Note as of February 16, 2015: I'm sure those of you who read this have noticed, but yeah, I've been making very little progress on GotA as of late. School is the main factor, but my inability to focus on a single project for any amount of time is also a hindrance.
On top of that, I don't think I can really overcome the gap between the original work and the rewrite. I thought I would be able to, but I realize now that a rewrite might involve a lot more changes than I originally intended.
I intend to keep all the work I've done thus far and come back to it when there's time, but I don't want to keep up the illusion that I'm actively working on the story, because the fact is I'm not.
So, to state it clear and simple - I'm putting GotA on indefinite hiatus.
I like my characters too much to let them drop into oblivion, but it may be a long time before I pick them up again, and if I do, the setting and conflict of the story they inhabit might actually be completely different. I just don't know.
For those of you who continued to follow this and give feedback, thank you again, and I'll see you around the forums.
Note as of December 10, 2014: I thought I should let those of you who follow this know - I have begun work on a complete rewrite of GotA.
This does not, I repeat, this does not mean I will stop work on the current story. I don't think progress will slow down, either, because honestly, if it slowed any more I would be writing next to nothing and that is NOT ACCEPTABLE. But I am going to make an effort to get this rewrite to "catch up" to the current story and eventually merge with it, if all goes well. Welp, changed my mind. Read the February 16 update.
Things that will change in the rewrite:
- The plot.
The extent of the change I cannot yet know. I generally intend to keep the story the same, but tweaks will be made to add realism, and if I think an event does not really contribute to the overall story (which is pretty likely to happen) I will probably cut it and change it. The butterfly effect might thus cause the story to change drastically by the time I reach the same point I'm at now, but I'm hoping that things won't have to be altered too much.
I also want the plot to be less broken up by random strings of events, if I can manage to pull that off. I'm working on finding a way to create an overarching storyline in order to add a sense of purpose to the various (mid)adventures taking place.
- The strictness of the lore.
I want to follow the official Cataclysm and Cataclysm DDA lore much more closely this time around. While this does mean I'm limiting myself somewhat, it also means that things will make a lot more sense (since the lore does a pretty damn good job being realistic, and will give me a set of rules to stick to).
- The chapter length and number of chapters.
Early chapters in GotA v1 were far too short, and chapter length varies more than I would like. I'm going to try and stick to a similar number of words per chapter in v2.
The entire story will still be in first person, but the perspective will switch between characters (as I have begun to do in the newest chapters of GotA v1).
- Character interaction.
Jonathan was and is the center of everything in GotA v1, probably owing to the fixed first person perspective I've been using up to this point. I'm going to try and add a lot more interaction between other characters.
Things that will NOT change (much) in the rewrite:
- The main characters.
I am far too attached to my characters to get rid of them. Jonathan and the gang will be sticking around. Backstories will also remain generally the same, as far as I'm concerned, possibly with slight changes. Side-characters, on the other hand, are free game. I might remove/change/add them as I see fit, especially early on, when there was a distinct lack of people in GotA v1.
- The writing style (?).
I can't really measure how much my writing has changed and/or improved (or gotten worse, I dunno). What I can tell you is the story, being in various first person perspectives, will remain very informal and personal.
To conclude: I want to turn GotA into a story I can really be proud of. I mean, I'm proud of what I've done thus far, but I know that I can do even better. Hopefully my growth as a writer will enable me to write a truly awesome story the second time around, even if the idea is the same. Wish me luck!
Original Post Follows:
Hello there, and welcome to my ongoing Cataclysm fanfiction. A few things you should know before going on to read:
- This story is unofficially rated PG-13 for violence, blood and gore (though I don't really get excessively descriptive), minor sexual elements, and possibly other stuff which might insult or disturb you if you aren't fully prepared. Honestly, though, it's not that bad; if you watch TV nowadays, you're probably fully prepared to face whatever this story can throw at you.
- The title of this story is Gamer of the Apocalypse, or GotA ("GO-duh" is how I usually pronounce it) for short, but that may be subject to change, since I feel like it doesn't quite apply as much anymore.
- Like a lot of stories, it's divided up into chapters. They show up in big, white, bold text, so they shouldn't be too hard to spot on each page of the thread. I may make a table of contents later if the story gets to be too big and there are lots of posts between chapters... or if enough annoyed readers pester me to do so.
- This story has a lot of basis in the actual Cataclysm universe, but I take some creative liberties with it:
-- Some extra zombie types may be added.
-- Surviving within cities is much more dependent on stealth in my story. After all, actual people cannot see 360 degrees, and reanimated corpses probably don't have the best vision.
-- Zombies are not ridiculously resilient. Taking off their heads will kill them, but they'll usually "die" from just about anything that would kill a normal person. Only thing that makes them more dangerous is the fact that they don't really suffer the debilitating effects of pain.
-- Other creatures and game elements may work differently.
-- NPCs are not stupid. (Yes, that was a joke)
I'm sure as the story goes on, I will probably stray from the actual game in even more ways, but GoTA will always remain based on Cataclysm.
- Spoilers do not actually contain spoilers - they contain comments from me, as well as occasional responses to viewer posts, so don't be afraid to read them. If I ever use a spoiler to spoil something (which is seriously unlikely) I'll probably put big red text near it or something.
- I am a human male with a keyboard, not an omniscient being. As such, there will probably be some mistakes in my writing. If you see one (or multiple!), I would really appreciate it if you told me so I can address the issue and make the story better polished for future readers.
- Finally, feel free to comment whatever you like whenever you like. I can handle criticism (or so I hope) so don't be afraid to sock it to me if you think my writing
sucks could do with some improvement. It'll help me in the long run, and for that I can only be thankful.
- Oh, and the chapters start really short but get progressively longer since I realized later that chapters ought to be a bit lengthier than 500 words. :P
Without further ado, the story:
~ Chapter 1: Then and Now ~
On the day the end came, I was absolutely sure that I had nothing to worry about, because I had been around the walking dead for a while, and knew a few things about zombie apocalypses:
First and foremost, in zombie games, the zombies are slow, stupid, weak, and the main character has a surplus of guns and other weaponry.
Second, in zombie movies, the family members of the main character tend to survive, while other less important characters are killed off to make the zombies seem dangerous.
Lastly, in any zombie story, pain means very little to the main character, and the wounds that he suffers never impede him too much.
With that said, here I am: huddled in the corner of a residential building, a fork as my only weapon, the memory of my entire family, including three younger brothers, torn to pieces before my eyes, a pack of walking corpses bashing at the door, and a swollen bite wound in my good arm that I've had for two days, which burns more agonizingly every minute.
I know a few things about zombie apocalypses:
First and foremost, zombies will charge you on sight. Unless you're an athlete and can outrun a tireless beast of a man, your best chance at getting away is to distract them or kill them, because they can hear and smell just as well as you can, if not better.
Second, you should sever all ties to people you love. If you don't die, you can rest assured that they will, and you'll have to carry the guilt of knowing that you failed to protect them.
And lastly… if you do live, you'll have to learn to live with pain.
… When the end came, my fantasy, my invincibility, was shattered, and I was thrown into a world that showed me, the hard way, just how wrong I was.
But I'm learning.
~ Chapter 2: Day One ~
The first day... was mass hysteria. Noise and confusion everywhere, cars trying to flee the cities, and natural disasters hitting us left and right.
So of course, I was in my room, gaming. A pair of sound-canceling headphones and a locked door ensured that I could remain in undisturbed, video-game-induced bliss for as long as I desired… or at least, until I had to go to the bathroom. And that's when I began to realize what was happening.
Getting up and taking off my headphones, the first thing I noticed was the noise; the pounding of hands against wood, the yelling, the alarms in the streets, all formed a symphony of terror. It took me a moment, but I realized that the yelling was coming from behind my door, the source undoubtedly being my family members. I unlocked the door and my three little brothers practically came tumbling in. They were shouting all at once, and I could hardly tell what they wanted from me.
"Hey! Quiet! Jeez! What's going on?"
They went dead silent, and Tim, the oldest of the three, picked up the TV remote from the floor. Pointing it at the TV, he changed the channel, and there it was – the apocalypse, in high definition.
Cars were fleeing the city like ants flee a flooded anthill, some of them on fire, others torn to pieces. A gigantic crater replaced what once could have been a sprawling business district, a shopping center, or residential area. This was undoubtedly a live overhead feed of a city adjacent to ours; I could hear the helicopter's blades whirring from the TV. Then, suddenly, the view shifted to the side, and what I could only assume was an enormous bug – a dragonfly? – crashed into the helicopter. The camera fell to the floor of the vehicle.
Then the electricity in our house went out.
Despite the daylight, my room darkened visibly; the blinds on my window were closed. I dashed across the room, nearly tripping on a couch cushion indifferently deposited on the floor. Reaching the window, I stuck two fingers between the blinds and extended them, peeking through the gap. Other than the excess of cars going down the road, and the crashed automobile by the side of the road near our house, the scene seemed almost normal. I grabbed a pair of binoculars from the window-sill, and, lifting the blinds away completely, looked through the glass with magnified vision. A bloody hand was scraping at the window of the car. It slammed into the window again and again before a ghastly face pressed against the glass.
My hands, and the binoculars with them, dropped to my sides.
The end was here.
I turned to my little brothers and asked quietly, "Where's mom?"
They didn't answer the question. They didn't have to. A horrendous groan reached my ears, and I heard the door across the hall, which led from this floor to ground level, being pounded on.
"We're getting out of here," I said. I quickly ushered them into my room and closed the door. Digging through bags of chips, game cases and dirty clothes, I searched violently for the one thing that could get us away. A crash sounded through the door. My brothers joined the search. They knew what I was looking for; they sometimes snuck out with me when I was going to late-night parties, and we would stop for ice-cream on the way back. Ice-cream. I found an empty styrofoam cup still dripping with mint chocolate-chip. Next to it was the rope. The pounding had reached my door, accompanied by angry, drawn-out grunts, both of which grew louder every second. I wasted no time pulling the window open and throwing one end of the rope down to the safe ground below. I began fastening the other end to the leg of my bed, which had not moved an inch in four years, it was so heavy.
"Start climbing down!" I yelled to my brothers over the pounding on the door. They obeyed willfully, all three of them moving to the window. I finished tying the knot.
A colossal roar that sounded almost like a scream of pain exploded right in front of me at about the same time the wall exploded, showering the room with splintered wood and other debris. Something huge caught me in the side, and I felt myself lifted bodily from the ground by the force of the impact. A second crash and I felt myself being peppered with more debris. Still flying, I blindly swiped the air for hope of some handhold - and I felt the familiar texture of the rope. Latching on solidly, my momentum carried me, and the rope, out over open space, then I slammed back into what was left of the house's outer wall. Cringing with pain, and still clutching the rope with a death-grip, I glanced around. A gigantic hole now replaced my door, most of the western wall of my room, and part of the floor as well. My bed was now swinging dangerously on the edge of the hole. And below me, a gigantic beast was flailing around. It was huge. Colossal, distended limbs on a vaguely humanoid frame. It was holding something.
A leg. A small, human leg. Dripping with blood.
I felt nausea hitting the back of my throat, but I forced it back into the pit of my stomach. Tears sprang into my eyes, followed rapidly by rage clouding my mind. That monster....
It began clawing at the wall trying to reach me.
Perfect. I'd kill it here and now.
I gritted my teeth, took a deep breath, and using the weight of my body, yanked downward on the rope. The bed slid only an inch - but that was all that was necessary. The heavy metal frame came tumbling down, me along with it.
I heard a roar and a screech, felt a blow to my head, and blacked out.
When I opened my eyes I had a serious headache. For just a moment, I couldn't recall what had just occurred. Then I saw the wreck of the wall of the house, and the upturned bed beside me. A giant arm stuck out from underneath it. It was not holding any limbs, but it still confirmed another one of my fears; on the arm was a bracelet of pearl-like beads, stretched to its limit by the overlarge wrist. Mom wore that bracelet. Not real pearls. Too expensive. But she liked how they looked...
The arm stirred. I heard a growl. The monster, still alive, began thrashing underneath the weight of the bed, trying to escape. I lifted myself off the ground and ran. When the house was nearly out of sight, I stopped, turned and looked back. Silence. Only the wind out here in the empty plains. Nobody else....
No more tears came. It was as if this had happened to someone else, not to me. Like I had simply been a bystander, watching a terrible tragedy unfold before my eyes. Maybe part of me simply couldn't accept it.
I never could accept reality. Games, movies, books here and there; I didn't live in the real world. Now that I'm forced to, it's like it never actually existed. Maybe this is just a huge dream, no, a huge nightmare, and we just have to wait until whoever is having it wakes up.
I have little hope that they will. They're probably sleeping the sleep of the dead. Selfish bastard. The dead here won't get any sleep now, will they?