My Life,  Writing Resources

The Curse of BioWare

So, I’m not a superstitious person. Absolutely and completely not.
Except over the past couple years, since I’ve left BioWare, I have started wondering if somehow my leaving BioWare had brought down the wrath of some foul and overly vengeful Writing deity upon my head.
I had even begun to think of it as the ‘Curse of BioWare’.

“What are you talking about Brent?”

See, I’m about to reveal a terrible secret. One that had made me start to doubt my ability to write. As the months passed, after I had left BioWare, I was fortunate to start selling a fair number of stories. That should have been cause for celebration, right?
Except it wasn’t.
Because every story I sold was a story I had written during my time with BioWare, including my Writers of the Future winning story ‘Digital Rights’ (which I wrote during my sabbatical shortly before I decided to leave BioWare). In fact the most recently written story I had sold was ‘The Kol Effect’ (published in Neo-Opsis #19)
I was not selling new stories. Stories that had been written after I had departed BioWare. Sure some of the stories I sold were complete rewrites of past stories, so technically they were newish but the original kernel of the story had originated in the past.
This lack of new sales combined with a medical condition that had sprung up in my final weeks with BioWare, started to make me doubt my rational worldview. Maybe it had been a mistake to leave BioWare! Maybe something about being at BioWare, working with all those talented folk, had made me a better writer. Or even just a capable writer. I contemplated sneaking into the office and hanging out in the lunch room just to absorb some of their creativity. Or lingering in the parking lot. Or wearing a tinfoil hat to better intercept their transmissions…
Perhaps leaving BioWare had cursed me!
In short I was really starting to doubt myself (and maybe becoming a tad crazy) despite being certain that the new stories I’ve been writing are significantly better than my old work.
Well I am relieved to tell you that if indeed there was ever a curse it was removed when I sold ‘Stone Eater’ to Abyss and Apex last month. This is the first story I had written since leaving BioWare to sell! But not the last. I just found out this morning that I’ve sold a second new story. More on that once contracts are settled. I’ll give you a hint though; I’ve sold stories to this market in the past.
So the curse has been lifted!
Which is probably a good thing considering the amount of writing I’ve done in the past month. I am just a few chapters away from finishing the novel I began in November!

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.


  • Dev You Trained Years Ago

    ┬áThere’s plenty of knowledge and tricks to be absorbed hanging around here, certainly, but you have to remember one thing: you were part of that talent pool as well, with good reason.┬á I’m glad you shook the curse but it makes me wonder if maybe, just maybe, the curse will find a new home in me when my time comes.

  • Jordan Ellinger

    I had a lull after I won WotF too. The bathtub philosophy helped me get past it. 

    While you’ve been writing you’ve been filling your bathtub. Imagine there’s a soap ring on your tub that denotes “publishable stories”. Well, my WotF winning story was on the tip of a huge wave that JUST crested that soap ring. But at the time that I won it was a rogue wave. The majority of my writing was still well under that soap ring. As I kept writing and writing, my tub filled and filled and now it’s just the troughs that are below the soap ring.I imagine that you’re still in the process of filling your tub–and cresting that soap ring yourself, if these sales are any indication.

  • Brent Knowles

    Jordan, thanks for the reply.

    That’s a cool way to describe the process. Psychologically it is a relief to be selling some newer work… I *was* getting a little worried!

  • Anonymous

    Brent, the thing to remember here, is that you’re talented.┬á Otherwise, Bio Ware wouldn’t have picked you up.┬á There is not one company that has had the Bio Ware track record.┬á I can’t think of one Bio Ware game that I played that I didn’t like.┬á A larger part of that boils down to the story line.┬á I’m sure you had your share of the great story lines.┬á Just keep at it.┬á Practice makes perfect.

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