As you read this, I'm a week away from a much-needed vacation with my girlfriend. We are really looking forward to it. I should point out that although she's great by anyone else's measuring, I personally think she's perfect for me, in all ways. Heck, she even pesters me about writing, to make sure I'm on track!
Anyhow, this seemed like a good time to sit back and think about 2004's writing thus far. You may not know this, but I am 3-5 episiodes ahead of what you see released on the site and mailing list. While you have 4 more episodes to go in the Belphanior-Xusia arc, I am already beginning the exploration-voyage arc. The reason I stay this far ahead is for things like the vacation, when I'll be out of touch for 8 days. There has to be a backup of ready-to-ship stories for when I'm gone.
Reactions so far are pretty much all positive, and the mailing list is about 250 strong. That's pretty good when you consider that all of those had to renew fresh this year. Most people seem to like the current Belphanior story arc, and I wonder how well they'll do when it's other characters on stage. One reader stated that he won't read anything with Belphanior and company in it since he dislikes them; I find this amazing, but yet quite possible. As I've said before, I think that Belphanior is the best projection of my own personality and methods - this is especially true in today's crazy world, where incompetence, stupidity, and legal red tape reign supreme. The efficient, direct, often brutally honest way of doing things is nearly impossible to implement these days, and that fact gives me daily headaches.
What's coming up? For Belphanior, I can't tell you just yet without spoiling the stories through 812, but when you read them, you will understand. After that will be a shorter arc about the exploratory voyage across the eastern ocean, followed by a Mongo solo arc. I'll probably then devote an episode or two to those not featured in any of those three major arcs, and then get back to Belphanior. Long-term, I guess I have to deal with the Greyhawk Wars, and then...I'm not sure. I hate to fall victim to a cliche, but the concept of using a cataclysm to wipe the slate clean and start with new characters - in the ruins of Oerth, some years later - is very, very strong right now. Be warned.