Dreamer Profile: Colin McComb

7 Dec

Oathbreaker: The Knight

[Editor’s note: I first met Colin when we were both teaching at the same school – right next door to each other, in fact – and would “threaten” to do something about the noise coming from our respective classrooms. Earlier this year, on my birthday, he supported my dream and wrote, “I wish you New York this year,” and (unbeknownst to him) was one of the people who inspired me to take a chance and visit New York this past June. A few months ago, when I read that he was looking for supporters to help him publish his novel, I did what I could to return the favor, and am absolutely thrilled to be able to feature him in the Dreamer Profile series – and to have the honor of being able to count him as one of my friends.]

NAME: Colin McComb

WEB ADDRESS/BLOG SITE: www.colinmccomb.com, http://www.3lbgames.com

EMAIL ADDRESS: cmm@3lbgames.com

What is the dream you are pursuing?

  • After years of talking about it, planning it, and plotting it, I’m releasing my first novella, “Oathbreaker: The Knight’s Tale“, the first in a series. The series started off as a single snapshot image of a cocky young wizard who suddenly realizes he’s overmatched as his enemy summons forth a creature from beyond, and with that image burning a hole in my mind, the rest of the pieces began to fall into place. I promised my wife (as part of our wedding vows) that I’d write a book, and hey, ten years later! Here I am.

What inspired you dream about doing this project?

  • I’ve been a fantasist for a long time. I started playing Dungeons & Dragons when I was 10, and I’ve been reading fantasy since well before then. I’ve been a professional game designer and writer of one sort of another since 1991—I’ve always had the desire to share my imagination, but I’ve never published any fiction. Putting together a coherent story seems to me another route to do that… and this way, I don’t have to worry about game balance, which always been a concern.

What challenges have you faced in order to pursue on this dream?

  • The biggest challenges have come from inside. Procrastination, fear that my work wasn’t good, or fear that it wasn’t good enough (especially when compared to the great writers), fear that I’d fail, fear that I’d succeed, making something else the priority… lack of focus, in other words, because of an underlying anxiety about finally being responsible for my own fate, with the commensurate penalties for imagined failure.

What has surprised you the most about pursuing this dream?

  • When I launched my Kickstarter project to help pay for my artist and editor, I thought I would get some desultory interest, and I set my pledge bar low. Instead, total strangers to me backed me generously, along with friends and family and fans of my other work, and I met the goal handily. I suppose it was surprising to me to realize that people really do like my work. You’d think that I’d have internalized this long ago, since I’ve had a fairly successful game career, but I’ve always rationalized that as people being interested in the game, or the setting, or the company I was working for.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of pursuing this dream?

  • Pretty much the answer I just gave. That, and finally launching my book. There’s something about seeing it put together and knowing, “I did that. I made this.” Even if it doesn’t sell thousands of copies, I know that I did it. I launched something under my own power.

Is there anything you wish you would have known or done differently?

  • No procrastination! No fear! It’s easy to look back at the end of a project and say, “Man, I shouldn’t have wasted so much time.” I should know! But I wish I could keep the focus I’ve learned in the last few years and apply it retroactively to my life. I just need to remember: When I sit down to a project, I sit down to the project – and I don’t get distracted. Take the time to do it right, because otherwise there’s no point in doing it.

Where do you hope this dream leads?

  • Fame and riches, of course! Mostly the latter, anyway. At the very least, I’d like to maintain enough interest in the series that I can finish it off as a complete story. Chances are good I’ll do that anyway, but it’d be nice to get paid along the way.

Who inspires you to dream?

  • My friends Chris Avellone and Tony DiTerlizzi, who really do embody the work ethic I want. They are both astoundingly creative and prolific, and if I can match even half of their output over the course of my life, I’ll be happy.

(Oathbreaker: The Knight’s Tale Book I can be purchased on Amazon.com)

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