never survive contact with first drafts. As before, the gap will be patched with updates and whatever guidebook entries float to the top of the pile. Further, next week is the two-year anniversary of this whole mad project and I have a couple review and retrospective posts planned out. I’ll go in depth on the series so far in those.
In the meantime, I’m working on a palette cleanser of a writing project, conveniently coinciding with NaNoWriMo. This also makes sure I have another meter to fill which is already hilariously behind par. It’s the magi-tech infused spy novel I’ve mentioned before, though with a different spin on it from previous iterations.
Gather ’round, friends, and warm yourselves by this heating unit that we really ought to replace next time we’re in port. Now, you may have heard about an episode of Skies Unbroken called Derelict. It was much like its kin, another quick yarn staring the same ol’ crew. But this story never made it to the light of day. Though it was nearly 60% complete and ready to debut last week, a dark presence arose around the episode, tricking the tale and leading it astray into a realm of ghosts and unfinished side projects. Derelict disappeared, with only a fragmentary note stating “Issues with thematic execution” as a hint as to its fate.
Maybe it’ll return through the mists to us one day, perhaps changed into something new.
In the meantime, Episode Seven: Huntress has begun with a short prologue! This is Chantil’s solo episode, and I’m happy to finally get going on it. I’m sure everything will go as planned for her in this adventure.
Ah, the slow decline of summer!
Episode Five: Stormrider, wrapped up a couple weeks ago. The episode was about starting new ventures and clean slates and about halfway through I realized it was the actual beginning of Season Two. The entire Hub Arc, in retrospect, read like a conclusion to plotlines in Season One. I think when everything is said and done, there will be some reorganization of what episodes are part of which season/arc/partXofY.
A new Guidebook entry, Ghosts, haunted the week between episodes. This was the most spontaneous guidebook entry thus far, a test in going from concept to draft to published in a single day. I want Guidebook entries to be fairly light and quick, so the test was successful this time around.
Episode Six: Fragments is currently being pieced together and its second chapter went up this week. Nem chapters are always a bit of a grind and she’s the toughest member of the cast to get right. Her future full episode will be a monster of a task, I can already feel it.
I’ll be on vacation for about two weeks starting next week. Chapter three of Fragments should (oh, I shouldn’t say this) be out as usual next Wednesday, September 6th, but there will be a gap the following week on the 13th. A Guidebook fill-in will likely slot in on the 20th.
In other news, I’ve been experimenting with a trio of side projects, all proto-novels, whenever I needed a palette cleanser. I’ve been trying to commit to one of the three and the choice just became easier. While randomly browsing Amazon the other day, I came across The Witch Who Came in From the Cold and it’s so similar to what I was working on that it effectively snuffed out my project in a dark, icy back alley. At least I have the consolation prize of knowing the concept was good enough.
The next story arc of Skies Unbroken’s season two began yesterday with Episode Five: Stormrider. This short chapter was initially a prologue, but got rolled into the following episode halfway through the early drafts. The remainder of season two contains some long-awaited episodes with many scenes and details that have been swirling around in my head since the conception of this project.
There’s a degree of irony in the subject matter of the first chapter, being all about blank slates and fresh starts. On Tuesday morning, I opened the main file of Episode Five to discover that it was corrupted and completely unrecoverable. This also applied to the backup copy in my cloud drive and I just so happened to have been lax in my backup procedure in the last week or so, meaning they were the only two current copies. The one time and it bites me. Lesson learned there, as now I have six copies across four locations. Won’t catch me again!
All told, I lost about a week’s worth of drafts and revisions, including the complete and proofed version of this week’s update. So, after cooling my righteous anger, I redid the entire chapter from a raw old version in a blitz of rewriting and editing. I’m happy with the end result and the turnaround of getting it back up to snuff, but there’s definitely a few sentences that aren’t the same as the original. Those specific permutations of words are simply gone forever. Oh well.
There was also a new guidebook entry last week: Summit. Summit is a significant port of call in the Northwest Frontier, but missed the cut on being featured in an episode. However, in the spirit of the place, I couldn’t let the worldbuilding go to waste.
Despite the setback, I’m feeling back on course for regular updates on Wednesday mornings. And so, onward once again!
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.