How’d I get into writing?

Someone asked me on Goodreads earlier how I got into writing, and I figured I’d copy and paste my answer over here in case anyone was interested.

***

When I was in elementary school, I read the Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I also played a bunch of Dungeons and Dragons. Those inspired me to write my own little stories when I was a child.

I also got started on my earliest attempts at game development in elementary school (through a program called Unlimited Adventures, based on SSI’s Gold Box D&D games).

By middle school, I was running D&D campaigns, and eventually playing in live-action role-playing games.

In college, I responded to an open call for submissions by White Wolf. I submitted a couple monster ideas which made it into one of the Scarred Lands RPG books. That helped me make a connection with White Wolf. After that, I ended up writing for their World of Warcraft tabletop RPG line.

From there, it was a jump over to working directly for Blizzard. While I wasn’t in the writing department, I let them know that I’d done some writing for the setting before, and Micky Neilson tapped me to do a few writing jobs here and there. Micky was a huge inspiration and a great mentor.

I eventually decided I wanted to write full-time, so I left Blizzard and wrote a couple books. I submitted these books to agents and accrued *hundreds* of rejections.

I went back to working in the gaming industry, having failed to publish anything. But I kept writing.

I worked at a couple more companies after that. While I was at Obsidian, I finally decided I was done trying to go through the traditional agent and publisher route. I self-published Forging Divinity, and it was a great success (by first time self-published novel standards). It wasn’t enough to make a living on, though, so I kept working in gaming.

Sufficiently Advanced Magic is my third published novel – but it’s the eighth book I’ve written. It took me eight books to get to the point where I’m finally writing full-time. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s ultimately been very rewarding.

17 thoughts on “How’d I get into writing?

  1. Totally loved sufficiently advanced magic, great story, interesting characters I listened to it on audio book format with Nick Podhel and just couldn’t stop. Well done and thank you. Cannot wait for the next installment.

      1. Such a great book, kept me up all night and finished to the whole audiobook since starting it yesterday.

        Any idea when we can expect the sequel?

  2. I wish you the best of success as an author, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your published works thus far and have recommended them to several friends. Keep up the good work!

  3. Do you have any other RPG style games that you’d recommend? I’ve been DMing for a group that is willing to try out new systems. So far they’ve only tried D&D and Pathfinder but I was thinking of introducing them to Wade Dyer’s Fragged Empire RPG system. Also have you ever read the webcomic Kill Six Billion Demons? (It was recently recommended it to Will) It can be dark and the art can be gory so if that isn’t your thing then just ignore me, but otherwise I cannot recommend it enough.

    1. I barely ever play tabletops these days, unfortunately, and when I do it’s usually Pathfinder. Aside from that, the only tabletop system I’ve enjoyed in recent history is Ars Magica. Ars has a lot of options for creating your own spells from component parts, which is very similar to what I tend to like in games in general.

      I’ve read the first arc of Kill Six Billion Demons. I liked it and I might finish it at some point, not sure. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. To put it short – i am devastated!
    I am 20 hours into Suffitiently Advanced Magic and realized that there is only 2 more to sustain my hunger for this perfectly sculpted high fantasy world! 🙂

    I came across your book only by happenstance, while looking for something to follow-up after finishing all Terry Pratchett, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and a bunch of others.
    After almost stopping to listen as I did not like Nick Podehls rather high pitched voice, I soon got mezmerized. While listening i thought about what it would be like to have a Pen and Paper RPG based in this setting.
    Now i hear –
    unsurprisingly – you have d&d and LARP background! 🙂
    So…… do you by any chance plan on developing a P&P or do we have to do so on our own? A nice, graphic lore collection would also be something i would love to see. Runes, attunements, geography, legends, religion, monsters,….. ahhhh EVERYTHING! 🙂

    Anyway, keep on the good work and I look foward to the release of book 2!

    Best greetings from Germany

    1. I’m glad you are enjoying the book so much! Don’t worry, the sequel is coming soon.

      Yes, I am working on a P&P version of the game. I don’t know when I will actually release it, but I definitely plan to put a book out there eventually. =)

      Thanks for the interest!

      1. That will be awesome!
        Will have to get the old “crew” together for some campaigns. Middle aged dudes and dudettes doing some old-school P&P. 🙂

        Getting it over here will be harder though. Anyways – keep up the good work and “guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr”! ^^

      2. Thanks, I’ll try to get the tabletop game finished once I’m done with my next book or two. I’d love to have more people playing games in this world. =)

        Happy New Year!

  5. You wouldn’t happen to have a estimate as to when your next book will be out do you? I’ve looked around and seen that you estimate early 2018, but not much more than that. Do you have a month that you’re aiming for? I don’t mean to rush you, I’m just eager for news. Thanks in advance for anything that you’re comfortable sharing.

  6. Do you happen to have a wiki set up with a repository of any information on your world? I love being able to read coppermind to get more insight in to Sanderson worlds.

    I burned through Sufficiently Advanced Magic and have started forging divinity. I love the world you’ve crafted but now I want to understand and flesh out more in my head.

    Such as, I assume forging divinity is the same world just several centuries maybe millennia before sufficiently advanced magic but I’m really itching for lore and history. The magic system is familiar but distinct and extremely well done.

    Anyway, I really love the books so far, and despite having the audible copies I’ll definitely pick up physicals to go on my shelf with the rest of my fantasy collection. And contrary to the other guys opinion I loved nick podehl reading. Great voices and emotion.

    1. There’s a fan made wiki (http://arcane-ascension.wikia.com/wiki/Arcane_Ascension_Wiki), but it’s super sparse at the moment.

      The information I’ve written up for the tabletop, LARP, etc. would need to be modified heavily before it would be presentable for novel readers, because they’re not exactly the same continuity (I made changes for the novel version of the setting), and because the tabletops and LARPs that I’ve run are many years later.

      I can confirm that Forging Divinity takes place before Sufficiently Advanced Magic in the same universe, but I won’t say how much earlier or much more about the relationship. That’ll be somewhat clearer in the sequel to Sufficiently Advanced Magic, as well as the War of Broken Mirrors Book 3. I may also write a book to bridge the gap between the two series.

      Thanks for the kind words and the interest in the setting. I’d definitely like to get more public facing documentation out there at some point, but it might be a while. (Fans can continue to compile things if they want to, though, and maybe there’ll be more interest in the wiki as time goes on.)

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