The Dustin Final Project Book Plan

Final Project Book Plan
Dustin Fisher

I was motivated by a project we saw in our first class done by Kimberley Lynne. She made playing cards with laminated sheets of paper and had them in a pouch. By design, her cards were intentionally able to be thrown around and read however the reader wanted to. Or something like that. I liked the idea of making my own deck of cards from the very beginning, with the subject matter being something that had to do with poker (or cards in general).

I thought it would be awesome if I made up a mystery that could be put together with clues given by every card. I also thought that would be really hard. I settled on my first idea, which was to make a “choose your own adventure” type of story in which you would be sent from one card to another to continue the story. THEN, I came up with the idea that this could be a hand of poker and every card you’d be sent to would be the next card you would draw. So the cards you would be holding would actually be your hand. Or something like that.

But that meant writing A LOT of story. Thankfully, the gimmicky process of writing a CYOA book in very short format wouldn’t be that hard. Or so I thought. It turns out being clever is a tough thing to sustain over 52 playing cards, regardless of whether there’s a formula to follow or not. Also, I realized there isn’t really a formula to follow like I had hoped. Or rather, if there is, I don’t know it. So I’ll be writing a lot in the next few weeks.

There are plenty of ways to accomplish what I want to accomplish. I could print these all on card stock and cut them to size and call it a day. But you might not actually be able to shuffle and play with them, which is of relative importance. I could print them on Xerox paper and laminate them like Kimberley did. But you might not actually be able to shuffle and play with them. Maybe if I rounded the corners. But that’s a lot of meticulous precision. Or a lot of cards not shaped the same, which would likely affect their action, to borrow a music phrase. So those options are Plans B and C (not sure which is which).

Plan A came when talking with a buddy of mine about the project. He’s a gamer type who has looked into printing his own cards before. In fact, he gave away playing cards for his wedding. But that didn’t even come up in this conversation and wasn’t though about until later. We talked about card stock and rounded edges and he mentioned there was a place where you could make your own deck of cards for about $90 per deck, provided you sent them the artwork. But I don’t have that kind of money and I don’t think that’s what this class is about. So I went trolling for playing cards that had interesting backs I could use and I would just glue my artwork to the front. I had done this before to make my own Magic cards. Unfortunately, that proved to be about impossible.

That’s when I remember John’s wedding playing cards. I went looking online for a place that would print regular playing cards with specialized backs. Turns out I can get them for about $15 each. I can afford that. Also, they have jumbo cards as an option, which is good because the amount of text I’m writing may not comfortably fit on a normal-sized playing card. I need to solidify the artwork for that before I can order those, which is the first step of the physical process. Speaking of which, here is my production schedule, followed by my proposed materials and explanation of pricing:


Production Schedule

4/4:        Production schedule proposed
4/5:        Finish cover art
4/6:        Order four decks of cards
4/7:        Finish writing at least 26 cards
4/7:        Complete alpha artwork for card front
4/8:        Print and test one card on existing deck of jumbo cards
4/9:        Finish putting all 26 cards into print-ready format
4/10:      Print and paste other 25 cards, along with artwork on back
4/11:      Turn in half mockup
4/14:      Have other 26 cards written
4/18:      Complete all changes in card artwork
4/18:      Finish cover artwork
4/21:      Have all 52 cards printed and pasted on one deck
4/25:      Turn in one-page progress report
4/25:      Turn in complete mockup
5/2:        Present books in class
5/2:        Turn in one copy of book
5/2:        Turn in two-page self-evaluation
5/3:        Enjoy a two-beer night with my wife after Mabel goes to sleep


Proposed Materials

  • Four decks of regular playing cards with specialized backs ($15/each = $60)
  • Xerox paper
  • Glue

I imagine charging $25/copy of my book to cover expenses and time, and because it serves a function other than being a piece of art, and I feel that may attract people to pay a higher price. If my book catches fire (with sales), I feel that $10 for ordering more cards and gluing 52 apiece plus the cover is sufficient. Maybe.


Project Future

In the future, I hope to possibly turn this into a franchise of different CYOA cards. For this first deck, Caught Cheatin, the main character (“you”) are caught by the husband of a woman you were having relations with and he challenges you to a hand of poker for your life. From there, a number of things could happen ranging from your bloody death to you being an undercover cop to alien abduction (still alpha testing). I rather enjoy the tagline “If you play your cards right, you just might get out alive.” I also thought about having a deck devoted to a game of strip poker and selling them together (“If you play your cards right, you just might get lucky”). But not now. That seems a bit much for this final project.


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