One of the best things that Tellest stands for is its inclusiveness. The motto, The World is in Your Hands, didn’t show up out of thin air. It was something that took a commitment to arrive at. I don’t want this written universe to be in its own little bubble. It will thrive on the community its been building.
Long term, I imagine taking on other writers, and publishing them through Tellest, or perhaps Otherworld if the scope is too distinct or foreign for Tellest to accommodate. I envision MMOs where the gamers’ decisions ultimately shape each variant of the world you’re playing in. Consider a scenario where you’re in the city of Versali-Virai, and there is a huge bay separating the western and eastern sides of the urban sprawl. What if the players proposed different ways to traverse that distance? One realm (or server, shard, whatever you call it) employs a ferry to carry you from one side to the other. Another realm builds a massive bridge that lifts high above the water to allow ships beneath it, while serving as an overpass for those walking or on horseback. These ideas aren’t ones that are floated by the developers. They’re proposed (and funded with in game money) by the players.
I digress. Rather than talk about things that are in the distant future, I should talk about what is possible in the months to come. Last week I talked about how we are now on Patreon (and we already have our first patron!). One of the cool things about Patreon is that you can set these milestone goals – kind of like stretch goals on Kickstarter – but because Patreon works on a monthly or per item basis, you’re actually able to be a little more tactful in your rewards and goals. It’s difficult to be a creator and work a full-time job. Ideally, you’d make enough money through your party to not have to involve yourself in the rat race, but how many people not named Martin, King or Rowling do you know who can get away with that?
Patreon’s set up has led to some cool ideas here at Tellest, and I’d like to highlight one of those now. These past few months, the serialized form of fiction that we’ve been running on the site has been fairly rewarding. It’s a constant stream of content that’s available for anyone, and it almost has that comic book feeling that makes sense for a world of medieval superheroes. It’s getting people involved a little more because they’re coming back week after week.
But what if you could take it a step further? What if you could really involve your readers?
The $200 a month milestone on Patreon is for something that I’m calling an Interactive Fiction Serial. Consider the idea of letting your readers determine how a story unfolds? It’s the ultimate fan service. You’re literally crafting a story with your readers, rather than for them. You can still surprise your audience – not everything needs to be determined by the council. But logical stopping points where choices need to be considered can lead you down paths that you wouldn’t expect – creating an even more organic experience for the author too. I’ve always thought that my stories were at their best when I wasn’t even sure where I was heading. I don’t outline very often these days unless I’m trying to keep track of storylines that have already been mapped by my brain. But there are those oft-less traveled roads that are surprising even to me. In a way, an Interactive Fiction Serial is almost like a Choose-Your-Own adventure on steroids. It never has to end, and it always leads you to new places.
And the best part is that Tellest is the kind of place that can really express this style in a very cognizant way. I don’t want to commit to anything or go into any real details about what our story could be about, but if you’ve ever played Dark Souls, you could think about that in terms of communication.
As of now, this is just a dream. $200 per month on Patreon is a long way off, especially for a creator who doesn’t really do too much on YouTube, which is where 50% of Patreon’s fans are finding their campaigns. But Tellest was founded on dreams. If we’re not going to pursue them, what’s the point of having them at all?
Just something to think about.