I build ideas from other ideas.
I have original thoughts and concepts – every creative person does – but in a very real way, I can trace the lineage of pretty much every big idea I’ve had.

I think it’s safe to say I’ve always been a fanfic writer – hell, I started with outright plagiarism. When I was maybe…seven, I took the book Speedy, by Colin Thiele (I now remember nothing except there was a dolphin on the cover), and began to rewrite it, thinking I was doing something original, by simply swapping out the adjectives. I’m not sure I got past the first chapter, but it still stands out as a prominent memory when I try and trace my career as a writer.
I wrote original works for a while (when I was like 15-16), mostly screenplays, as I had the vision of being a writer-director in the vein of Spielberg, because when you’re that age, why not shoot for the moon?
And then…and then there was fanfic. I found fanfic through Lord of the Ring, sitting on the computer late one night, looking for pics of Legolas (yeah, yeah, shaddup). I stumbled, like so many have, over Fanfiction.net, and that…kind of changed my life. I’m not even overstating it a little bit. I always wanted to be a writer, even before I was switching out synonyms for “speedy”, but finding Fanfiction.net – eventually – gave me the trajectory for that career.
Lord of the Rings was the zeitgeist and the du jour fandom, and like many little nerdlings, I because completely and helplessly obsessed. I would talk to my friends at college about elf lineage and language, until they basically told be to shut up (no mean feat, given they were also fans of the franchise). I needed an overflow fandom. I chose The Matrix, as I’d enjoyed the film, and felt like I could pound out a couple of fanfics until my elf-obsession came back down to manageable levels.
Heh. Yeah.
Pretty much overnight, elves became a thing of the past, as hackers and programs in suits (particularly the latter) took over my life, and never let go. Twelve years later, after a change to original fiction, and three genre changes, I’m the author of an urban fantasy series that, nonetheless, contains programs in suits, hackers, and if not elves, plenty of people with magic and pointy ears.
I build ideas from other ideas.
From one fanfic written in 2003, I’ve created a world I never want to leave – one that’s flexible enough to let me write everything fom action to drama to comedy to tragedy.
I have a big, Elder Sign-style game I want to do for Require: Cookie, and although I love it, and it’s playtested well, it’s not the first thing I want to launch on Kickstarter, as I assume the final price will likely be $35-45, and that’s a lot to ask of someone backing a first-time creator.
So I wanted to scale down, to create a small, mostly cards, game that should sell and ship for $20 or under. A small project, to get me used to the production process, and to give backers confidence in me and my team for future projects. This seems like an area where “go big or go home” seems to be the exact opposite of the advice you should be following.
There’s a game I’ve been developing, whilst mostly keeping it on the backburner: The Wedding of Ellie and Rose, a game where two adorable piggies get married, and you play waiters, trying to seat guests after the seating plan has gone missing, trying to accrue tips and points, whilst assuring the brides that everything is ok. TWoE&R will have to wait for a while (even though I’m getting some initial art made up for it), as I have barely begun designing it.
I thought perhaps I’d make a prequel game – Ellie and Rose dating, as that seems like the kind of game you can do with a deck or two, and a couple of VP counters (plus it would make a great Valentines’ gift), so I devised a 1 vs 1 set collecting game (find a location, activity and present for your date), and playteted it with my partner – who found the mechanic too aggressive for what was essentially supposed to be a lesbian piggy dating sim. My partner was right, but I did like the mechanic I’d been playing with – set collecting to beat your opponent – not unique to be certain, but I felt like I wanted to play with it more.
Turning it into a combat system seemed like a natural fit, and initially I toyed with turning it into a Agent vs. Solstice shoot-out game (the good guys and bad guys of Require: Cookie, to put it glibly), or strangely, a high noon cowboy standoff. As I started to play with it more, I felt less and less like doing a “shoot ‘em up” game, as I could see a lot of possibilities for the combos that would be unrealised if you were purely thinking in terms of physical attacks.
However, I still wanted to keep the 1 vs 1 aspect, so…a hacking battle. A 1 vs 1 battle of the hackers, trying to maintain their own system’s integrity, whilst trying to pry open their opponent’s.
And while there wasn’t direct inspiration from Netrunner (I’m a filthy casual who exclusively plays on Jinteki), I realised it might fill a missing niche, for people who want the computer/hacker/cyberpunk trappings without the complexity of deckbuilding. (Although I may do a deck variant later on, Sequence: _Start_ uses a common draw pile for both players – it’s Netrunner via Munckin.
Next steps: continue with playtesting, and start working on the flavour text.