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.
Episode Two: Rest Days wrapped up, even if I had to drag each chapter across the completion line. The multi-PoV ‘urban’ episodes always present difficulty. Compressing each character’s mini-story into a single chapter, and the whiplash of switching my mindset from one to another, is a challenge. But it’s an important check-in for each of them, especially since everyone’s slated for a full episode of their own further down the line.
Episode Three: Old Oaths is halfway complete as of this week. It’s an order of magnitude easier than its predecessor and contains some long-awaited kick-offs and info-dumps.
Improved consistency is the name of the game this month, namely pulling chapter updates back to Wednesday mornings. March and April were minefields of distraction and momentum breakers. I’d prefer a higher cadence of output, but that’s a stretch goal for now.
The flying isn’t always smooth, but we’re pressing on, all the same.
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.