atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#5797: Encouraged again by what I'm reading

So, over the past couple of nights I've been reading Apocalyptic Visions from the beginning of the space war onward. I've got a few things I'm trying to sort out.

Originally, between the end of part one and the beginning of part two, I put a four-month hiatus and picked up the action in December (after leaving off in August). Problem is, that didn't make sense when you considered where the narration was picking up. But moving the date up a few months screwed with some of the exposition at the end of part one.

I spent some time trying to fix it, trying to decide which way was better, then gave up and changed it back to having it pick up about where it left off. You know what? I decided. Screw it. People are smart enough to figure out what I'm doing here. Sure, the narration talks about what happened over the next four months, and then I go right on with the narrative from where I left off--but sometimes a little background doesn't hurt anything, and I'm not giving away the candy store by letting the reader know this is the denouement for that situation before moving on to building up the next crisis.

It figures in what happens next, anyway. If it takes these guys four months to patch their ships together enough to GTFO the solar system--well, it's going to be a major plot point. And I'm also filing it under "setting", because this way it's stated explicitly what's happening globally (galactically?) in the background.

I'm rereading it to make sure all this fits together. But more importantly, rereading it reinforces my feeling that I'm writing a good story, here. I get to this or that event in the story, and think, Yeah, that's cool! and want to read the paragraph aloud to my wife, who doesn't know anything about the story other than that I'm writing it, only to realize that without any context she wouldn't understand what's so cool about what I'd just read to her (and "I wish you'd finish the one about the cat!" is her usual comment anyway).

Second chapter of part two begins by pretty much laying out who the villain is, here, but it also lets the reader know the answers to some of the unanswered questions left from the first part, long before the protagonists in the story will.

I'm a big fan of always answering the questions posed in my stories...eventually. It's part of my philosophy that other than the eternal questions, there's nothing we can't figure out sooner or later. (And in fact "the eternal questions" turn out not to be so eternal, either.) The pact I make with my readers is pretty simple: everything that I do, no matter how nonsensical, has an explanation, and you will know what that explanation is sooner or later, as long as you keep reading. Maybe not in the same book in which it appears, but there will be an answer in the narrative somewhere.

Splitting it into three books is still not off the table. If part two turns out to be as lengthy as part one was, I'll have to, because part three will be still more story.

One of my friends from high school commented, once, on how writers of SF and fantasy tend towards epics, rather than individual novels.

In the sober light of adulthood, I realize that he's right, but also why he was right. You spend a lot of time on building a world--a universe in which a story takes place--and it naturally leads you to think about other stories set there. But moreso, if you love stories, the first story you write makes you wonder about other stories in the same setting--and leads you to write stories set in that milieu until and unless you finish it off.

For this world I write in, there is a progression of events, and counting the unusuable dreck I've written around a dozen stories in it, about seven of which are novels; the rest of them are anthologies of short stories and novellas. They all fit in the same timeline. Everything I've written that takes place prior to AV is pretty much garbage as written; the plot points are good but the writing is complete trash, and for the most part that material won't see the light of day. One story from that set is slated to be written as soon as I figure out how to write it. The others--we'll see.

Pretty much, it turns out to be an epic. And now it looks as if AV is turning into a mini-epic inside an epic.


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