Marc Laidlaw

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About Me

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Marc Laidlaw

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What I Write

Writing Sample

Brief excerpt from the work in progress, the first novel-length adventure of Gorlen Vizenfirthe:


Gorlen’s frustrating encounter with mud the previous day had forced the party to abandon the direct approach and proceed east along the altered shore. In this direction lay Muud, a spa town whose name was synonymous with mud. Famed for the fantastic quality, variety, and viscosity of the local ooze, Muud’s name had recently been shortened from the more unwieldy “Muuuud” at the behest of several prominent merchants who were tired of spelling (or misspelling) it in every advertisement. According to a scholarly plaque mounted in the marketplace, which went into great detail on the matter, even “Muuuud” was derived from a far more ancient cognate: “Muuuuuuuuuuuud.”

What I Write

For a couple decades, I worked as a writer in the game industry, helping create the Half-Life games, as well as the recent Valve version of Dota.


Prior to that, I wrote mainly prose. Lots of short stories and half a dozen novels. In 2016, I self-assembled my stories into a Kindle-only collection called 400 Boys and 50 More. My novels are also available for Kindle in self-published editions.



Of possible interest, last year’s Write-a-Thon project is now complete:


My Write-a-thon Goals

Writing Goals

For a few decades, I have been slowly writing the episodic adventures of Gorlen Vizenfirthe, the bard with a gargoyle hand. What I thought, and told everyone, was the last of these stories appeared in F&SF in 2017 under the title “Stillborne.”


No sooner had I published “Stillborne” than I started thinking about finally doing a Gorlen novel, and this book is now well underway. I’ve got 30,000 words of the first draft, and lately I’ve been making steady progress. My goal is to finish a draft this year, bringing it in around 80,000 words.

I’ll post about my progress here, and maybe post occasional excerpts, although I’m shy of spoilers. For that matter, the novel is going to be a bit spoilery for those who haven’t read “Stillborne.”


As an aside, thanks in part to last year’s Write-a-Thon, I finished and published the Frankenstein book I was working on at the time. The Write-a-Thon really helped me get over the hump!

Fundraising Goals

I used to visit the Clarion West workshop once a summer and talk with the students for an afternoon about writing–specifically, writing for games. Since I don’t live in the area anymore, and don’t write for games, this seems like an appropriate way to contribute toward Clarion West’s ongoing success.


Disclaimer: I am not a Clarion West student, never attended or taught there. I just think it’s a wonderful program. Many of my friends and favorite writers have benefited from it. A few of these have even gone on to success in the game industry!

My Progress

2018 WRITE-A-THON UPDATE #3 (7/9/18):

Several days ago, I finished the first draft of Under the Oversea. Typodometer rolled just past 70,000 words before I typed The End. The draft has gone out to a few first-readers, and I’m going to let it sit for a bit. That was my write-a-thon goal and I’ve now got a couple weeks of family stuff ahead of me, so I probably won’t be updating much.

I do have an introduction to write for a friend’s upcoming novel, and may decide to tackle a short story or something while the book marinates, in which case I will post some new progress reports.

2018 WRITE-A-THON UPDATE #2 (6/23/18):

I seem to have missed making a show out of the beginning of the Write-a-thon, but I have been writing all the same.


My project this year is a novel, Under the Oversea, being the first novel-length adventure of Gorlen Vizenfirthe. It is a more or less direct sequel to the last Gorlen novelette, “Stillborne.” Gorlen the Bard, Spar the Gorgoyle, Plenth the Other Bard, Sprit the Songwood, No Other Bards But A Bird Named Sir Pet, and several others who can’t be named without somewhat spoiling things.

As of today, the novel is about 52,000 words. I’m trying to write at least 1,000 words a day, and more if I can manage. It’s been going better than expected.

I have been posting little snippets of WIP on my Instagram account, but not consistently, since again…I’m wary of spoiling things for the few who might actually care. I hope to finish a first draft this summer and so far I am on track to accomplish that.

My Instagram account is here:

2018 WRITE-A-THON UPDATE #1 (6/6/18):

Joined the Write-a-Thon.


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