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Portfolio

The broad selection below should give you a strong impression of my writing, and it is arranged in roughly chronological order. You can find my a broad strokes sample of my writing, my latest social media ramblings, and links to some professional copywriting/in-universe fiction/puzzle design projects. If you want to go even further back, please check out my academic papers and articles. For my personal projects and labors of love, please check out the AkrasiaTrespassers, and ConQuesting pages.

 

SELECT WRITING SAMPLES

In a hurry? Here are 13 pages of my best work, spanning personal fiction and articles to branded copy, social posts, short scripts, and in-universe codex entries. There are also some responses to narrative design test prompts.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter
I talk about books, games, anime, and other nerdy stuff @Sarcasmancer.

Medium
When my schedule is light, I write articles/reviews on medium. If you propose a topic via email, I promise to tackle it (eventually)!

Ghost in the Shell Review

Persona 5 Review

Old Blog
I used to keep a regular blog, but I have abandoned it for Medium. If you are interested in some earlier (embarrassing) examples of my writing, check out Sarcasmancy!

 

42 ENTERTAINMENT

At 42 Entertainment (May 2012 to October 2017), I served as a Junior Experience Designer, eventually advancing to become the company’s sole Narrative Designer. This entailed a great deal of writing, both internal and public-facing, in a wide variety of formats including advertising copy, short scripts, and various pieces of in-universe fiction. I also designed puzzles, games, and live experiences, ensuring that there was parity between the interactive and narrative elements of each campaign. A great deal of the copy I wrote is trapped in pitch decks written in response to confidential RFPs, and 42E has a policy of non-attribution. At the risk of their wrath, here are links to a few sites that I worked on.

inFAMOUS Paper Trail (2014)
Conduit Rights League: Concept, Writing
Bioframe Diagnostics: Concept, Editing, Co-Writing

Dig Decoded (2015)
Dig Decoded Puzzle Suite: Co-Writing, Puzzle Design

Order of 10 (2016)
Order of 10 Origins Puzzle Suite: Writing, Puzzle Design

Secret Order of Keyes (2017)
Molecular Smash Puzzle: Writing, Puzzle Design
Rebel Alignment Puzzle: Writing, Puzzle Design
Burger Flipping Puzzle: Writing, Puzzle Design

 

NOVELS

Akrasia (In-Progress)
My newest long-form project is an contemporary fantasy novel set on a parallel Earth where the use of magic has shaped the course human history. It’s a murder mystery/cop drama at heart. The story is simpler than trespassers, but with much more robust world-building. I think it’s shaping up to be something special. Here is the tentative blurb:

Since the Wars of the Magi ended with the destruction of ancient Athens, Earth has been policed by Amagium; a near-global, apolitical entity that monitors and moderates the use of magic, while protecting humanity from otherworldly threats.

Hace would be the most promising cadet Arroyo’s Amagium had seen in decades, were it not for his haughty nature and the mixed blessing of his parentage. As a half-fae, he suffers from Akrasia, a condition causing him to periodically slip out of reality and into the surreal realms of the Faed. Alinore is a shrewd and driven student in Hace’s cohort, coping with the crushing expectations of her family’s legacy through alchemical substances. And Sevardin is a battle-weary veteran haunted by the deaths of his former teammates, his once sterling record marred by an excessive force charge.

This fledgling team must face rash protesters and murderous warlocks while peeling back the layers of a conspiracy within the Amagium itself… or the horrors of unbound magical warfare may devastate the world once again.

Check out its dedicated page for more info and frequent updates!

Trespassers (Querying)
To date, Trespassers is the most ambitious project I have undertaken, and I think it has some of my finest writing. Over the course of 4 years, and 3 major drafts, the manuscript is complete at 264K words. I am currently querying agents and seeking publication. Have a jacket blurb:

Holden has spent an entire year alone, working from home, avoiding human contact and eking out a sad existence built on escapist pleasures. His purgatory is interrupted by a strange visitor who gives him a strange gift: each night, he must relive the past 24 hours through the eyes of a person he saw that day.

First, he experiences life as Lark, a short-tempered young woman who goes trespassing for sport and illicitly audits college classes. Next, he becomes Reza, a brilliant fraud haunted by conflicting memories. With his interest in the outside world reignited, Holden seeks out Lark and Reza and they agree to help him explore his gift.

The trio falls down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and corruption, landing in Los Angeles’ magical underworld, where they are recruited by an opulent and ruthless syndicate. But Reza’s new employers are the people who ruined his former life, and he seeks revenge from within their ranks. Meanwhile, Lark awakens an earth-shattering power that plays a role in a prophesied ritual. And when Holden discovers his demonic visitor has manipulated events to suit an even darker purpose, he must determine where his loyalties lie and use his gift to avert a cataclysm.

If that sounds interesting and you are fond of board games, I am also developing a board game set in the same universe. Check it out on the dedicated  Trespassers page.

The Harrowing (On Hiatus)
The Harrowing was a fun project and I learned a lot by writing it, but right now it’s resting on the back burner. Like most first efforts, it suffers from a few rookie mistakes, and ultimately may work better as a graphic novel script than a book. Someday I hope to revisit it and find the right format for it. Here’s the jacket blurb:

To the living, it seems like happenstance killed Jack Hoyle. But after waking in the strange netherworld of Chthonia, where memories are currency and the architecture changes like the weather, he learns his death was anything but accidental. A ruthless psychopomp named Graves arranged Jack’s demise to recruit him into a ghostly tournament known as The Harrowing. Judged by a being that dwarfs deities, champions compete for the ultimate prize: returning to life. The rules are arcane, the arenas defy logic,  and the roster consists of the most dangerous souls culled from countless worlds. But Graves knows something others don’t: Jack is uniquely qualified to bend the rules. Aided by a mysterious spirit, a deceased goddess, and the ghost of his former house cat, he must undergo traumatizing training, navigate the afterlife, and slay opponents both hellish and honorable—without losing his soul in the process.

 

NOVELLA

Eliathan’s Wake: A stand-alone story set in the Trespassers universe several years before the events of the novel. One has almost no bearing on the other, but if you like dragons and murder, give it a read!

As magic fades from the Earth, a dragon embarks on a quest to avenge his friend’s death and recover a stolen grimoire.

 

SHORT STORIES

Sympathy: The Devil walks into a bar and tries to do some selfless good in the world. (Published on Hogglepot.com)

Ahematolazaria: There’s nothing sexy about ‘living’ with vampirism. (Unpublished)

 

GEORGIA TECH

Here are my academic pursuits at Georgia Tech. Of everything here, I am most proud of my thesis. I like to think I have grown some since graduating, and my focus has shifted from digital media design to narrative and experience design, so these projects do not accurately reflect my current abilities or active skill sets. Also, we are starting to go pretty far into the wayback machine, so the quality of writing does not accurately reflect my current abilities.

Master’s Thesis
I went to Georgia Tech to study video games and video game criticism, with a particular emphasis on the ways games tell stories and create meaning for players. My faculty advisers were Ian Bogost, Celia Pearce, and Janet Murray. Elizabeth Losh was an external faculty reviewer. Two years of independent research and writing culminated in my masters thesis: The Interpretive Spiral: An Analytical Rubric for Videogame Interpretation, which presents a methodology for ‘close-reading’  single-player video games.

The Technique
From November 2011 to April 2012, I served as the Entertainment Editor of The Technique, Georgia Tech’s school newspaper. During my tenure, the Georgia Collegiate Press Association recognized The Technique with a number of awards including first place for General Excellence in the state of Georgia. Below, I have listed all the articles I have written for the paper as a contributing writer, a staff writer, an assistant editor, and editor.

Monday Night Combat: A damn fine downloadable game. Worth every penny. 4/5

Civilization V: Hm. This one didn’t get uploaded but it was published. I was quite impressed by the game, though I have never played Civ before, so I may not be the best judge. 4/5

Halo: Reach: A fitting farewell to the double-ought era’s most solid console FPS series. 4/5

Minecraft: A groundbreaking (ha!) indie release and an absolute must-play. 5/5

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest (Swedish Film): Ah Stieg Larson. Damn shame you didn’t go on to write more, because your last book, and this movie that was based on it, were kind of disappointing. 3/5 (though looking back, 2/5 is more accurate)

Chastain Parks Art Festival:  This review got kind of butchered and the title they chose for it sounds nasty. There was an interview that got cut and…. argh. I prefer not to talk about this one. (that said, the festival is nothing special) 3/5

Call of Duty: Black Ops: The campaign is unimaginative and oppressively scripted, but the multiplayer is better than MW2. 3/5

Holeman & Finch: A fantastic gastropub in the buckhead area of Atlanta. 5/5

The Cape: The show is about as lame as its title. 2/5 (Mistakenly published as 3/5)

Black Swan: A fantastic pas de deux of ballet and psychological horror. You can also read the extended review here! 5/5

No Strings Attached: Cleverer than you’d expect, but still painfully predictable. 3/5

Dead Space 2: The sequel makes substantial improvements to the series, but it still doesn’t feel equal to the sum of its pilfered parts. 3/5

Atlanta Comic-Con: This event is for serious comic collectors only. Less of a convention and more of a swap-meet. 2/5

Sleeping Beauty: Atlanta Ballet executes the classic romance with grace and technical prowess. 5/5

Cirque Mechancis: A “family friendly” take on Cirque du Soleil in the Wild West. Easy laughs, awful pantomime, and an injury erode the fun and merit of the performance. 2/5

Bulletstorm: This game is crass, bombastic and not quite deep enough to be a classic, but it’s genuinely fun and a welcome departure from COD, Halo, and Gears. 4/5

Adjustment Bureau: Ignore the Inception-esque advertising; this is a surprisingly sappy romance with sci-fi window-dressing and spiritual undertones. 3/5

A Dance with Dragons: A Dance with Dragons makes it clear that what George RR Martin’s epic saga really needs is a more stringent editor. 3/5

Dragon*Con 2011: If the world’s nerds could band together and design a holiday, it would look a lot like Dragon*Con. 5/5

Married Life in School (Editorial): Long-Distance Relationships.

Uncharted 3: A good game that is not paced quite as well as it’s predecessor 4/5

Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls series stuns with a world of oceanic breadth and depth. 5/5

Abattoir: A stylish restaurant in West Side Provisions District that caters to discerning carnivores. 5/5

The Princess and The Goblin: A light-hearted, kid-friendly ballet with lively choreography by Twyla Tharp. 4/5

Finding Community with the Technique (Editorial): My swan-song; basically one big inside joke for the benefit of The Technique staff.

Avengers Vs. X-men (Interview-Preview): I interview Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso about their big cross-over event for the Summer of 2012

Restaurant Eugene: One of the finest dining experiences I ever had, Restaurant Eugene represents contemporary american cuisine at the top of its game.

Newsgames
I was a part of the Newsgames research group at Georgia Tech, and I wrote a couple of blog entries for them:

Dilma’s Adventure!: Dilma Rousseff is Brazil’s first female president, and the first Brazilian presidential candidate to have a video game made about her. It kind of sucks.

The Online Migration of Political Cartoons: A follow-up to my earlier post about the decline of the political cartoons in papers.

Decline and Future of Political Cartoons: I examined the current state of the political cartooning industry. It’s rather bleak.

Ellis
From August 2010 to May 2012, I served as the lead writer and a senior game designer for Ellis, a historical MMORPG set in New York during the Ellis Island Period (approximately 1810-1950). From the start, Ellis has been designed to avoid the grind of typical MMORPGs, emphasizing emergent gameplay through decision-driven character customization. Instead of being ruled by equipment, players define their identity by which groups they align themselves with, and how they solve problems. The game’s primary form of play was called Social Conflict; a competitive puzzle/strategy game that serves as a metaphor for argument and persuasion. The system is based on a card game with four suits representing different aspects of rhetoric; Ethics, Passion, Logic and deception. Players must either construct a compelling argument or completely destroy their opponent’s case. Both arguments are represented by physical towers of varying colors for each suit of rhetoric.

The Dark Citadel
Ever wonder what it would be like to be an evil overlord bossing around a ton of minions? The Dark Citadel is a story-based strategy game that examines the nefarious side of personnel management. There are 24 unique endings and it takes only seconds to play! To play, download the folder, unzip it, and open the index.html file with any web-browser. Further instructions can be found by reading the included word document “The Dark Citadel Demo Script.” In a rush? You can read all the character profiles, position descriptions and endings which are included in the Scripts folder. The Dark Citadel was created with javascript and jquery. The character art is stolen from Final Fantasy Dissidia and the icons from Chess, with all the love in the world.

The Triangle
The Triangle is an interactive tragedy. Experience the poisonous situation that is a love triangle from three different perspectives. There are three different endings which can be experienced from each of the three characters. To play, download the folder, unzip it, and open the ASMLEngine078.html file in any web-browser. Illustrations done in the style of Randal Monroe’s xkcd are included in the unzipped folder, but they have yet to be implemented in the working code. The Triangle was built using Hartmut Koenitz‘s Advanced Story Builder software (ASB). This one doesn’t really have a happy ending.

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