What is Correspondence of Thieves?
Correspondence of Thieves originated as an email-based role-play (or e-play, as opposed to a screen-play or a radio-play) between five individuals who were dedicated fans to the PC game Thief: The Dark Project. (The original is henceforth refered to as COT-O.) The five authors took turns telling the story from the perspective of invented personal characters until a complete adventure was told, and then posted online one chapter at a time for all to enjoy.
Why was COT-O rewritten?
COT-R is being written to bring the story it to its full potential. Though exceptional for a story crafted by five authors over email, COT-O was still a very flawed work. This was made increasingly evident while writing the sequel, (Contravention of Thieves, or COT2) and developing the plot for Thief II fan-missions (The CoSaS Project) based on the characters and locations from the story. I realized that large portions of these works were dedicated to smoothing out inconsistencies and contrivances introduced by COT, and that if I was to continue down this road, I could neither ignore these issues nor go into such detail in attempts to amend them. The solution was to revise the story and craft it into a new tale, and incorporate many of the ideas I had for the sequel and the related Thief II fan-missions.
How does COT-R differ from the original?
While the principal characters retain their identities and the basic plot hits all of the same points, the paths they take differ sometimes dramatically, as does their motivations and choices. The story is still told from the perspective of the main characters, whom I am calling principals, though now there are six rather than five. In the original, there were two basic main plotlines that remained fairly distinct throughout the story. In the rewrite, there are multiple plotlines, and though each individual line is tied more intimately to the principals driving them, they weave together more strongly into a single picture. At the beginning of the story things are much the way they were at the start of the original, but from there things begin to differ, and by the final act a completely new tale will be unfolding. The pacing and the story structure has changed, with much more detail and time spent in some parts, where others are sped up or omitted completely. Many new characters are brought in, and many old minor characters are fleshed out and given new prominence and importance. Additionally, it has been written so that even those who have never heard of Thief can read and enjoy it.
How would you describe COT-R to newcomers?
It's like Thief (the PC game) meets 24 (the TV series). It's like a film-noir detective story set in an alternate reality 18th century European city, but with steam-powered technology and zombies and religious factions wielding real magical power. It's about six different people from different walks of life with very different needs and agendas, and how their stories weave together. It's social commentary mixed with horror and romance and violence and comedy. It's a thriller. It's a story where the characters are in charge and the author is along for the ride as much as the readers.
What has become of Contravention of Thieves? (COT2)
The sequel that was being written has essentially been thrown out. However, large portions of it (possibly even the majority) has been incorporated into COT-R, so very little is being lost. I have not deleted anything, and intend to use what has been written as the genesis for whatever form COT2 takes in the future, though it will not be in the forum of a Thief fanfic. I am also taking an approach to the rewrite that does not demand a sequel. Nothing is being saved, or held back, because I will “get to it in the next book”.
Who is the new principal?
Sheam, who was being written by the author Helen Vesper for COT2. Because COT2 was going to feature lengthy “flashbacks” to Sheam’s activities during COT-O, it was decided to instead actually incorporate all of that into the plot, woven tightly together rather than just tacked on.