Took a year of false starts and coming to terms with my lack of web design skill past “you made a Geocities page in 1995 in Notepad”, but it’s here, and you’re here. Hell Scaper has launched and I’m glad you decided to read on. I’ve mostly stuck to Twitter for a few years, but I realized somewhere in 2016 that I really wanted a place to write longer pieces, and I absolutely cannot stand Tumblr’s interface, so the obvious followup was “Let’s start my own website”. I can probably blame how I came to this decision on a few other writers and/or friends and how they’ve handled being online and their own works:
- Jeremy Parish: Probably the guy whose work I’ve seen the longest (since the early 2000s, can’t place exactly when), but 100% the person whose skill I’m the most jealous of. I don’t always have the same opinions he does, but reading any critique he writes of something, positive or negative, I’ve been able to figure out whether it’s something I want or not. That’s the kind of goal I’m aiming for: at least you’ll know how you feel about it when you’re done reading. I would also be lying if I didn’t just admit the man has one of the best voices in podcasting.
- Heidi Kemps: I would be lying my ass off if I didn’t say that Heidi’s site, Gaming.moe, was not a huge part of what pushed me to go “Y’know, I can probably make a thing that fits my tastes and still entertain a few people along the way”. It’s just that when she writes about kusoge (lit.: shit game), it’s cute or related to a point, and when I write about kusoge, it’s over 8k words on a trainwreck of a crowdfunded visual novel.
- David Brothers: In all honesty, while I’ve known (of) the other two much longer, Brothers is probably the most to blame for a lot of how this site shook out, both in letting me write oddball posts for his former site 4thletter! years ago (shout out to Gavin Jasper for facilitating this because he mentioned a shitty comic and my stubborn response was “WELL I’M GOING TO BUY THAT IN A DOLLAR BIN NOW”), and in a lot of the tips he’s laid out about self-promotion and style over the years. “You can feel free to write for my site, but if you can write for me for free, you can write under your own banner for free and benefit more” comes to mind, as well as “never write anything you would be ashamed to have associated with your actual name”. Odds are good that down the line when this is settled in a little, I’ll probably be letting some friends write here too, but no aliases because, hell, that’s a decent rule.It is also part of why I’m grappling with whether or not a few pieces should go up here, because day job. Ah well, that’s for later.
Speaking of which: you can obviously tell this site is a bit slapdash at the moment. I am no web designer, and while I’m intending to tweak this into something more aesthetically pleasing, it’s gonna be slow going, and I’m just gonna thank you for the patience now. If you think this is bad, you should have seen some of the prior designs that happened along the way before I threw up my hands and went “Fuck it, WordPress here I come”. One looked like a literal vision of Hell, and I actually had to be talked out of using it by a friend. Good news: she suggested some alternate color schemes I’m going to try and implement should you find my eye for color jarring.
Other upcoming features and quality of life I’ve got planned and am going to be working on in the next week or two: tagging system (because I guarantee there are going to be people who want to turn off/easily find certain topics I write about), working on a slightly improved mobile layout (I only have my phone to test on! I’m sorry!), running anything after this post by a second person for editing and critique before it goes live so it’s a bit less rambling, and probably just a few static pages for collecting a few things, like podcast appearances. May as well have a hub for tooting my own horn.
At this point, thanks for sticking with this, and I’ve got a few things coming up soon. I know I’m known as a bit of a game dork, but the goal here is half writing dump as topics and ideas occur to me, regardless of media, and half blog-as-therapy, since just putting a lot of thoughts into words, via conversation or writing, has been a huge help for getting some of my brain problems under control in the past few years. It’ll be marked for easy passing. I’m aware those are self-indulgence. Some of the actual things to entice you to come back, though, are a years in the making deep dive into every stupid and surreal licensed title I could find, musical archaeology, and finishing a set of pieces I started on a now-deceased website years ago that I never gave up on.
In short, and I probably should have put that part first: Thanks for showing up and I hope I can keep you coming back.