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RadZakpak

Three Year Anniversary of Writing the Storybook

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Hello, everyone. It's hard to believe, but it has been three years since I was invited by @InfestLithium to have my newly-started Storybook brought to CoDz. At the time I had only written 14 short chapters, and yet Infest saw the potential in me and gave me this great opportunity, as well as introducing me to this wonderful community. It was an exciting time to be a Call of Duty Zombies fan back in July 2016. We had just seen the trailer for the upcoming Gorod Krovi. We still didn't know who Doctor Monty was, nor did we understand the blood vials. We were completely uncertain of the future. No one could have anticipated the direction of the comics, nor the release of Zombies Chronicles and the Timeline.

 

Suffice as it is to say, it has been a hell of a journey. I would not be writing this passion project if it were not for the support of everyone here. I can't express my gratitude enough. All I can say is thank you, everyone.

 

As a sort of celebration of the three years since I began writing, I wanted to make a thread expressing my gratitude as well as providing an opportunity to learn more about my process creating the Storybook. I will be answering a couple of questions suggested by @anonymous, and giving a behind the curtain view of what is to come. Without further ado, here are some questions and answers.

 

How did you get the idea of starting the Storybook? Did you anticipate expanding it as much as you did?

 

The idea started small around June of 2016 as I had just watched the massive 4 hour long Zombies Storyline Audio Documentary by the legendary @MysteryMachineX for the second time. It being the Summer right after High School and right before University, I had a lot of free time, and was thinking about how much I love the storyline, and yet it cannot be appreciated by most players of the game because it is so complex and not explicitly told in-game. I thought, “Man, it would be awesome if there was a book that told the entire story in an understandable and entertaining way.” When I realized there wasn't, I just thought, “What if I wrote it?”

 

I had no idea where to begin, so I thought the simplest place would be with the map that started it all: Nacht. I wrote out a short prologue, only about 900 words, and I realized I loved doing it. At the time I browsed the CoDZombies subreddit daily, but I was afraid of the backlash I would receive for my “fan-fiction”, so I posted it under an alternate account to gauge reaction (original post here:

 

Anyway, I didn't plan for this to be a multi-year project. I initially just wanted to connect all the radios and quotes into a timeline of events that made sense. Then, the bomb dropped in 2017 that was the timeline. Suddenly, in my eyes, there was no point to just connecting the dots with my Storybook. I had to try to make it stand out on its own as not just an explanation of the story, but an expansion. The chapters became longer along with the time between them, but man do I enjoy writing and reading them. The goal of writing should be creating something that you yourself would love to read, and I can tell you that this is exactly what I would have wanted back in the day.

 

Do you ever get ideas from posts here on CoDz?

 

Yes, I do! I am indebted to the passionate minds here for the many threads created and ideas expressed that have influenced my writing. From storyline theories to explanations of the science behind the story, I often get ideas just reading the threads on this site that I know I just have to implement in some way. Some notable examples:

 

What was your favorite chapter to write?

 

That is a tough question to answer, so I will cop-out and choose multiple, of course. One I massively enjoyed recently was Danke Schoen, the first chapter of Book 2. I have no current plans to continue Book 2 until Book 1 has more progress, so that just goes to show you how impatient I was to write that chapter. I think Ultimis has such great potential, and I am dying to write more for them. I just had to get that chapter out there not only as a taste of what's to come but to satisfy my own need.

 

Another favorite of mine is Chapter 20 of Book 1, “Uniform”. Around chapter 10 or so as I was writing I came up with the story beat of how Richtofen would acquire the Nazi uniform we all know him for. I knew I had to eventually get him into that uniform, and I also had to show how far his mind has slipped. The best way I could do that was to have a chapter from the outside perspective of Doctor Schuster, a character I've come to love, and have him see first-hand how Richtofen would react to receiving a Nazi uniform. Edward doesn't seem at all off-put by it, and in fact he seems to love it because it makes him feel powerful. The creator of Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan, has said that the writers' process for the show when it came to characters was to write the character first, and then explore the consequences of the actions that character would naturally take. Richtofen is a character not created by me but by Treyarch, and so presented with this situation, I wasn't really sure how Richtofen would react until I began typing, and he ended up surprising me. “Uniform” is why I love writing this story.

 

What is the process for creating a chapter?

 

Typically I like to have a general idea of what I want to accomplish with a chapter, and other chapters after it, before I dive into writing it. The official timeline helped a great deal with this process, as it laid out the major events in a linear fashion, and it is my job to make those gaps in time make sense and flow together well. With the timeline as a gold standard, I enter the next phase where I decide how I am going to approach character development and exposition with each chapter. Maxis is going to Kino for the next few years of the timeline? He's got to be dealing with not being able to see his daughter, and fight the temptation to form a relationship with Sophia. I evaluate the hard evidence first, and in this example I looked a lot at Data Servant entries from the first Black Ops, where Maxis seemed to be paranoid and frustrated with Sophia. Building off that, I also need to set up for a big climatic chapter I have planned regarding his time at Kino, so this chapter should make hints and build up to it, so I have to account for that. With the basic idea for the chapter in mind, there is still some time before I begin writing.

 

I look over the framework for the chapter, and get it into my head to think over for a couple of days. While listening to music or working or browsing online, I tend to come up with an idea for an interaction or exchange that would fit perfectly in the chapter. For example, in the recent Maxis chapter I had the idea to have Maxis be taunted by the Illuminati while I was playing Kino der Toten and saw the chalk writing on the wall with Samantha's name along with two others. What if the Illuminati is playing with Maxis, forcing him to do things against his, as well as Richtofen's best interests? It seems to fit so perfectly. So I put it in my notes, and continue until I find myself in a mood, and I just start typing with my notes close by until it is done.

 

I tend to think of the general framework for certain climactic chapters way in advance, because I will think of a really fun idea in my free time and I plan to hold on to them until I finally get a chance to write those chapters. In particular, I look forward to the final chapters of Book 4 (Around Primis), the backstory behind Victis in Book 3, and sooner than later, Chapter 27 of Book 1 “Black” followed up closely by Chapter 28 “Penance”. Richtofen is now reaching the point of no return.

 

Besides writing more chapters and finishing books, what else do you have planned for the future?

 

Right now I want to focus on getting Book 1 complete, but after that there is a few things I would like to do. Book 1 is set to be extremely long in comparison to what I have planned for the other books, and I will admit some chapters are going to be unnecessary in the long run. When I have completed the planned chapters for Book 1, I will go back and either A. Split Book 1 into 2 separate parts, or B. Create an abridged version that is much shorter, while keeping the original intact.

 

I also would like to, at some point after Book 1 is done, create a physical print of the book, after some extensive editing of course. It would be for me personally, so I could hold in my hands a tangible version of what I've created. I would be open to paying out of pocket to print copies for people that would want them if I ever complete this damn book. I wouldn't sell them without Treyarch/Activision's blessing and wouldn't even want to. This has always been about the fun of the story and nothing more. As @The Meh put it in his Unity retrospective, I just needed to write for myself. I guess that's all there is to it.

 

Another fun idea I've thrown around in my head is an audiobook version to be uploaded to YouTube or Soundcloud. I would just need to find the right person to read the book or find myself a good microphone and see how decent my impressions are. The videos would be paired with the best visuals that can be acquired, and a variety of musical backing. That would be a whole project unto itself, and as I said I want to focus on finishing this book at the moment as I reach the halfway point.

 

 

To conclude, I am so, so thankful for the support from everyone on CoDZ. I hope that one day this project will be complete, and I can look back and feel proud of what I have done. It makes me so happy that there are people that already enjoy my work, when I'm not even close to being done.

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One of my favourite peoples talking about one of my favourite things here on these Forums. Congratulations to start with! Your Storybook is something I detect myself looking forward to quite some times, like a TV series releasing an episode every so-often, but then released more randomly and surprising, which makes its appearance even more exciting. I like to see how you started this massive project, and I'm glad thing led to another (seems like the release of the Timeline had at least one great result after all). 

 

I wonder how Infest found you. Did he read your post on the reddit or did you contact him? Anyways, you have been working and updating it for quite some time, and I remember for example that the release of the Timeline made you entirely starting over again. Great respect for that perseverance! I would probably have given up there, but you, you started over again, not only renew it but even improving. Version 2 had real intruging characters, which is imo your best talent. Understanding and writing characters and how they became who they are, like Schuster, Richthofen. Maxis. It makes the story so much more than merely events happening after one each other, and so much more interesting. I can say it heavily influenced my entire intepretation of it.

 

I am curious what the actual developers of the story think of it. You should take an efford to make contact eith them, if you want. And if you will ever release a physical version, you will definately have at least one buyer here :p Oh, and I would go for option A. Blijf doorgaan met dit geweldige werk!

 

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