Thursday, May 18, 2023

The Grand Experiment • By Eric Dontigney

Hey everybody! Eric here. It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post for the Stupefying Stories blog. I actually meant to do one a while back, but things have been a little hectic lately. So, here’s what’s been going on.

Starting a month or two back, I started running an experiment. I began writing and publishing a Xianxia-inspired cultivation fantasy novel called Unintended Cultivator on a site called Royal Road. Okay, for everyone who just nodded their way through that last sentence in complete understanding, skip to the next paragraph. For everyone else, Xianxia is a fantasy genre that has its roots in Chinese Wuxia fiction. Cultivation novels are an offshoot of Xianxia. Rather than provide a long explanation of Wuxia, Xianxia, and cultivation, I’ll refer to the blog post I wrote that already does that. The one-sentence explanation is that cultivators use magical techniques to harness natural energies in a bid to achieve immortality. Royal Road is a website where you publish fiction a chapter at a time. So, with those basics out of the way, forward.

Much to my surprise and delight, Unintended Cultivator has taken off in a big way on the site. When I last checked on it, it was in the top 20 best rated books on the site, had racked up close to 200,000 views, and was on the front page of the website in at least two different places. Long story short, people there like it. So, I chatted with Bruce to see if this might be a book that Rampant Loon wanted to publish, you know, when I actually finish writing it. Assuming I don’t crash and burn in the third act, that’s tentatively what’s happening.

Given that I have some traction on Royal Road right now, we’re running a second experiment with Rinn’s Run. While the first draft is more or less complete, it can still do with some editorial feedback and revisions. So, this is where all of you come in. If you’ve ever read and book and thought, “Man, if I’d seen an early draft of that I could have totally saved them from that plot hole, terrible characterization moment, or (insert your failure of choice here),” this is Your Moment. You will have a chance to directly influence the final version of not one, but two books.

If all goes to plan, I’ll be wrapping up Volume One of Unintended Cultivator in about a month or so. I’ll also be publishing chapters of Rinn’s Run over that same period. You can read these chapters as I write and post them and leave comments there, or here, letting me know about typos, flagrant grammar errors, or serious plot holes you spot.  

If this sounds like your cup of tea, you can find the book pages at the following links:

Unintended Cultivator

Rinn’s Run

Of course, if you like the books and want to leave ratings or reviews on Royal Road, I’d appreciate them. They help push the book up in the rankings, which helps them build an audience. If you think one rating or review doesn’t matter that much, I can tell you from watching the numbers that they matter a lot.

The long-term goal, of course, is that both books will get published in final, edited forms as print books and ebooks. The hope is that by building a core audience on Royal Road first, some of that audience will buy the final versions of the books and help make them successful with the wider audience on sites like Amazon.

So, there you have it. That’s what I’ve been up to recently and will be up to over the next month or so. And, if nothing else, it’s an opportunity to quite literally watch me write a book chapter by chapter. There has to be some entertainment value in that, right?