My current options for November are:
- Arres. According to my records, his story first appeared in April 2011, in a dream I had. It was subsequently built on a little while listening to music in my parents’ car (Uriah Heep: Circle of Hands), and was the brief subject of a collaboration in an attempt to figure out how the heck he gets from his home village to, well, anywhere interesting, really. The biggest roadblock with Arres is that his motivations start out relatively small (find his father, find out why he left him this crazy scabbard tattoo thing) and have to be dragged somehow to something larger.
- Dayna, and how she ended up in the future. Dayna has been around since… hmm, actually, since the original Hero Machine, a character creator I once found on the Interwebs. I created her there and she promptly grew a story, personality, and so on, and I don’t think I even have records for when she began, beyond that a couple of my image files for her were last modified in May 2003. She’s a Martian-born space cop in the late 2100s, the era of humanity’s First Contact in my Galactic Federation timeline. When a horrible plague breaks out on Mars, she’s eventually infected. The Galactic Federation offer their aid, but one of their hospital ships goes astray and is lost in deep space for several hundred years… until it’s found by a particularly hostile and remorseless species, who wake the stasis-preserved passengers for bioweapons research.
- Cleris, and what it really means to have wild, imagination-limited magic in the world. I may be happy with Mysteries Unite as a piece of writing, but I was never quite happy with myself for writing it. It did its job — it won me a writing competition in 2007 (for which I never did get my prize: the prize was 2kg of chocolate and the exec ate it before the meeting in which I would have got it!) — and it was an interesting way to write, and it worked very well. But as the short story stands, it’s antithetical to everything I am and everything I stand for. It says this world, this wonderful, incredible world, isn’t beautiful. It says the fathomless mystery and majesty of the universe is worthless. And so I determined to fix it, somehow. In the end, I realised, it would take a book. A book for which the original Mysteries Unite was just a prologue. A book that would end in a truly heart-wrenching choice…
- Tsien, and how she and Siris won the war. At the other end of humanity’s part in the Federation’s timeline (it goes back to long before our First Contact!), the galaxy has been plunged into cataclysmic war. Tsien and her siblings are the culmination of three hundred years (Earth time) of research by the brightest minds in the Federation. If they can’t win the war, civilisation as we know it will die.
- Kirai, and the half of his story that doesn’t exist yet, a tale actually born out of a Waterstones competition to fit a short story on a large postcard in 2008. He’s the one who’s since got the furthest without participating in any writing challenges, and much of his tale already exists, at least up to the point where there’s a rather unfortunately fateful family encounter. The second half, however, doesn’t, and could really use my going on with it – I got to the point where all the truly huge conflicts were set up and poised to snowball, and then got distracted.
So there you have it. There are more, lots more, but I think a shortlist of five is more than enough for me to choose from. (There is a sixth option, which is “whatever I dream in between now and then”, but that’s quite beside the point.)
Questions or suggestions? Sling them at me in the comments! I’m happy to expand on any and all of the above!