Paths Not Taken 5

Even though I transferred the “choices NOT taken” info to the end of individual posts for Story4, I’ve decided to do a roundup here with some extra commentary of things from my notes that didn’t make it in. It can also be a way of seeing how far we came. And, at the end of the post, my 2017 coins, and some final site stats. There are spoilers herein for “Epsilon Delta”, obviously.

FIRST HALF

0. PLOT CHOICE. The project member in trouble idea would likely have been Alijda, with Alice trying to get some support. The VR/RPG game world plot was the least fleshed out idea, but seems to be a popular genre of late, so I thought I could do something with it. We got problems on Epsilon itself, leading to Beam and Rose.

1. WORLD CHOICE. Alijda’s world would have involved a teleport, Kat’s world would have kept him on the planet, we got Beam’s world. At this stage, my notes of “could be sabotage or some inter-dimensional being gambling on outcomes” also add in “could be some artifact Beam retrieved, or ‘Fate’ from Kat’s world”. Yeah, it was that early, but not in stone.

2. DAMAGED. Software problem would have been Alijda POV (point of view), Hardware would have been Kat’s POV, indirect choice was Rose POV where the problem fixes itself. My notes include “magnetic field”, “need an artifact to defeat Ziggy” and maybe it’s personal or “this isn’t personal, it’s a game”.

3. BEAMING. Had Beam been unfindable, we’d have had two entities (her and Ziggy). Had Beam included Ziggy, Ziggy would have been the entity. We got Beam with memory loss (unanimously, 5 votes) which locked one entity in place (Fate), and led to working out the artifact.

4. PLAN IT. Vault artifacts would have restored some station power, while a planet with advanced tech would have meant a magic artifact. We got the magic world (with the cyberarm artifact), plus the POV VOTE where Rose won, meaning more Beam. My notes started to consider the planet here, wondering about a racial divide. (Yeah, that went nowhere.)

5. CHAPERONE. If Rose had brought Alice, we’d have had Kat/Alijda on the station. If Rose had brought Alijda, we’d have had Kat/Alice on the station. Instead we had Kat/Rose on the planet. Which created backstory for Beam. Also, my notes now included “mage patrol” and “Fate captured? Brought here by abduction or rival organization of Epsilon?”

6. NEXT STEP. Talking to the local would have had them detained (see “mage patrol” above), while consulting with Alijda would have shifted POV to the station. We got the introduction of Firestorm and the diary, along with an explosion in my notes: “Fate is going by ‘Destiny’.” “Rose is remembering Angie, having to quash her feelings then for different reasons. Resents Beam?” and “mention ‘Epsilon’ pin”.

7. JUST WILD BEAT. Alice making contact sans cyberarm would have related to occult research. Making contact with the cyberarm would have involved it being caught, so we kind of followed that thread until Kat made contact (which is what won the vote). My notes started to explore more about Fate now: “Destiny had dreams of being here” and “Fate accidentally cracked open the doorway herself, that’s not an Epsilon thing. Do it to get the cyber arm, or was it a fluke?”

8. DESTINY. Destiny being arrested would have involved townspeople and Firestorm. Her being kidnapped (which won) would have involved police without Firestorm. Her fleeing would have fallen to the 2nd most popular option but reversed whether Firestorm came. The group “Wages for Mages” was scribbled in as a townspeople possibility, which I never mentioned back then.

9. POLICE. If police had been no help, someone from the underground would have come. With Firestorm as the deputy, Fate would have had some tech still with her to justify them staying. We got Rose as the deputy, which meant no tech, and I could use that “Angie” stuff from 6. I also noted for myself that they can’t track Beam while she’s insubstantial.

SECOND HALF

10. BACKUP. A sneaky POV vote, which is why Alijda gets her first perspective setting next, joining the group on the planet. (Alice joining would have been her POV, and Kat not getting help would have been his POV.) I figured I’d need another Alijda POV part after this too, for balance (after the earlier Alice POVs).

11. TRACKING CODE. Our first tied vote this story (2-2), where Rose picks up both Beam AND Firestorm, resulting in some stalling tactics to make it work. At least Destiny wasn’t chosen, which was intended to be the most dangerous path. My notes started to flesh out a LOT of Compton’s history here (even before he had a name) with “Son finds book after Dad’s death, wants to know more, and Destiny was always talking about people with other world stories. He goes to her, makes demands, is rebuffed.”

12. WHERE ARE THEY NOW. Ran with the 2-2 tie again. No one wanted Firestorm with the enemy, which would have had them meet Beam. Beam being caught meant meeting Firestorm, but it worked to have them working together by then too.

13. FATED. Left the vote open longer, and got 7 votes for the first time since Vote 4. Fate coming through voluntarily would have linked into dreams, her coming through involuntarily would have been backlash from this world, but we got abduction. A bit dark, but that’s fine. Compton finally got named (selected because a ton of Computer Science had been ruining my life).

14. COMPTON PLAN. Scaring him away with Gods wouldn’t have worked, and we’d see Compton’s plan. Closing the portal would have resulted in an evil wizard, meaning a possible team up. We got explosions and Compton’s power up. I was already working on the end game here, with “Work up to where Rose’s duplication power is effective. He boomerangs things back, so many Roses?” and “Somehow the personal history scrambling spell ends up back on Compton?”

15. IN CHARGE. As mentioned last week, Rose deciding on Beam in charge would have meant everyone back to their worlds, Alice in charge would have had Beam and Fate together, but instead we got Fate in charge. With Alice and Beam working for her. The “larger Big Bad” for them was in my head here even before the final part was written.

16. CHARACTER. I’ve done one of these each story. After Story1, it was Alijda unanimously, 4-0. (That vote is now 6-0.) After Story2, it was Chartreuse unanimously, 2-0. (That vote is now 4-2 for Chartreuse, with Alice taking second place.) After Story3, it was Kat 4-1-1 with Alijda and Alice getting votes. (That vote is now 4-2-1.) And here we are after Story4. After one week… Rose and Kat are tied 1-1. Yeah, only 2 votes. I guess it’s the holidays?

STATISTICS

First, a look at current year coins! (Why? Well, if you haven’t read “Time & Tied”, their time machine runs on coins of the current year.) At the end of 2015, I had 42 coins, the majority of them quarters and toonies. At the end of 2016, I had 37 coins, the majority of them quarters and dimes. Here, to end 2017, I have 20 coins from 2017, which is a sharp drop. Particularly considering how I got my first coins early (already had six by late April).

2017 Coins!

I think that’s partly due to it being Canada’s 150th, meaning people may be more inclined to hold onto them? Of note, there’s two different quarter designs, and the penny in the image isn’t 2017, it’s just WEIRD, since we don’t have them in Canada (I found it on the ground).

Now, a look at this website. The lowest viewed update of “Epsilon Delta” (not including the current month) is entry #8 from August, “The Arm of Fate”, which got 17 page views. The lowest viewed days in the past 6 months (when I stopped posting weekly) were ZERO views on August 4 and 8, September 8 and 9, October 26, November 4 and 7 and 18 and 23, December 31 (yeah, today). A total of ten times. Days with OVER FORTY views in the past 6 months were July 22, September 1 and 24, October 30. Oy, let’s get less granular.

The lowest month for 2017 overall, across the 250+ posts, was November, with 227 page views. The highest month was May, with 1,935 page views, this thanks to:
(1) A review by Tartra at WFG on May 6.
(2) A review of the site by Rev Fitz on May 21.
(3) A guest post at Drew Hayes’ site the week of May 21.

Large numbers continued on a weekly basis into the start of June, at which point, well, you can see for yourself below. Most weeks since are below 100 page views, whether I published or not. (Again, I shifted to twice weekly in July.)

Last 30 weeks (7 months) of 2017

What does this tell us? Well, apparently I still have no idea how to market. I did get 7 votes in three consecutive weeks towards the end of “Epsilon Delta” though, which is a new high. (Story3 came close, but it was 7-6-7.) So there’s that.

IN CONCLUSION

I’ve realized I’ll need to redesign the site to accommodate serials that aren’t “Time & Tied” or “Epsilon Project”, so that’s my next plan. We’ll then run “Virga Mysteries” every two weeks for a few months, then likely take another crack at Epsilon. I plan to bring Chartreuse back then, she’s overdue. “Time Untied” was my NaNoWriMo, I got 40k words done there, so I’ll keep at it.

As always, I hope you enjoyed reading this look behind the scenes. Thanks for voting/reading/commenting, and feel free to add your voice below about anyway which was unexpected, or anything else that jumps out at you. Happy New Year!

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