Announcement: Big Changes

This video was really hard to make, so hard in fact that this was the third time I made it.

I’m releasing it unedited because I don’t want to keep carrying this emotional and mental weight around and I want to share with all of you what’s been going on with me.

I’m slowly transcribing it if watching a 20 minute + video isn’t your thing, but it might take a while.

Love you all,


This was a little hard to watch because I never want to see you so clearly struggling with so much. But I want to make sure you know that anything you need to do to take care of yourself and your family absolutely comes before pretty much anything else. We may love you here, but at the end of the day this is a personal project you’ve put on and not something we are owed above and beyond your health and wellbeing. So basically while my autistic brain is a little upset about changes (any changes at all, haha), I am happy that you’re starting to give yourself space and gain some clarity on all of this. It’s important. The day’s work can’t be done without time for yourself.

Love you, @CJB :purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart:


Agreed. The thing that has made this community so special, and one that I’ve held onto for so long, is the people. The Forum is a wondrous place with a beautiful story, but it is that place because of you, CJ. You need to come first.

Can’t speak for anyone else, but wherever you and your stories are going, I want them to bring you joy, and if you want to share them, you bet I’ll be there.


I’ve been so in love with this place. Despite joining this community less than a year ago, it already feels like home. The people here are amazing, and the stories told are magical! I often find myself thinking about the community and the stories and the characters even while far away from my computer. (I’m sure my friends & family are so sick of hearing me go on and on about it by now!) I feel comfortable here, and safe, and, yes, teleported to a different world. Even if the absolute worst happened and the briarverse could continue no more, the fact will always remain that you, CJ, have absolutely built something magical. Something that already has a permanent place in my heart, regardless of what happens next.

I’m sure I speak for many here when I say you’re a part of the community too, and we care about you. Your physical and mental health needs to come first, above all else. The burnout for something like this can be seriously real, and seriously harmful if left unchecked. You would not be the first interactive storyteller I know to go through organizer fatigue. If changes need to be made in order to create for you the time and space needed to take care of yourself, then they need to be made. And, at least in my experience, I have found that the stories and art I create when I am giving myself the space to live and breathe and be healthy are always pieces that I am happier with and are of higher quality than when I am just pushing myself to get to that next deadline. You are valid, and loved, and you deserve the space to be happy, and I for one cannot wait to see what you create in the future, whatever form that may take. Meanwhile, you’ll always have people here who have your back. If there’s anything this community can do for you to help out, I’m pretty sure we’d all very happily do what we can!

Also, if my opinion means anything, I would totally be interested in a book from you seperate from the briarverse. Outside of potentially giving you the breathing room and break you need to recover from the burnout, it sounds super interesting and you have me intrigued!


I’ve been around in some form another for a long time! SO hearing that you’re planning to make some changes is really exciting (nervewracking but exciting).
I mainly lurk but the community is so so lovely, and the world is utterly magical. I truely love it here. The Briarverse is one of the only series that I’ve super gotten into since finishing my Lit Degree. Also, so down to read a non briarverse book from you. I don’t know what that would be like and that’s really exciting.
I wouldn’t normally give advice but as you asked for it towards the end of the video. The thing I was thinking about while watching was about the sustainability to of business and yourself. I used to be really into this podcast called the seanwes podcast. It covers all aspects of creative business ventures and how to create a sustainable creativity based business. I dont know if it would fit your philosophy on running a company but hearing how people do really well as a small creative business could help decide what direction your career takes.
I also just want to say thank you, you are without a doubt one of the most genuine, honest creators on the internet and it’s been a pleasure being on this journey with you.
I’ll still be around but, Good luck! :two_hearts: :revolving_hearts: :two_hearts:


This forum, these people you’ve gathered, and at the center of it all your writing and the world you’ve created have been such bright spots for me in some really challenging times. It’s so much easier said than done, but putting yourself, your well-being, and your family first is so so important, and I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must be to have a passion tied so closely to a project as yours is to this. Whatever the path is from here, I’m so excited to see it (which I mean in the least pressure-inducing way possible). Whether that’s more Briarverse or other writing or RPG games or a line of candles or something else entirely.

I sincerely hope you find your joy again…whatever you do next year or in coming years, I hope it is always with joy.

:purple_heart: :purple_heart: :purple_heart:


CJ, thank you so much for sharing all of the complicated feelings and pressures you’ve been facing - the past year and a half, let alone the last five years, have brought new changes to all of our lives and I appreciate all of your effort to try and provide a safe place for all of us to spend our time and escape (if that’s what we’re looking for here). But as you and others have noted, you need to take care of (and be taken care of) yourself. If that means stepping back the narrative involvement of the forum, then that is more than okay, especially if the work you are doing now doesn’t always bring you great joy. Change can be good, even as it is stressful, and I know it will be better for you and the community, too :purple_heart:

I’ve been in the community for over four years now - with varying amounts of involvement - but I have always been struck by how much you do for us. This is the only fandom I have been deeply committed to and a key part of that is the community that you have built here. But that work is - and you don’t need to hear this from me because you live it - hard. And while I appreciated that you do not want to lay any blame on us as the community, I think it is also important not to blame yourself too much. Sometimes, there are things that you cannot control and that’s okay, but it’s important to make sure you still aren’t blaming yourself for these things that you don’t control.

Hopefully, the coming year will give you the space you need to find what your next steps are - I think we’d all be delighted to see what you do, whether that’s another Briarverse book or something new but still totally, definitively you. We’re here for you :purple_heart:


The first thing I’m going to do is ditto everyone else. If you don’t take care of yourself & family, then the BV had no chance. And I really want it to survive. I was in college from 1998 - 2003 & spent most of my evenings (and quite a few days if my gpa is to tell you anything) on sites like Neopets & Gaia Online & the like, building community within the world we shared. Frankly, until I met my now-wife in 2008 & no longer has evenings & weekends free, I stayed active, and have since lamented that loss.

Then I found this site & these books, and that all came back with a new world, a world supplements by BOOKS and an opportunity to be an active player in those books. I’m hooked & in for the long haul.

But, and you asked for our input, so I’ll be honest, one of my challenges has been consistency in content. Life happens & I don’t blame or begrudge. In fact, I like the breaks except that I feel panic when everything is happening all at once and we need to solve the puzzle right now or everything goes kablooey. I have 2 jobs, a wife & a 4 year old, so I become complacent here while life happens, then feel like I’m letting everyone down by not being present in either world the way that I want to be.

All that to say, I think the idea of holding off on IATC is a great idea–finish it properly & without rush, create marketing & build-up to it’s release. WE, the Briars, know what happened (ish) so we can spend the next year interacting with a story that is less pressured, more world-building & establishing connections with the Mountaineers (I miss Lions Heart), who are the next-level of people who are already willing to buy the books & content. The BV is in peril, we know that & are working to combat the bad guys, but even they have to sleep sometimes :grin: Let yourself sleep, let’s actually build those timelines & all that none of us have had time for, create opportunities for all of us to remember & explore. Let newbies have time to explore & interact in a way that they don’t feel “behind.”

The great stories never end, and this is a great story. But one problem I’ve always had with stories is that they have a trajectory & we don’t get to know what happens after the main characters have left a scene. I want to know what’s next; not only for Endri et al, but Alis & Ben, Marjorie, the other Six, Lions Heart, Reader, even Catherine, Deidre & Cole, King Rabbit, all the characters we’ve ever met. I know you can’t write all of that & I don’t expect you to, I’m more illustrating the fact that we as participants can have a wonderful & satisfying immersive experience without the need for a million puzzles & deadlines.

I hope that made sense, I’m typing on my train home from work fighting off potential motion sickness because telling you how much you & this means to me is more important than a possible headache.


I’ve spent the last several hours since watching this trying to think of a way to say that I can commiserate on being wiped out by something that has otherwise been enjoyable (though not this), and can’t really think of a way to say it. But yeah, am also in the always tired club. If we find the time, maybe there’ll be tshirts. :sweat_smile:

I forget exactly when you mentioned it, but you definitely threw out there the idea of it being nice to have a TBS storyline that was more lighthearted/not “do the thing or the world explodes,” and I’m fairly certain that all present at the time were totally into the idea.

But yeah, I may have stumbled into this place later than I’d intended all these years ago for the puzzles, but I’m not going anywhere. Not enough time in the day to make other friends. :eaveshug:


At 12:12 there’s a moment of such beautiful clarity. “I tell stories. That’s what I love doing.” The look on your face is (in my opinion anyway) so pure and earnest that I wish it could be bottled. I want one day for you to be able to post a 25 minute video with just that look, talking about all the joy you get from what you are doing. I want that for you more than almost anything.

I remember all the puzzles, the assessments, the easter egg lines thrown in that pay off years later. They all provided so much nourishment to my logical brain. They gave me what I wanted…

But more importantly you gave me what I needed. I remember moments of talking to npc’s on the forum, Endri being stuck at her Grandparents over the holidays talking about emojis. I remember dozens of hours of people obsessing about how awesome the Cagliostro was to the point of writing fanfiction. I remember the joy of getting back in contact with Spiritseer. I remember getting to learn about topics I’d never seek out: languages, history, folklore, bees. Most of all I remember a place you let me post my inane commentary and random thoughts and humoring me as a friend. Thank you for that.

If the puzzles, and the urgency, and the complexity all went away, honestly I’d live. If the moments of connection, and humor, and joy went away…then I couldn’t describe how sad I’d be. So if all this leads to you doing more of what you love…of what we all love…I couldn’t be happier.


So many have already said it, but hopefully that will just help reassure you that we’re all on the same page with you: Take care of you first. Your personal health and happiness are more important than having a huge dramatic story to be part of all the time. I think Robert said it best that what truly makes this community as special as it is isn’t the puzzles and the stories themselves, but your personality that you put into them, so if you have to pull back from the stories in order to help yourself then I’d much rather you do that. I certainly don’t mind getting to see more of you as an author outside of the story.

No matter where this goes I’ll definitely be following it, because I’ve been part of this community during some of the most important parts of my life so far, and I’m extremely grateful for all the people I’ve met here.


First and foremost, taking care of yourself is the best thing not only for you, but your content as well.
Don’t ever be hard on yourself for taking care of yourself.

Changes happen and it’s something that this year alone has had a major effect on myself. I was pulled into many scenario’s that I never thought I would be in, but here I am.
Now if the changes are good or bad, that can only come with time. I believe, as we see just in this thread, that the community is behind you with this and if you need to take time to do whatever you need, go do it.


I just wanted to thank you all for your very kind words here, on PMs, and via email. They were all really encouraging and helpful. Every day I get more and more excited about next year and what’s to come. Thank you. :cjheart:


You’ve done great with what you’ve been given, CJB. You’ve worked hard for many, many years, and you deserve the ability to step back and take a hard look at things. ive been keeping an eye regardless and i know many others will be too. Hang in there, make the decisions you have to make, and ill see you on the flipside.


There is by far something special here, that pulls and pulls day and night to many people, visible or known to you or not. I have hope with you and fight our ever waning time , as valuable as it is. Its been hard for me like many to keep a presence here at times, but the feeling in the background is real. This found me, yes ill say it that way, found me through social media for no reason that I could find, just came across the stream mixed in with a thousand other things , keep pushing the social media as I can attest to it working in my case. As for a future, all of ours is uncertain but from the dark to the light, we should welcome it all and use it to better ourselves. Its funny, a year and a half in and I’m still not sure what I am doing, or why I am here, but I am. Proof that something undefined is gently drawing us in, and or keeping us here.


So I had this post drafted up when this was originally announced and completely forgot to post it :man_facepalming: I’m not sure if thoughts are as relaavant at this point, but I’ll leave them as anyway lol

Despite having been apart of the Briarverse for 4 and a half years, I’ve never managed to engage as much as I would like here on the forums, stemming mostly from a lack of mental capacity and time, compounded by my rather severe anxiety. Even so, the tapestry of the universe you have created is as amazing as this community is. I’ll always be the first to tell you to prioritize your own wellbeing while steadfastly ignoring my own advice, something that seems to be fairly common, so forgive me for repeating what has been said already in brief. You can’t fullfill your passion and creativity if you don’t take care of yourself first. Those of us that are active or not that love what you have created will still be around, no matter how long it takes for you to build the next phase of your story.

That out of the way, you asked for feedback and I have some that may seem a little strange but I think exploring it could be very beneficial. The first piece I have is to look at, of all things, Destiny and the seasonal narratives that Bungie has been telling over the 2-3 years. It may just be me, but there are some strong parallels with the sort of storytelling they have been doing and what you have done and seem to want to do in the future. Bungie has leveraged a very unique set of tools to weave several different forms of story together to create layers of narratives. The story you are trying to tell is more interactive then the story they are telling, which creates its own set of challenges, but I think examining both the tools they have been using and the cadence they have been applying to those seasonal stories, could help you improve the framework you are using.