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Showing posts with label Tim Brannan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tim Brannan. Show all posts

Monday, July 18, 2016

April In July (#atozchallenge)

It’s July. Time for beaches, bar-b-ques and planning your A to Z posts!
What?
Why so early you ask?

Blogging in the A to Z challenge takes time. If you are not used to blogging every day there is that, but even those of us that do blog everyday there is more time needed for this challenge. Especially to make it successful and more importantly fun.

So for me, July is the time I start planning my posts for next April.
I start off with a simple spreadsheet with letters A to Z going down the rows along with the date and days.  Sometimes having a particular letter on a particular day might influence me.  Like one year Z appeared on Saturday. Since I did a regular posting every Saturday about the comic book character Zatanna, I knew I was set.

Now for me I love to work with themes. I have been doing the A to Z Challenge since 2011 and been doing it with themes since 2012.  Themes give me focus and make me reach as a writer and blogger. Over the years I have done Games, Witches, Demons, Vampires and most recently Adventure.  For me a theme helps bring people back. I know there were several blogs I followed because of their interesting themes.  I want to choose a theme that first of all my regular readers will enjoy and then one that new readers will also find compelling and want to come back for more.  Since I am typing everything into a spreadsheet (a in truth I am using Google Sheets for this) I can actually develop a few themes at a time. Presently I have three I am working on.


I know there is the big theme reveal closer to April so I am kinda stealing my own thunder here, but the themes I am considering are “Undead” (like vampires, ghosts and the like), “OSR Games” (games of the old-school renaissance) and finally “Free Games” (games that you get for free).

Ok. I have my spreadsheet in place. I have an idea of my theme or two (or three).  What do I need to do now? Well I have nine months, give or take, to start writing my posts and gathering up what I need to make this all work.  Some of the posts of my themes almost write themselves.  Most don’t.  So I start to fill in the blanks to see what I have for each theme.  Some letters, Q, X, Y and Z I know will give me some issues, so I try to figure out what will go there first.
Well for Games and OSR I can use the game “X-plorers” and “Zfers” for X and Z respectively.  So that is a good start. For Undead I have “Zombie”, so not quite as good.

And...the search goes on. But you know what? That is OK since I still have some months yet.
A week or so later in July I am much closer to figuring out what I am going to do.

I know there is a big reveal in March, but I am going to give you a spoiler now.
I put down my first post for April 2017.  It’s for B and I picked “Basic Fantasy”.  I am going to focus on free games that you can download and play right away.
It is set now. I am committed. I just need 25 more posts! But now I know what I am going to do and a pretty good idea what the content of each post will be.   Come April I can concentrate on visiting all of your blogs now!

I say this summer spend a couple of extra minutes each day doing your April posts and make your April more enjoyable.  Sooner than you think 2017 will be here!

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Tim Brannan is a blogger over at The Other Side a gaming and horror blog. He have been blogging since 2008 and been a participant in the A to Z Challenge since 2011.

He is also up for an ENnie Award (something like the Oscars of Gaming) for Best Blog and he would really like it if you voted for him.
http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/2016/ballot.php?category_id=6 
Please click on the link and vote "1" under "The Other Side".

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Helps You Blog Better?

Hey everyone. It is me, Tim Brannan from The Other Side, again!  I am a Role-Playing game author so I use my blog as a platform to talk about my books, but also to share with others in my blogging community to sorts of things I like to write about.  So RPGs, horror and geek-culture.

Often times when we write about writing in general and blogging in particular we talk a lot about where ideas come from, how to get more readers or even how much writing everyday is important.  This is all true, and important, but that is not the type of tools I mean today.

Hardware

Look down.  There. See it, it's your keyboard.  What is your relationship with your keyboard?

I blog every day.  I write in addition to that and there is that day job too.  I spend a lot of time with my fingers on my keyboard.  My favorite keyboard is the one I have at home, the Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000. It is the silver one and long, long out of stock.  I wrote Ghosts of Albion on it and it is by far the most comfortable keyboard I have ever used.  I never expected to find a replacement for my old beatup Gateway 2000 124 key programmable keyboard, but this one is fantastic.


Here is my main computer, Frankencomputer (I built it from spare parts).  It's not much more than a web-machine and word processor which is what I want when I am writing.  The keyboard is actually worth more to me than the rest of the computer.  If I am going to sit and pound away on a keyboard then it needs to be comfortable to me.

This is my second 6000 keyboard in truth.  I bought this one off of eBay for an ungodly price and still consider it money well spent.  It has the right curve for my hands and can elevate to the right height so I don't get fatigue while typing. Plus it is the same keyboard Weird Al has in his song "White & Nerdy".  A song that is not about me at all. Really. Honest.

Software

I was reading the other day that George R. R. Martin, when he is not plotting to kill every character you love, sits in front of his old DOS machine and types his books into WordStar 4.0.  Piers Anthony once mentioned that back in the day he paid a programmer to reverse engineer his favorite word processor from CP/M to MS-DOS. Laurel K. Hamilton did her first writing on a manual typewriter and still thinks of things in terms of page counts and not word counts.  I am sure there are many more examples, but the point is clear. We get used to something for our writing and we like to stick with it.   Myself, I am an Microsoft Word fan.  I have been using it for years, since version 1.1 and Office 4.3.  I have gotten very comfortable with it and have lost count of the number of hours I have spent in it.

So then am I switching over to Google Drive?
Well while I still use Word one of the things it promised and never really delivered on was real time collaboration.   With the Google Drive word processor I can work with others and see their edits real time. We can chat and discuss what it is we are doing and why.  Plus I have lost count of the number of docs I have lost carting them from one computer to another, either on floppy disk or flash drive. And then when I manage to get it to another computer (say from work to home) I have to deal with whether or not the computer can read the file format and version control.  The only thing worse than loosing a document is to spend hours adding to a draft that is already 3 revisions old.

So how about you?
What are your writing needs? Special keyboard? Software? Maybe it is your best comfy chair.

Tell us all about it.

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Like what I do?
Let me know by voting for me for "Best Blog" in the 2014 ENnie Awards for Role-Playing Games.
http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/
Go to Best Blog and put a "1" next to "The Other Side". Thanks so much!
Voting ends on July 30.

About the Author  
Timothy S. Brannan is the author of The Other Side blog, http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/ He has worked on a number of games including the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG", and is the author of “The Ghosts of Albion RPG”, “The Witch”, “Eldritch Witchery” and the upcoming “Strange Brew” which is currently in a Kickstarter Campaign.




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is Planning Now for the 2015 A to Z Too Soon?


CONGRATULATIONS!

Hello everyone. My name is Tim Brannan. I blog over at The Other Side where I primarily talk about games, RPGs and horror.  I am a game author so I use my blog as a platform to talk about my books, but also to share with others in my blogging community to sorts of things I like to write about.

I have been writing material for games nearly as long as I have been playing them.  I started in 1979 and my first "custom class" was a Healer. And....I am not afraid to admit my first new monster I ever wrote up was a "Smurf". Yeah. I was 10.  My first witch class was written sometime between 1985 and 1986.

This was my fourth year of doing the A to Z Challenge on the Other Side. I have also done it one year on my Atheism blog, The Freedom of Nonbelief and another year at Red Sonja She-devil with a Sword, a shared blog dedicated to the comic book character Red Sonja.  Plus I have guest-posted here before on how to use the A to Z challenge in your own writing efforts and the importance of having a theme to your posts.

One would have thought I would have been more prepared this year!

At some point in February I was still planning on doing an A to Z theme on Vampires.  I had started the posts last year when I did Demons. I had an idea for a book about vampires and I thought it would have been a good way to do some research.  It was. Till I shifted midstream.

My newest book is now at Kickstarter to get funding for art and printing.  "Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch & Warlock" is, well, the most complete guide to playing a witch in the Pathfinder game.  A bit of background.  Back in 2000 the 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons hit the shelves with the "Open Gaming Licence" which briefly meant 3rd party authors could make their own books for D&D and not get sued or anything like that.  If you followed the admittedly simple rules of the Open Game Licence then you could do it.  Well I did and in 2003 I released "Liber Mysterium: The Book of Witches & Warlocks".  A friend of mine released a similar book for witches called "Way of the Witch". We liked each other books and we were happy.  2013 rolls around and this friend, Christina, decides it is time we mixed our books together with the newest version of the D&D 3rd edition game, Pathfinder (it's not exactly, but close enough).  We added in the Pathfinder witch and some others and decided to kick start it as a project.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/962794554/strange-brew-pathfinder-the-ultimate-witch-and-war

So far things are going great!  But my extra writing time was taking a solid hit.  I have 13 years worth and thousands of pages of notes and material to go through.

So to save some time I switched over to the A to Z of Witches.

It was a good idea.  Go through notes, post ideas as they come to me.  I only managed to stay about 10 days ahead of schedule and that was nowhere near enough.  So much for my own advice about theme and planning!

I got a lot of great posts up and in fact have enough for another couple months of solid witch postings.   I got to participate in a "mini-hop" of people doing supernatural creatures during the A to Z as well and that was the best!  I have to give very special thanks to Tasha (Tasha's Thinkings) and Sophie (Sophie's Thoughts and Fumbles) for helping me with the idea and then doing all the heavy lifting afterwards.  THEY, and everyone in the Supernatural mini-hop, really made this A to Z special for me.

If you look at my May 5th post I state I survived the A to Z challenge.  Survived is the right word. Not beat, not won, but survived.  Yes I posted everyday and still got in some of my other posts. Yes I visited my neighbor blogs, but didn't always comment on them.  Yes the material I wrote will find a home somewhere in Strange Brew.

But, I didn't get to interact with other bloggers as much as I wanted. I didn't visit every blog on the list like I have in years past.  And while I noticed that I was getting a good amount of traffic from the Supernatural A to Z and from the A to Z site itself, my regular readers dropped off.  So in that respect I didn't do as well as I would have liked.

I write about games.  That is who I am and what my readers want.  I tried to keep the topics I posted very relevant to gamers, but also to the non-gamers.  Most people in the world don't care if some beastie has 5 HD or 15 HD, you just want to know how tough it is. To gamers that is a big deal. It's a big deal to me.

I love doing the A to Z and I am taking my own advice to heart and starting my 2015 posts this summer.  I am still considering doing vampires. So to make it work there needs to be plenty of material for gamers (what we in the RPG biz call "crunch") and plenty of narrative material enjoyed by everyone else (what we call "fluff").

So what is my plan?

  • Start my post writing early.  Crunch takes longer to write than Fluff. I'll need the time.
  • Keep enough crunch to keep my regular readers happy. Especially if it something new.
  • Keep the fluffy interesting to keep the A to Zers coming back.
  • Visit and interact with more of the bloggers in the A to Z. If I write all my posts this should be easier.
  • I would LOVE to participate in another mini-hop like I did this year. That was awesome.

Looking forward to it!

About the Author 
Timothy S. Brannan is the author of The Other Side bloghttp://timbrannan.blogspot.com/
He has worked on a number of games including the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG", and is the author of “The Ghosts of Albion RPG”, “The Witch”, “Eldritch Witchery” and the upcoming “Strange Brew” which is currently in a Kickstarter Campaign. Please stop by and see if this is something you would like to support.
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for ... Other Blogs!

What? I know I did something similar for L, but so what? It was awesome.

Now that we're over half way done with the challenge, how are you faring? So far, I have posted every single day except Sunday, and have visited at least ten blogs on the list every one of those days. It's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun.

Anyway, here are some blogs related to the letter O that I have been enjoying during the challange:

Michael Offut has been posting about Star Wars: The Close Wars, the animated TV series.

Oh Frog It! has been embroidering song lyrics.

Tim Brannan, from The Other Side, has been covering all kinds of monstrous topics.

Duncan, at Our Home Called Kuantan, has a nice series of Keep Calm.

Outside Perception had a lovely tribute to Boston yesterday.

Do you have any blogs you've discovered through the Challenge that relate to the letter O? Feel free to share them in the comments, and make sure to visit my five, follow them, and tell them I sent you. Oh, and you can find my blog here: The QQQE, if you'd like to follow me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monstrous Monday Brought to You by Tim Brannan

            Today's guest is two time A to Z veteran Tim Brannan.  The podium is yours Tim.

My name is Tim Brannan and I blog over at The Other Side.  My blog is primarily a gaming blog; I write about Role-Playing Games, the original kind, with paper, pencils and dice.  I tend to focus primarily on games I have been involved with over the last 30+ years of playing, running and eventually, writing them.   So my blog, originally, began as a means of me improving on and showing off my game writing.   My particular interests though lie in horror games.  I worked on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG and I wrote Ghosts of Albion.  So I wanted to expand out in to horror as well.


I came to the A to Z blogging challenge back in 2011.  I figure I was blogging everyday anyway, so the challenge for me was finding something to say that began with that day’s letter.  I checked over my regular schedule and I noticed that the letters corresponded well with my regular posts. I remember that Z fell on a Saturday that year and I post about the comic character Zatanna on Saturdays.  That clinched it for me! Last year I went REALLY overboard and all my posts on the Other Side had to fit my theme of reviewing a new RPG.  So I reviewed 26 games, in alphabetical order.  Because I am also a glutton for punishment, I participated over at my Atheism blog, The Freedom of Nonbelief, about the A to Z of Atheism.  

For 2013, I am thinking of adding a couple of blogs to the challenge, these are ones I co-author with others.


The A to Z Challenge was so much fun that I have been itching to do something like that on my own.  Some sort of blogging challenge that would play to my interests and maybe even give my little blog some attention.  We I finally came up with something in the form of MONSTROUS MONDAY.  There are five Mondays in October this year and I thought it would be great if I posted a monster every Monday.  These would be game stats, something you could use in a game.  But then I got to thinking, my audience is more than just gamers.  I decided to expand it to include any type of monster discussion.  I know a lot of authors too, so they can talk about the monster from their new book. Movie bloggers can join and talk about their favorite movie monster; I could go on for pages (and have) about Dracula for example.





So allow me to present the MONSTROUS MONDAY bloghop/blogfest (not sure what the difference is).  Just go to my blog, grab the code, sign up and Monday, October 29th post your monster.  I have information, banners/buttons and signup here: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/p/bloghop.html


What I would love is to get a variety of blogs to participate.  Blogging is great, but we all tend to stay in our own circles.  Not that we all necessarily all agree with each other all the time, but there is a tendency for us all to talk about the same things.  A bloghop or a blogfest is a great way to expand your circles a bit, to see what other bloggers are doing, what sort of things excite them and so on.  I enjoy stepping outside the gaming circles because I get different perspectives.  I can talk about something like vampires or witches and get totally different responses from gamers, horror authors and horror movie fans.  I find that feedback essential to my growth as a blogger and as a game writer.   And if I can also get some people interested in this hobby of mine, then all the better!


So let’s see your monsters! The ones you love, the ones you hate and the ones that still send you hiding under the covers or behind the sofa!

          Thanks Tim!   I've signed up on Tossing It Out.  This is a great way to celebrate Halloween and I've always had a soft spot in my heart for monsters. How about you?  Do you like monsters?  Would you like to join us on Monday October 29th for this blog event?


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