So for the next dark whispers interview we have Wood Ingham, freelance writer for White Wolf.
Adam: So to get started would you introduce yourself and give a little personal background?
Wood: Right. British, married, two kids, 32 years old, resident in Wales.
I’ve been a freelance writer for five years now, and I’ve had White Wolf as a client since early 2005.
I gamed a lot as a teenager, but gave it up when I went to university, because of girls and stuff. You know. Anyway, about six years ago, a mate of mine pulled out a Call of Cthulhu set he had, and asked me to run it, and it snowballed from there. So I wrote some Cthulhu stuff, for The Black Seal, and Worlds of Cthulhu.
Adam: So was that your introduction to the world of role-playing?
Wood: Pretty much. I ended up buying back a lot of the stuff I gave away and sold, and ended up getting some more WW stuff – I’d been a fan of Vampire and Wraith in their very earliest iterations (I’d given my copies away back in 1994).
…but it was the work I did for Adam Crossingham that made me think I could write for RPGs.(The Cthulhu stuff I mentioned). Anyway, I’d said this before, but I picked up a WW book (won’t say which), and read it with older eyes, and thought, bloody hell, I could do better than that.
Adam: We are lucky you did.
Wood: Thank you. During a big drive for clients in January 2005, I wrote about five pages on a factory farm for vampires, and sent it to WW, and thought no more of it. Will Hindmarch e-mailed me within a fortnight of me having sent it, and that was it, really.
Adam: And has that material been published?
Wood: Yes – it’s in Shadows of the UK.
Adam: Do you have any writing qualifications?
Wood: Not in the sense of professional qualifications. I worked as a technical writer for computer software firm for a couple of years, and started out by sending columns for free to magazines and web magazines. I tended to go for stuff on news and religion, since that’s where I feel I’m best at this writing business.
Adam: What are your biggest artistic influences and inspirations?
Wood: Ooh. Music, a lot. Robyn Hitchcock, mainly. I like stuff that has its own mythology, its own stories, Belle and Sebastian. Arcade Fire, Husker Du and Tanya Donelly. For film: Julio Medem “Tierra” and “Lovers of the Arctic Circle”. Books: Donna Tartt, Umberto Eco, Flann O’Brien, Salman Rushdie, Jorge Luis Borges and Mervyn Peake
I’m fond of 70s Marvel comics – Tomb of Dracula, Tales of the Zombie, Monster of Frankenstein, Son of Satan, Man-Thing, all of which I discovered relatively recently. Also, a lot of European stuff, particularly Bilal’s recent stuff. And 2000AD, of course! The really old Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog stories. It’s interesting, though – it didn’t make a lot of difference to a lot of people.
Adam: Shame about the terrible movie conversion
Wood: Oh, it was awful, wasn’t it?
Adam: I can remember trying to sneak into the movies to watch it, and was so disappointed.
Wood: Dredd’s such a part of our culture – if you’re male and between about 30 and 40 now, you read 2000AD back in the day when it was good – that Stallone’s idea of him just wasn’t Dredd.
Adam: What advise can you give to someone who is starting, or thinking of getting into the writing business?
Wood: I think the important thing is that you’ve got to be aware that it’s not art. It’s a job, and you have to treat it as such. If you’re starting up, you should really refine your skills by writing stuff for people for free, because you’re only going to get paid if you’re really quite good, and for most people, being good needs a lot of practice.
Oh, and take advice. If what you wrote is crap, and someone who knows what they’re talking about tells you that, accept it and go back to the drawing board. Speaking as a magazine editor (it’s one of my other clients) there’s few things more frustrating than a writer who won’t take honest advice on how to improve his work.
Adam: What books have you worked on so far?
Wood: Right. Deep breath…
For Vampire: Bloodlines: the Legendary, Damnation City, Requiem for Rome, Fall of the Camarilla, and one book currently in writing that I can’t talk about.
For Promethean: All five of them.
For Mage: Legacies: the Sublime, Legacies: the Ancient, Secrets of the Ruined Temple, Reign of the Exarchs, Tome of the Mysteries, Magical Traditions
For the General World of Darkness: Asylum, Shadows of the Uk, Reliquary.
For Changeling: the core book.
And the core and three supplements for the game we can only call Number Six.
Adam: There has been a roaring debate on the forum about that one, but it does seem very interesting?
Wood: My lips are sealed.
Adam: Could you at least confirm it has something to do with hunters?
Wood: Francis Urquhart “You might well think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.”
Wood: I love the speculation.
Adam: Some of the new book you mention, could you tell us about those? Reliquary perhaps?
Wood: Reliquary is out there now, and it’s a book about how to storytell mystical artifacts – and also how to create them. You can create your own, place them, and tell stories about them. The book gives you concrete tools to do it, too.
Justin Achilli, Matt McFarland and the others produced some fine work.
Jess Hartley (interview coming soon), who developed it, is rightly proud of what she led.
Adam: What can you tell us about Requiem for Rome?
Wood: Well, in Requiem for Rome, you discover that some of things you thought about vampire history were completely wrong, and something’s are only slightly wrong. You meet familiar clans and bloodlines, and unfamiliar ones.
The Camarilla has four wings, and each has its own advantages.
And in the place of the Ventrue are the Gens Julii.
In the book, you get a full overview of Rome and what it’s like for a vampire, people you might meet, and things that might happen. It’s full of guidelines for telling stories from the founding of Rome to its fall…
…and in Fall of the Camarilla, you get a fully-realised chronicle taking you across the fourth century CE and its outcome.
Want to drive in a midnight chariot race?
Want to hold a banquet of the dead and leave to vomit the Vitae so you can feed some more?
Oh – did I mention the social combat rules?
Adam: No please do!
Wood: Well, the Roman society of the dead revolves around discussion, around debate, and the stakes often get ridiculously high. You can lose all status, or even your (un)life if you lose a debate. The mechanics kind of reflect this. Ray Fawkes did a fine job of getting them together. David Chart had a hand, too.
Adam: could these rules be used for modern day chronicles?
Wood: Yes. I’ve play tested them with three groups now, and they’ve all loved them.
Wood: Right. One more question.
Adam: Is there anything that you can give us that is not already available on the forums?
Wood: Hmmm. You get to meet the founders of not one but two bloodlines still active in the modern day.
You’ll discover the nature of the Nemeses, the thing that vampires fear.
Adam: Wow. I think you’ve given us plenty us to drool over. It has been much appreciated. Thank you.