That’s the working title for my NaNo. “Instability“, that is. (Link only works if you can sign in to NaNo, sadly. 😦 ) It’s the First Contact / undercover cop story that I discussed earlier, and I have begun my research and been collecting my ideas in earnest! It will probably take up much of my already shrinking spare time, with the result that this blog will likely either go somewhat dark over November, or, perhaps more likely, become filled with random updates on the Solar Police and the state of interstellar politics. So stay tuned for that, but probably not for much else!
I don’t think my writing process has really changed all that much, but the longer I keep doing this, the more of what was once subconscious becomes accessible to my conscious mind. The old “I have a feeling this is going somewhere” or “This isn’t going to work out” feelings about things I was writing — which were usually pretty accurate; it’s not that I was any more wrong than usual — have become steadily more nuanced until I’ve started to be able to unpack them into why.
Take Dayna, for example. She’s now rapidly pulling ahead in the NaNo stakes, because realising that I needed to do First Contact, well, first spurred me on to finally think about and start to untangle all the various aspects of the First Contact story, and that, like designing the blueprints for a building, is letting me see at least some of what this construction could look like — and what it could look like is good.
[[Spoilers, spoilers.]] Continue reading
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!
On one level, that seems a little silly to say. After all, every month is a writing month now! On the other hand, the rather specific challenge of November is, at this point, a long-running tradition. It’s how the first draft of BtSF got finished. It’s the time in the year when something like 80% of any given book of mine was first written. And, of course, I’m going to keep doing it — which means something else is going to suddenly get a rocket boost.
The question is, what?
I have a lot of stories to write, a lot of tales to tell. I seem to add to the mountain ahead faster than I can climb it, which I don’t really mind considering it is a mountain of piled-up awesomeness. Or at least, it is to me. Opinions may vary. In any case, it’s now definitely time to be thinking about what I’m going to do over November. And that’s a harder decision.
I was going to write Arres’ story, one I’ve had kicking around for a long time and never done anything with. But that story has slammed straight into another one and the second one will overrule it without ever meaning to. Because of structure, because of shape, because of the characters — Arres is going to have to work very, very hard to become someone who can stay afloat at all. So, maybe I should go watch him work, throw rocks at him and see if he makes it, because Book 2 will be the handover point if he does, where he meets… well.
Or maybe I should just do what I’ve been meaning to for over a year and write the story of Dayna Kingsley of the Solar Police, but last time I meant to do that I got totally sidetracked by a very detailed dream and ended up writing AIN instead. That happens a lot, actually. Dreams that become books, I mean. For all I know it will happen again in the upcoming month, and I’ll find myself writing something completely different.
But it would be nice to get Arres to a point where he could hold his own in that other tale. After all, it was his world to begin with, born of yet another dream I had. That second story could go elsewhere, its heart comes from elsewhere, and though it fits very, very well in his world, rooting it properly will be complex.
And I really must stop forgetting that I absolutely have to second-draft the first part of Reclamation, as well as find a good spot for it to end… (There will be a sequel: Reclamation is getting awfully long and looks likely to need to be two books.)
So: writing! Let’s get busy!
(Stalk my November progress over here on NaNoWriMo.org, when the site’s yearly update goes live sometime in October. Right now it’s still showing last year’s novel.)
Ian is the main character in AIN, our sometimes reluctant hero. More than almost anything else, he wants to live a life of peace and safety, no longer having to worry about losing his life or those of his friends. For a while, he thinks he’s found it, until the scout party he’s on is horribly slaughtered, leaving him as the only survivor. Looking for shelter, he unconsciously returns to the same building he took refuge in as a child, years ago… and once again hears the same female voice.
This time, Ain asks for his help. She has a plan to restore the world to a greener state, but she can’t do it alone. And as much as he wants to return home, to say no would be to let her die. Though it could cost him his life in more ways than one, he agrees.
The next two decades of Ian’s life will be spent travelling across the island once known as Great Britain, searching out lost technology and the tools to craft it, finding allies and enemies in the unlikeliest places, until at last the day comes when everything he and Ain have risked so much for is on the line…
It seems it’s been so long since I had the focus to spare to write here that I actually failed to update all NaNo! You guys know what this means, right? It means I get to talk about something new!
I had a plan for November, I really, really did. I was going to write about Dayna Kingsley of the Solar Police, and how she ends up in the future, and what happened to the crew of the derelict spaceship (spoiler: they were not eaten by aliens), and who that weird species with guns are and what they want, and why she seemed to be cured but is getting sicker by the day, and how she’s going to get a misfit bunch of survivors like herself to safety before they all quite possibly die. It was good, it made sense, it had its own little spot in my 4,000-year Federation timeline…
And then I had this dream.
You may have gathered, if you’re one of the poor souls who’ve followed this on-again-off-again blog for some time, that that happens a lot. (And also that I have really coherent, film-like dreams that I always thought were normal but which most of my friends assure me are anything but.) It was involved, and vivid, and impressive, and really emotionally charged in places, and I debated with myself for a bit and lost. So I ended up writing that for NaNo instead. In following entries (ones that aren’t about Lindsi), I’ll explain some more…
Well, NaNo has now come and gone, and short of time travel, those last 4,000 words didn’t get done under the limit. In all the years I’ve been doing it, this is the first time I’ve fallen short — but the reason was Aetherlight, so this is also the first time I don’t actually really mind. Aetherlight is an amazing reason for pretty much anything!
I shall continue with the time travellers, and I shall continue updating about them, but now is the time to also begin returning to the adventures of the Fused, as I’ve had your next update bouncing around in my head for the last month! I need to get my watch fixed, so it may or may not actually be posted today, but check back soon to finally find out what happens to Lindsi next!
You can probably tell from the title that this post is basically going to start with the words “oh dear…”
So my lovely, idiot chrononauts are arguing. Again. Aria spotted Dallas feeling guilty and called him on it, and he admitted he deliberately changed the future again. So she yelled at him (wouldn’t you?), and, well…
“So the future’s already changed! And even if it wasn’t, maybe it ought to!”
“It’s not our place to decide that, Dallas!”
“Then whose is it?”
Aria was silent for a moment, only a moment. “Theirs! The people who actually live in this time! It’s their decisions that should shape the future, not some lost chrononaut with a god complex!”
In the end, she said if he kept this up then she was going to stop him no matter what, and he called her the mirage again, meaning she was here to kill him, and ran away. Derp. He’s currently still running and feeling guilty and conflicted about it, and she’s still running after him and feeling massively overburdened and conflicted by it. Saving the future from the nutcase she’s spent all this time trying to save did just land squarely on her shoulders, after all.
I think it’s Arc 4 we’re nearly into now, but I’ve kind of lost count of the numbers. The future is shifting further and further, and as Chronos gets further from its original starting point, the alterations it can handle get larger and larger. Soon Aria and Dallas won’t just have each other to contend with…
It happened! After a bunch of word sprints and a race in which my friend Duck beat me by 40 of my words. (We run at a multiplier because I type faster.) I clearly haven’t done enough word racing this year!
Anyway, *ominous voice* as previously foretold… yep, Aria and Dallas have been shot at by the crooks, chased, and either killed or severely injured. Or… y’know, not. Because what happened was that they experienced it, or thought that they did, then snapped back to right before it happened. Whatever “it” was. (Mostly getting shot, so far.) Like sensible extremely confused people, they then proceeded to do something else, and therefore survived.
They’ve now escaped once again, and Aria’s talking to Chronos (Dallas still can’t) about what just happened, which Chronos is explaining as ‘permitting localised deconvergence in order to establish a more favourable large-scale convergence’, and which she’s currently trying to interpret to Dallas.
Also I got closer to the line than I’ve been before this month, which was nice. Maybe I can make it after all… (Though it does have to be by the 28th, due to the last two days of the month being pretty much entirely taken up by other awesome things that will not permit much writing time. Sooo… erk? However, I have never lost a NaNo and I will not lose now! Determination!)