Originally published at: The Making of The Monarch Papers - Episode Four A - Ackerly Green
Here’s the first half of an epic two-parter all about Brandon Lachmann, Shard City, our first Live Events, and the first Assessment!
This weeks show notes come from dear reader, Viviane!
This episode deals with the first half of the only four-part fragment, Siren’s Lace. Originally named Harpy’s Lace, Fragment Four saw several new narrative developments, including the concept of creating magic by creating a story, and the introduction of a group known as “The Devoted” who became the first real antagonists of the Mountaineers. (Simon also reveals a fun fact about the leader of the Devoted and her surprising connection to Beyonce.)
The group recalls how growing readership affected the design of the puzzles in this fragment. Concerns that readers would complete tasks too quickly ended up creating puzzles that were too difficult instead. The massive amount of content in the fragment challenged both readers and creators with puzzle fatigue. The creators also discovered that introducing “flavoring” materials during a puzzle that played no part in the puzzle’s solution proved confusing, rather than intriguing, for readers.
In explaining Fragment Four, the group also breaks down some of the most unique puzzles in the entirety of The Monarch Papers. Tasks the readers completed during the fragment’s first half included re-assembling the pieces of a “proto-futuristic Blade Runner” RPG with Steampunk elements, creating original art, and finding a mapped location using directional audio tones. CJ also recalls how the first live events brought their own set of challenges, including scheduling, Central Park at night, spiders’ nests, and observant readers catching inconsistencies on camera.