swept up on sub-Q

In 2015 my Twine story swept up was reprinted with minor revisions on sub-Q, the interactive fiction magazine. It was a great experience and the sub-Q team were friendly, straightforward and prompt with payment.

I was also interviewed by Kerstin Hall for the magazine, so head on over there to read about me chatting about interactive fiction, inspirations, poetry and babies!

swept up notes

I have a thing about girls and deserts. I was having a rough week and had been reading a lot of Richard Siken’s anthology Crush. These two sentences combined to make swept up.

The final third of Crush is about two boys, Henry and Theodore, driving through the US after Theodore’s taken a bullet for Henry. You could call swept up thinly veiled lesbian fanfiction of Driving Not Washing and Wishbone, and you wouldn’t be far off.

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Aquarium notes

Aquarium started as a prompt from a friend: “the aquarium, our aquarium, stood there”. The “our” in the prompt interested me: not so much the ownership, but more the plurality. I’d been reading The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater which includes posh boys with an abundance of feelings, while Sebastian’s existed in my head for a long time (his first outing was a flippant but driven playwright in his late twenties in the Luxley Family mod for Baldur’s Gate II), as has the protagonist in various forms.

I was planning to write a piece of short fiction about the characters, but then remembered my forays into Twine a few months back. I would write an interactive story instead!

Spoilers for the game below.

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Baldur’s Gate 2 modding

During our teens, my now-wife and I made NPC mods for Baldur’s Gate II. Modding taught me a lot! I learned about putting work out for an audience, handling criticism, coding and scripting, interactive writing, and making friends online.

Faren Blacknall
Faren is a former adventurer hanging around in Trademeet after his friends were killed in the Umar Hills. He’s easygoing, cheerful and flirtatious. We wanted to make a character who was a laidback ordinary chap. If you like characters who are demonstrative, want a good time and whose romances aren’t serious all the time, you’ll like Faren.

The Luxley Family
With the Luxley Family we didn’t quite know what we were getting into. Two joinable characters? Why not! Incredibly complex custom scripts, areas and kits? Go for it! Sebastian and Andrei are cousins with a family curse; Sebastian is flighty and humorous, while Andrei is serious and loyal. If you like characters who talk (a lot) and tricky decisions to make, you’ll like the Luxley Family.

Nathaniel Aplin-Fletcher
Nathaniel was our first project, and has the honour of being the first gay male romance in the modding community. He is earnest, emotional and just wants to do the right thing! If you like adorable, somewhat overwrought NPC romances with a big bundle of feelings that they just have to tell you all about, you’ll like Nathaniel.