Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Emma Larkins Blog Has Moved

Greetings! It's been a while since I've posted here, so I wanted to write a note to let you all know I've finally consolidated my blog and my website. From now on, I'll be adding new content over there.

New Blog Here

What you'll find on the new blog:

  • More frequent posts! I've felt somewhat stifled by the direction this blog has been going. This has caused me to stifle blogging impulses that didn't quite mesh with my old content.
  • More creative projects. In addition to my science fiction writing, I'm now designing tabletop games!
  • More fiction. I'm excited to write and share short speculative fiction pieces, and I now have a place where they fit!
  • More personal anecdotes. I'm a pretty private person, but I love the personal stories I read by writers I follow, so I want to try some of my own.
  • More guests/interviews. One of the best parts of writing and being social online is showing off the awesome work of other creators. Can't wait to do more of this.
What you won't find on the new blog:
  • Freelance writing advice. If that's what you're looking for, I highly recommend subscribing to the Freelancer blog on Contently.
  • Business/marketing advice. I care a lot about this subject, and will most certainly write about it for other markets. At the same time, it's targeted to a very specific audience that doesn't necessarily overlap with the audience for my creative projects.
  • Heavy industry/tech talk. Again, I want to make the blog accessible to fans, not just creators. So less about the nitty-gritty "how" a project comes to life, and more about the "why."
Thanks to everyone who has followed what I've been working on. Excited to have you all join me in this next chapter!

Cheers, Emma

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Page-a-day Book Release of Mechalarum

I haven't always been the best at keeping this blog updated. A regular font of information needs to have a source, and I've been too interested in jumping around to consistently produce words of wisdom for my audience.

However, the upcoming release of my debut novel changed that. Now I have a focus, something to dedicate my energies towards, and best of all, a simple, straightforward plan for posting once a day.

My novel Mechalarum is scheduled to release on October 9, 2014. In the meantime, it will be available for pre-order on Amazon.

Until then, I'll be releasing the first few chapters a page at a time in image form on my Mechalarum blog. Head there to see the latest posts! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NIKA Interview with Game Designer Josh Raab (Tabletop)

Today's interview is with game designer and active member of the NYC gaming development community Josh Raab. Josh is currently running a Kickstarter to fund development of his tabletop game NIKA, which he describes thusly: "Command a Greek city’s hoplite soldiers. Push and rout enemy lines. Coordinate allied attacks to secure victory, but watch your flanks!"

Watch the video to learn more about improving Kickstarter success through building community before launch, the importance of playtesting, and thoughts on the creative process. I've included a partial transcript of the interview below.

Hope you enjoy!

Tell us a little about you and your game.

I'm a grad student at the NYU Game Center, MFA in Game Design. Studied Ancient Greek History in undergrad, which was the inspiration for NIKA. It's a game about ancient Greek warfare, where you have four Greek cities, two allied against the other two. You're basically trying to get one of your pieces across the board into your ally's territory.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What's In a Blog? Choosing a Focus to Get Noticed

I've never been entirely happy with the way I've run this blog. True, after writing (off and on) and evolving the content for almost six years, there's a lot of value wrapped up in it. Even without publishing regularly, I'm getting a couple thousand views per month; I peaked at 4,500 last March when I ran my Mechalarum Kickstarter. But I've never identified a target market and consistently delivered interesting and useful information to that audience.

It's hard to pick a focus when I'm interested in so many things. I could easily write pages and pages geared towards people running crowdfunding projects, authors writing and self-publishing their books, science fiction readers looking for entertainment, or NYC-based entrepreneurs building tech startups. Or I could just post photos like the one above because, come on, who doesn't like beer and waffles?

Another consideration is content style. Although content marketing is bigger than ever, blogs seem somewhat passe in 2014, falling in popularity compared to Tumblrs or simply "news sites." We have more stories than ever competing for our attention in a variety of formats. The stuff that succeeds needs to be rare, slick, attractive, informative, and/or easy to consume.

A third important factor is a bit vague - what will make me want to come back to writing my posts, day after day? My friend vowed to pick a "song of the day" every day this year, and he's stuck with it. It's fairly simple, interesting, personal, and sets up an expectation that people can get behind.

2014 is going to be the most rewarding and most profitable year I've ever had. Creating a regular content stream is an important part of that vision. I'm excited to try out new ideas, assess for both personal and audience interest, and iterate as needed.

Oh, and if you want to beer-and-waffle it up, check out the delicious selections available at Sweet Revenge.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Games As Stories, Plus A Cultus/Cram Games/Boston FIG Shoutout

Excited to share some great news.

True, I'm a bit biased, as I kind of like game designers Phillip Schmitte and Jesus Garay. But the game also has a great story, perfectly encapsulated by flavor text and shown off with gorgeous art.

Earth Grinder

“An unorthodox sword to fight greedy earth spirits”

Enduring Confection

“Sweet ecstasy from the World Before attracts the hungry”

The premise is that, in a post-apocalyptic world, people find 'relics' from past times (shovels, well-preserved pastries, football helmets), interpret them, and build up cults around them. As the cult leader, it's your job to use influence to construct shrines around these relics, fill the shrines with devotees, and execute 'ideas' to strengthen your following. The person with the most power at the end of the game wins!

As a writer, I've been thinking a lot about the different mediums in which people tell stories. Games (whether video, tabletop, board, or other) are fascinating storytelling vehicles that often use imagery, social interaction, music, movement, and more to convey something authors attempt using only words. I'd love to explore what it's like to craft a world, plot, and characters in this way.

Can't wait to hear what happens at Boston FIG!