Omake: Why Border, and What Changed?

by Matt P.

As a reminder, Border is on hiatus until February 2nd while I prepare Book 2 and the possibility of a short story. All posts this month will be on things related to Border, but not actual plot updates–these posts will be about background and behind the scenes things. They are labelled as Omake, which is a Japanese term from anime and manga for extra or bonus parts, because I can.

Why Border? Why did you start this, and what were and are your goals with it?

Why is a difficult question to answer, because there are a couple of different ways to answer it. But all of those answers are a part of why we have the thing here that we do, so I will try to answer them.

Border came about largely because I wanted to write a webcomic, but I’m terrible at drawing. I have numerous friends who have done webcomics, most specifically Robin Childs of (go read it, they just came off hiatus), and I love the ability that she has to directly interact with her fans. A webcomic has a great opportunity to create a community and see immediate responses from fans; contrasted to writing a novel, which is pretty much a solitary activity unless you’re in a writing circle. And even then it is small scale feedback from a select audience.

So a big part of why I started Border was because I wanted to work on a project that I could throw out to the world, week by week.

A second reason was because I’d never actually finished any major writing projects, and I wanted to see if I could challenge myself to do so. I wanted to see if I actually could do so, or if I was doomed to have about fifty pages of a bunch of different would be novels on my computer. I’d previously joked that I was a great first fifty pages author, but I stalled out after that. By putting myself out there and promising that I would publish something twice a week, I figured it would be the best way to see if I had it in me.

And to that extent it succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I not only finished Border, I didn’t miss an update for the entire first year. And when schedule slippage came I forced myself back on to the horse and got back to it.

And the final reason was I had ideas for urban fantasy kicking around in my head. I’ve been a fan of the genre (think the Dresden Files or the Kitty Norville series) for years, but it was the one genre that I hadn’t really started putting to paper. So when I wanted to do a serial project it was the thing I had at hand that I wanted to develop, and I thought would work.

What were the biggest changes in the first book?

The biggest change in Book 1 from a structural standpoint was changing how long the updates were. I originally thought it would be 500 words per update, and that would be enough. But it quickly became obvious that it wasn’t working for either myself or the people who were reading it; it wasn’t enough to be satisfying, and the story would have taken forever to get to where I wanted it. Given it took 18 months already, it would have taken probably 3 years if I had kept it at that length.

The biggest change internally were the changes to the characters of Morgan and Tania. But I’ll save exactly how they changed, and why that was such a big change, for the next Omake update. See, still trying to keep the cliffhangers going.