Hello and welcome to 10 Quick Questions with Dave, I am your host Dave Tallman and joining me today is the lovely and talented Sylvianne Quin-Wright, the creative force behind a new style of Online Role Play Story creative writing that can be found exclusively on Myspace under her site name BlissMinx. To view the site go to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.myspace.com/blissminx">http://www.myspace.com/blissminx</a>
Sylvianne, let me start by saying thanks for agreeing to be interviewed today, I was enthralled by your Myspace page and just had to find out more about your creation Arkadia Rising a Gothic Tale?
g’day Dave how the hell are you? (that’s Aussie for hello) its a real pleasure to spend some time with you and all the members of Fiction Writers Group to share some of the exciting things we are doing online in “Arkadia Rising: A Dark Gothik Tale”
I just want to double check my facts here, you are an artist, an actress, and a writer, and not to mention one of the nicest people I have had the honour of meeting since I started this online odyssey.
gee thanks (blushing) – yes writing is my great passion in life, along with Gothic Belly Dance.
Can’t keep me off a stage – have been acting and writing plays since 10 years of age. Have also appeared in a TV series called “Medivac” that was based in Brisbane and come from a family of commercial artists, musicians, actors and writers. I have a background in desk top publishing/graphic arts.
Okay then let’s get down to the interview shall we? You started writing stage plays at age ten, is that correct?
I drove my parents mad from a very early age (pretty much from when I started talking) making up elaborate stories about my toys and a whole host of imaginary friends. At 7years old they gave me a large diary book where I started writing earnestly. I loved studying English at school and had a natural love and aptitude for words
I ended up in all the school plays with principal roles from a very early age. I wrote and performed in my first play age 10 – there were 2 roles which I performed with another school friend who had a flair for drama and performing also.
The play was performed in front of the whole school to celebrate “Book Week” – the play was about a grandmother (played by 10 yo me) explaining the lifetime joys and benefits of reading books to her grandson (played by my school chum). He and I ended up doing several plays together.
When did you first become interested in online Roleplay and what led to Arkadia Rising?
About 12 months ago I stumbled on to a myspace webpage called “Dark Theatre” where several online roleplays were being conducted on that page. They were doing a rendition of Phantom of the Opera which had been running for some time as well as a new roleplay which had just started up a few days earlier that had a vampire theme.
It took me about 5 seconds to decide – this is for me and I jumped in right there and then. I got very encouraging feedback from the facilitator of that site who was based in New York – she was convinced that I must have been a professional writer!
So I knew I was onto something. I liked the dynamism of the roleplay – the interaction between several writers bringing their vision through the technology of cyberspace that allowed us all to connect on the same page.
I loved the idea of bringing a basic skeleton of a story to life by fleshing it out with our individual characters and our unique perspective/imagination as the puppeteers behind the characters.
Unfortunately there was a lot of murky things going on behind the scenes between some of the roleplayers involved on Dark Theatre – the behind the scenes stuff is worthy of a soap opera and would make an enticing read one day but unfortunately back then, the backstage dramas eventually led to the downfall of Dark Theatre which suddenly closed its doors and denied all the writers access to their creative work.
Out of the ashes that was Dark Theatre, an idea arose in my mind that I could mount a roleplay story on my BlissMinx myspace page. From an embryonic beginning, I wanted to combine aspects of a near future cataclysm with a gothic themed story that had vampires, slayers, lycans, demons, witches, sorcerers, spirit guides, gypsies.
Your Roleplay Story is a little different than the standard version of RPG gaming, can you explain to us what Arkadia is and how it was developed?
“Arkadia Rising: A Dark Gothik Tale” is a collaborative creative writing project being conducted on line through myspace that involves a number of writers from around the world bringing a post apocalyptic gothic/dark fantasy story to life.
This is not an online game like Dungeons & Dragons or World of Warcraft where there is considerable built-in controls and contrivances exerted over the system mechanism as to the progress of the story and interaction between gamers and specific goals to obtain along the way.
Arkadia Rising has a number of core characters that came with the introduction to the story but as it has unfolded there have been many ongoing opportunities to introduce new characters into the story which roleplayers have done so rather cleverly.
Every time a new character enters the story another rich strand is added into the tapestry and interesting new subplots develop as the new characters begin to interact with other old and new characters.
There is a lot of creative freedom for roleplayers to develop their characters and contribute to the storyline so long as they adhere to a few guideline rules that help things run smoothly.
We like our characters to be interesting, varied and a bit flawed. It s not appreciated when new RPs join us and try to plagiarize another character already in play.
Anyone contemplating bringing in a “God-like” character that can do everything, be everywhere, all-powerful, know all soon gets stomped on by the rest of the cast as it makes for very boring story telling having unbridled ego -based characters running amok in the story.
Our roleplayers make posts in the Arkadia Rising blog that comprise part creative writing (describing the scene setting) as well as conducting dialogue between RP characters. We also include photographs, video clips, graphics as part of each post to further enhance the creative experience.
This is something new that we did not experience on “Dark Theatre” – Serenity was the one who suggested we use pictures in our post.
The photographs and video clips also have the added benefit of feeding the creativity of the other roleplayers and we will get terrific inspiration and ideas for our next posts by looking at the imagery the previous roleplayers posts.
Again, while looking for pictures to place in a current post, other pictures will come our way giving rise to new possibilities in the future.
What is the background story behind “Arkadia Rising:: Dark Gothik Tale” and how did your group of writers come together?
I created the skeleton of a story centred on an old castle located in the Carpathian Mountains (Romania) that has miraculously survived the great cataclysm predicted by the Mayans and ancient Egyptians to occur on 21/12/2012.
I also created a group of characters to get the story started with enough momentum and went about inviting myspace friends I knew who had previous experience or interest in roleplay and creative writing.
To begin with it was just myself and Serenity who is a very skilled and talented roleplay writer in America.
I met Serenity through the “Dark Theatre” and very much enjoyed the experience of roleplaying with her. We were both very disappointed about the sudden demise of “Dark Theatre” and started talking together about creating another roleplay we could do together – exchanging possible ideas and scenarios.
I sent Serenity my first draft of the introduction to “Arkadia Rising: A Dark Gothik Tale” and asked what do you think? She liked the concept and with her encouragement we launched the roleplay on my BlissMinx myspace page blog.
Built on top of an ancient ley line, the centuries old castle holds many secrets within its lantern lit hallways. Remnants of much older structures lie beneath its foundations where a vast labyrinth of hidden vaults, catacombs and secret passageways descend into the very bowels of the earth. The great earthquake of 2012 has awoken many entities who lay dormant deep below the earth and sought shelter hiding in the vaults and catacombs after the disaster. They are becoming more audacious as they explore the upper levels, making mischief and mayhem along the way.
Arkadia Castle and its dark underworld are home to both mortals and immortals (the undead) and a spectrum of strange supernatural creatures who are masters of deception. A safe haven in a world of devastation, the castle has become the centre stage where ancient rivalries between Vampire Clans and Lycan Packs(werewolves) are being played out. The story opens where the castle fortress is currently a Vampire stronghold ruled by Lord Dushar. In Lord Dushar’s castle, court intrigue reigns supreme with loose, shifting alliances between the groups of mortals and immortals create opportunities for the more ambitious ones to seize more power and ultimately take control of the fortress castle – for this is a most highly sought prize in a post-apocalyptic world.
The name “Arcadia” was the first name that came to mind when I was looking for a title for the story. I had fond memories as a teenager visiting some relatives on board a beautiful luxury cruise liner “The Arcadia” when it pulled into port into Sydney. I started researching the name “Arcadia” and was blown away to find that in Greek Mythology it had connections to the first werewolves that were created by Zeus when he got angry with King Lycaon and his sons turning them into werewolves, where the name Lycan comes from.
I used the original myth as the centre piece of the story that became the basis of Arkadia Castle located in the Carpathian Mountains, Romania – home to vampire folklore and large numbers of wolves, foxes, chamois, lynxes, bears. I changed the spelling of Arcadia to “Arkadia” – to distinguish it from the original Greek location. Interestingly the original Arcadia symbolised a sanctuary/safe haven to the inhabitants of that area.
You literally have writers from all around the world involved in Arkadia now, could you go into a little more detail on that and how you keep it all flowing?
At the moment we have a dedicated group of talented writers from all around the world – USA, Australia & UK.
The current number of writers is 8 who are writing for a combined total of 18 characters with their own myspace IDs.
There are a number of other characters in the story that are a shared resource RPs can use until a dedicated RP takes over the role.
How I keep it flowing is through encouraging good open communication, co-operation and rapport between the roleplayers. There is a lot of behind the scenes discussions mostly via email and/or skype before posts go up and I do a lot of the coordinating between the various roleplayers with assistance from Brian who is helping me with some of the administrative tasks.
Depending on how many characters are involved in a scene together (ie the number of roleplayers who will post dialogues in that same scene) dictates how much behind the scenes coordinating is required. As there are several subplots in play those groups of characters will tend to collaborate offline together before a post goes up. They usually keep in touch with me and give me the heads up on what they are planning so as to avoid any plot conflicts especially when "borrowing" shared characters.
As well as emailing, we also post bulletins on myspace to alert roleplayers of pertinent information.
Myspace is of course free to anyone who has a profile on it, so is there any signup fee or cost associated to playing along?
No there is no cost to join up and no ongoing fees to roleplay. You just need to have a myspace profile in order to access the story on my blog
The next question is along the same lines, can anyone join in, let’s say I wanted to become a steady writer on the site, what would I have to do?
As the story has been running now for 5 months with a lot of information to be absorbed when entering as a new character, we are now requiring new RPs to submit a page of roleplay writing in response to the latest post in the story to demonstrate the ability to comprehend the current interplay of characters already in the story and significant events transpired in the story to date. They should also have the follow skills or desires:
-Sufficient original creative imagination and communication skills
-Ability to make legible posts that are grammatically correct and have been spellchecked.
-Love of story telling and wanting to make a valuable contribution that will enthrall our readers and wider audiences.
You can use an existing profile on myspace to join in the story but if you are wanting to join the cast long term we recommend creating a myspace ID especially for your character as it certainly enhances the creative experience of all involved and allows you to fully immerse yourself into your character role.
I noticed you have a list of available characters on one of your blogs, how many characters are currently taken and who is left?
Number of characters always changing – new characters constantly being brought into the story as it evolves so this list will vary from week to week.
**At this very moment Feb 26th, we have 36 characters in the role play with 18 of those characters available for new roleplayers.**
-----------PRINCIPLE CHARACTERS IN ARKADIA RISING----------- (I have marked those ones that are currently Available)
GOD/ZEUS (being roleplayed by Hollywood Producer/script writer Brian Albanese)
Lord Dushar – evil, ambitious vampire Lord who currently holds the power over Arkadia Castle stronghold and wishes to expand his area of influence Available
Evander – a hybrid (half vampire, half werewolf) right hand man of Lord DusharStill discovering the extent of his unusual powers, initially torn between sympathy for Serenity and giving the appearance of remaining loyal to Lord Dushar, he eventually reveals his hidden agenda for an ambitious attack on Arkadia Castle and will pay a great price for his ill-conceived plan of domination. Available
Serenity – captured bride of Lord Dushar, daughter of Angelique, Gypsy Medicine Woman, enraptured with Abraxus the Lycan. She is still adjusting to her newly acquired vampire form.
Full Moon Dancer - gypsy wanderer, custodian of the mystical Ganeida sword, with a knack for getting herself into trouble when she goes wandering where she shouldn't go. Likes to dance.
Akicita Cetan (Warrior Hawk) - enigmatic father of Full Moon Dancer with mysterious past, near death experience interceded by Pan & Hades
Countess Eloise Du Valois - unsuspecting neighbour of Lord Dushar, does not realise she is living next door to Vampires. Kidnapped by Bliss & held hostage while Bliss assumed her identity to gain entry to Arkadia Castle masquerade ball.
Gerard Du Valois - wealthy brother of the Countess, has made his money trading horses & wine post 2012.
Lady of the Mists – mystical, ethereal entity who is the master forger of 4 great swords that are entwined in the destiny of Arkadia and will intervene in the affairs of the survivors of cataclysm.
Rafael – charismatic leader of the gypsy encampment, skilled horseman, gifted with understanding the ways of animals, fierce warrior, streetwise decision maker, protecting the gypsy encampment at all costs. Rafael has a well developed 6th sense and considerable clairvoyant ability that he uses to his advantage in this game of survival. Available
Angelique – highly respected medicine woman in the gypsy encampment. Responsible for alliance with the Lycan pack led by Lorenzo. Also liaises with some of the Slayers. Mother of kidnapped Serenity held captive by Lord Dushar. Angelique, like Rafael also has clairvoyant ability.
Loki - 12 year old gypsy messenger boy. Ability to cast runes, open portals.
Rehan - 10 year old clairvoyant gypsy girl, servant in Arkadia Castle Available
Lorenzo – leader of the Lycan pack, long time rivals of Lord Dushar’s vampire clan trying to seize control of Arkadia Castle. Lorenzo is a unrelenting dangerous foe who will not stop until he has taken Arkadia for his own. Available
Abraxus – shapeshifting wolf, member of the Lycan pack led by Lorenzo, enarmoured with Serenity after a fateful meeting near the Orion River.
Tolere – brother of Abraxus, also shape shifter wolf
Dante - female shapeshifting wolf, friend of Abraxus, Tolere & Marko
Marko - male shapeshifting wolf in league with Dante, Abraxus and Tolere Available
Nhoor – a shape shifting Slayer from the 7th Domain of Darkover, assigned to assassinate Lord Dushar rogue vampire. Originally from ancient Persia but taken to Darkover and made an immortal
Bliss - a shape shifting Slayer from the 7th Domain of Darkover, assigned to assassinate Lord Dushar rogue vampire
Incekar - Chieftain of the Guild of Slayers, Leader of the 7 Swordsmen of Nevarassin from the realm of Darkover, immortal slayer Available
Mokhtar - son of Incekar, one of the 7 Swordsmen of Nevarassin from the realm of Darkover. Immortal slayer.. torn between loyalty for his father and the new breakaway group of slayers. Available
Hunsur - one of the 7 Swordsmen of Nevarassin from the realm of Darkover.. Immortal slayer. Originally from the Steppes of Central Asia but taken to Darkover and made immortal. Available
Rukhshana - female member of the 7 Swordsmen of Nevarassin from the realm of Darkover. Immortal slayer Available
Madrassa - one of the 7 Swordsmen of Nevarassin from the realm of Darkover. Immortal slayer. Loyal to Incekar Available
Cezarre - one of the 7 Swordsmen of Nevarassin from the realm of Darkover. Immortal slayer. Loyal to Incekar Available
Assunta - female member of the 7 Swordsmen of Nevarassin from the realm of Darkover. Immortal slayer. Loyal to Incekar Available
Sokaris - ancient vampire patriarch, father of Lord Dushar Available
Valentia - Malicious female vampire (ex love interest of Lord Dushar many centuries earlier who had been in a dormant state but was awoken during the earthquake) seeking power and revenge
Lucien – male vampire part of the court of Lord Dushar . Tentative alliance with Valentia who manipulates him for information and her plans for vengeance
Dominae – malelovent, mischief making demon Available
Sekkubus – female demon who seduces unsuspecting men.
Sethanost - Lord of the demonic realm, seeks to gain control of Arkadia through Dushar Available
Hades – Lord of the underworld abode of the mortal dead, brother of Zeus Available
Pan – horned God, half man/half goat beast, panpipe player, wine drinker & seducer of women. God of shepherds & flocks, called Arcadia home in a cave at the foothills of Mt Lycaeum. Available
Lyfin - a mutant wolf-like creature genetically engineered by Lord Dushar as an experimental source of food for the vampires
Can I create my own character, or do I have to take one of the prefab constructs and who has the final say over how the “story” is run?
Yes roleplayers are welcome to create their own character – some of our most fascinating characters so far have been ones that people created to enter the story. Otherwise people can slip into one of the ready-made roles. In either case a prospective roleplayer will need to submit a 1 page “audition” dialogue in response to a recent post, to demonstrate their understanding of the various threads of the story, an ability to interact with other characters, good spelling and grammar with legible, logical writing and capacity to make a creative contribution to an exciting innovative story.
If a prospective roleplayer is creating a new character, they will need to submit a short brief about the character, its history, any significant traits or special abilities, any alliances, associations or relationships with existing characters in the story. These details will be submitted by the blog Facilitator in a myspace bulletin to alert existing roleplayers of a new entity joining us and will also be added to the existing list of characters on the blog as a general introduction.
Good communication between roleplayers behind the scenes before posts are made is essential for the plot to run reasonably smoothly. I like to give roleplayers as much creative freedom as possible but there are a few rules listed in the blog to help roleplayers adopt a co-operative approach to their writing and communication with each other. Occasionally I have had to step in and guide a couple of roleplayers when they have tried to take control of the story and steer it in a direction that was detrimental to the other RPS character development and inhibited their progress in the story.
I am looking for people who understand good story telling and want their posts to appeal to a wide audience. Arkadia Rising is not the right forum for those with unbridled egos who want to play out fantasy “God-like” characters that all are knowing, all powerful, everywhere present which will quickly kill a story with boredom. Our longevity rests with interesting characters that have weakness and flaws as well as unique talents and perspectives.
Ironically we do have a GOD/Zeus character in our story who is responsible for some of the supernatural events taking place in the story. He has minimal dialogue but serves as the perfect foil should any character begin to make God-like overtures in the story.
We are most fortunate to have Brian Albanese, a talented Hollywood producer and script writer in the role of GOD. He is a very gifted writer who has been a great asset in developing the storyline and assisting me with some of the behind the scenes administrative workload associated with facilitating between roleplayers as the number of people participating has grown.
We do rely on his expertise for resolving any potential plot conflicts or if a character gets stuck and needs assistance to make their next post he can offer advice and suggestions. He is very approachable and respectful of all the roleplayers in Arkadia Rising.
What’s next for you and Arkadia Rising? I know the last time we spoke you had mentioned possible TV interest in the story, any new developments along that lines?
We are getting encouraging feedback from people like Brian Albanese in the film industry who says the story has the potential to be made into a series of books and a TV mini series. A number of people have also suggested Arkadia Rising would lend itself to an exciting online 3D animation game and that is where we are ultimately headed - to take this creative experience to the next level of a hi-tech alternative reality world of roleplay where one could fully immerse into a character as if transported through a portal to another dimension. That Arkadia Rising would become the ultimate escape destination into a brave new world