- Writing to deadline. Gaming deadlines are tight and ideas need to go through pitch sessions. I am by nature a pantser so having to come up with three different stories outlines that are within basic guidelines (with titles!) is a challenge. Then I have to accept that 2 or even 3 of them may be tossed out; for a writer who works hard to get nearly every word she writes published, this is a bit of an emotional hurdle. But there's no time to be a diva or to rest on past laurels: I have to focus on getting done on time if I want my work to appear in a given book or project.
- Working with fairly rigid guidelines. Gaming has rules and world building and story structure. The audience for tie-ins expects stories that are set in the right world and adhere to the game timeframe and rules. It's like writing for a certain subgenre of erotica, say BDSM erotica with queer female protagonists or vanilla romantic erotica with heterosexual characters: the audience has expectations and you have to meet them or risk throwing them out of your story, perhaps never to return. Just as I sometimes have to do research for my erotica, I've had to do research for my gaming tie-ins to make sure I understand what the rules are.
- Writing impactful short fiction. After the tie-in pitches are reviewed, and one is accepted (hopefully!), the next step is writing a first draft and...turning it in for editorial approval. This has been a big challenge for me; generally speaking, no one sees my early drafts. I play with them for awhile, write and rewrite, revise, etc. until I think they're ready. Now, I have to produce the same kind of impact writing in a first draft as on a final one so that the editors can see where I'm going with the story and determine whether or not I'm on the right track. One of the main differences is, of course, that I'm playing in someone else's world instead of my own, which is both very freeing and kind of tricky until you get used to it. But both kinds of fiction should ideally inspire play!
My first gaming tie-in story: "Incarnadine Seas" (written as Catherine Lundoff) appeared in The Cainite Conspiracies: A Vampire the Masquerade V20 Anthology edited by Monica Valentinelli. I've got something else forthcoming in another World of Darkness anthology and some possibilities in the pipeline; more news as I have it.
Some of my erotic short fiction is collected here, in Knife's Edge. More on the way soon!