Writing is, by and large, the loneliest profession you can undertake. It’s not like a typical office job where, if you run into problems, you can go to your supervisor and get some guidance from him or her. It’s not like your friends can inform you about a procedure you didn’t know about that will solve the situation for you. In writing, there’s you and the computer screen and that’s it. It’s your story to tell: Not your editor’s and not your fellow writers, neither of whom is in your office to pitch in any way.
The Crimson Keep stories haven’t been that way. Crimson Keep began when Crazy 8 launched a round robin challenge at Shore Leave many years ago. We took turns wedging our bodies (easier for the skinny guys; more problematic for me) into a space between two brick pillars and produced the very first combined Crazy 8 combined writing endeavor. Each of us had an hour to come up with our contribution, which naturally became more challenging the further in we went because there was more for each new writer to read. Should really have given the later writers ninety minutes, now that I think back on it.
We later did a second group story, minus the part about sitting at a convention. The only hitch with both group stories is this: I have no recollection which parts of the stories were mine. Just as it’s difficult for writers who are undertaking a group effort to, say, write a sitcom script, it’s hard to remember which joke was whose.
That was solved when we planned Tales of the Crimson Keep, in which each of us would contribute our own story to the endeavor. I wasn’t sure what I could come up with that wouldn’t step on somebody else’s undertaking, and eventually, I seized upon an idea that had been done in a couple of episodes of Xena, Warrior Princess. I would come up with a story set in an entirely different time period and have the characters “reincarnated” so that they looked and sounded identical to the way they used to be, but had no recollection of their previous lives. Toss in a young man from the Keep who had been trapped for centuries, set it during World War II so we could have Nazis for our villains, and the story practically wrote itself.
If you are encountering the Keep for the first time, welcome to the magic show. If you’ve been following us all this time, thank you for your support and patronage.
Tales of the Crimson Keep – Newly Renovated Edition is now on sale in the usual variety of formats.