Worlds Without End

There are two types of writers….

Those who think there are two types of writers, and those who don’t.

For the record I’m the second kind. It’s not just that I think there are many ways of constructing tribal lays — as the possessor of a career (as a pro, not counting apprenticeship) which would now be legal to drink hard liquor (Hey, what do you know? Silver anniversary coming up in a few months and 4 years. I’d best pencil that in to get uproariously drunk, since my career is like one of those bad marriages. Coff. “I wish I knew how to quit it.” Well, less so now, but still. For most of it, it’s been…. Well, trad pub is an abusive spouse, even at its best.) I’ve experienced every possible way.

I’ve written books with meticulous outlines (Very bizarrely those are the ones people complain about lack of plotting, partly because I had the entire plot in front of me and never thought to foreshadow.

I’ve been what people call a discovery writer, and written into the unknown, and trusted (Ah, like I do) the plot to reveal itself.

I’ve written with the book dictating itself in my head all the way and knowing precisely tot he word what came next.

But it’s more than that. I’ve been the writer where I had more ideas than I knew what to do with, and the writer who stared at the page, and couldn’t think of a single thing to write (usually on deadline, for a themed anthology, of course.)

Mostly though, I’m the writer with an excess of worlds.

This serves, kind of, as an excuse not to have posted yesterday. You see, I live in ten or twelve worlds at once, so I forgot which world it was Wednesday on.

Okay, joke. But also kind of true.

As for the worlds? Well, I have about five distinct universes in my mind right now, not counting the mysteries. It’s getting crowded in there.

And I’m trying to get them out, I swear. Health (I FINALLY have eye appointment today), moving and unpacking aren’t helping.

But we’ll get this done and quickly.

First, to get Bowl of Red out and Re-issue the past Darkships. And then …. and then we’ll see.

But hey, progress is being made, house is getting set up and today — pauses to admire her own achievement — I cleaned the kitchen. (Yes, I want a medal. There were things….)

Now if the world could stop going insane, it would help me get stuff done.

Yeah…. I know I dream a lot.

Write your worlds when you can, for there will surely be times you can’t.

Go write.

35 comments

  1. I’m thiiiiis close to tidying up chapter 9 and a plot thread that I’ve been sitting on for at least a week now. As with nigh everything I write, it isn’t coming out on the page like I expected it to. Not always a bad thing. I didn’t expect to be writing zombies in space when I scribbled something out a couple of weeks ago. Certainly didn’t expect to be still writing zombies in space two weeks later. And definitely not in first person (I almost have an allergy to writing 1p. Why am I doing this?).

    But the words are going onna page and the plot is advancing. I’m probably going to get myself into trouble someday with throwing my character into combat or flight whenever the plot seems likely to slow down. That, and the protagonist is so damned curious I need to keep a running tab of what he’s wondering about so I can cheat and say I’m foreshadowing later on, rather than dribbling dangling plot threads all over the place.

    This is the first story I’ve had in a while that doesn’t have a plot already. Well, not as such. I don’t really know what’s going to happen next except rarely. This seat of the pants stuff is weird. I keep expecting to write myself into a corner.

      1. For the back-of -the-cover blurb:

        Doctor Abraham Henry Zolnikov has spent the last seven years isolated in his orbital laboratory, watching the Earth below descend into chaos. A biological virus combined with a nanite digital virus have combined to create flesh eating, mindless abominations that hunt all other living things for food. As far as he knows, he is the last living human in the entire solar system.

        Then one day the power begins to fail on the space station he’s called home for over a decade. Stepping outside the lab will be risky. But remaining means certain death. The good doctor is a curious man, however. If he manages to survive, who knows what hidden secrets he will discover?

    1. I wonder if I should rewrite that one working on into first person? The rest have all been in third person omniscient, but this one in particular is not.

      Two of the characters have a giant turducken of lies going on, so I absolutely cannot show what they’re thinking. So it is all set from one character’s perspective, and spends a lot of time in their head.

      Just bolting the view to their eyeballs may actually clear up a lot of the clunkyness I’ve been running into. Of course that’s another challenge. The character is a girl, who is a girl, and I need to write it with her voice for it to work. And she’s going through a *lot* of emotions of all types.

      1. Third person does not necessarily mean omniscient in every case. You can write third with your PoV firmly set over one character’s shoulder, viewing the world through their eyes. This allows you to deceive, as that character does not *know* that certain things ain’t so. I tend to find 3p omniscient very useful for grand strategies and space opera, but plain old third works well enough for following just one character’s voice as well, I think.

        Whatever the story demands, though. Sometimes you have to just follow the path it leads you on. Other times, you’re hacking your way through the deep jungle with a dull machete following the scent of smoke. You could make that section a sort of “dear diary” or a series of letters to a friend or something like, if that suits. First person has a rep for being easy to do poorly, but it *can* be done well. Give the gal her head, and see where it takes you. Even if you don’t end up using it as is, sometimes that stuff is gold for book bible source material.

        1. True that. This one I have been writing third person, but with only her thoughts, and limited to what she specifically sees and is aware of. But because some of this is stretches of her just doing stuff on her own, and the stuff she does not see is also important, it’s been feeling clunky.

          I might finish it in the current person, set it aside for its percolation period, then come back and do the revision in 1st person and see which works better, but I’m thinking just because perception plays so much of a role in this one, that this is the time to do first person view.

  2. And then there are the parts you don’t want to write. Just realized part of why I’d been struggling with how to get a plot to close was, one of the characters had to screw things up at the early opportunity, not just the end of things.

    I kind of wanted them to have at least some happiness before it got wrecked, but it would not be consistent.

    But it works, and suddenly the fifth wheel who I couldn’t figure out why they were there, is the one who has to step in and fill the role they should have been filling and it all makes sense. But it’s also realizing I’m already at the beginning of the end for a character I just figured out, and rather sympathize with. :/

    1. Yeah. I get that. My worst one I didn’t want to write was killing off the family pet. He had to die, and that was set in stone before the MC’s breathed their first breaths of air in the new world (isikei with a twist). It was even a good death, as such things goes. One might even say he died a hero, if such can be attributed to the little beastie.

      I didn’t want to write that scene. But it was a necessary plot point and couldn’t reasonably be avoided. I mean, I *could* have done, but the story demanded elsewise. And this was in a world full of danger and betrayal, war, famine, plagues, monsters, slavery, and disappointment. The characterization of the main cast set against a lot of the world might have been heavy handed and cliche in retrospect (monogamous marriage and family vs. hive-like broods, brutal caste systems, and tyrannical suckitude).

      The death of the family pet was a turning point that allowed for a brighter future, in a way. It just sucked that I had to stop writing that one little bit part.

      Of course, there’s plenty of *other* stuff I don’t necessarily want to write, either. And not just because there’s certain things I still suck at. But sometimes ya just gotta.

      1. Yeah, that sucks too. I’ve got another story that’s on the back burner where I think the villian has to kill the hostage, and I’m not entirely thrilled with that either. Worse, I have to actually go back and flesh out those characters because I more or less skipped them originally. But I’m also torn, because it would probably make the story darker than I wanted, but at the same time, not going that route sort of makes that villian silly, but it also feels off?

        I suspect the problem is there’s more going on with that character than I have worked out yet, so likely need to go write them out more to get my head around it. Possibly they aren’t a monster because they want to be, but because they’re compelled to, so have a tendency of slipping out of going full purple people eater at unexpected times.

        But that’s a problem for future me, not today me! Today me has other problems to solve.

      2. Oh, yes – in the middle book of the Trilogy, I killed a major, heroic and studly character – had to be done, since it was something I had outlined even before beginning the series. Readers have since confessed that they sniffled a bit, upon reaching that point, and my alpha readers at the time even asked wistfully for a reprieve. Couldn’t do it – the whole rest of the plot had to do with his family bearing up, and dealing in various ways with their loss.
        In another book in the series I had to write out another character, as it had already been mentioned that he died of TB, and I just dreaded writing that part, all the details involved in that. But I had a genius inspiration which let me write him dying off-stage, and for a reason which set up several new plot lines in later books!
        I had to go back and do some re-writing to set it up though. I hate getting genius inspirations when the book is all but finished … but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

        1. Genius inspirations can come at the most inconvenient times. I once had an entire excursion aboard a derelict spaceship where the characters couldn’t use suit radios. Lesson learned: don’t do that. But it let me set up a long, wide ranging arc about corruption and internecine war within the Exile Fleet military and the loss and gradual rediscovery of certain aspects of a real military (as opposed to a banana republic military: the ones who escaped the fall of Earth in that universe were not the best soldiers. Many were political, and worse. The Exile Fleet suffered a lot and for a long time under senior officers that were more political than military).

          I’m still building that arc because its grown too big to fit into the story it is nominally in now.

          1. Oh, yes – vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord … but in this case, He farmed out that part to the righteously-angry wife. And THAT PART WAS FUN TO WRITE!

      3. And the thing is, it’s actually working.

        And it somehow gives me the opportunity to have a character threaten someone that “if they don’t stop talking right now, their epitath will read eaten by hampsters.”

        1. And it just hit me, that lets me precipitate the teleport scene change.

          (Character A can actually make good on that threat. Character B really doesn’t want them to try. Thus, grab *poof*.)

        2. That’s a line worth saving. Keep going with it. When you find the right voice to tell the story in, things usually work out better.

          I say that ten chapters in to the story I never intended to write, working on number eleven, and now 23,000 words in. Writing it in first person. Himself is exercising His sense of humor again, I just know it.

          1. Yep. And it precipitates so many things so well. It’s extra fun, because for the readers who actually know that character’s back story and capabilities, it’s also a red flag, but it’s silly enough they can gloss over it in the humor of the moment.

            It’s silly, it’s ridiculous, it provokes a completely freaked out response from another key character, and is a early hint that the character is way more emotionally invested in this than they reasonably should be.

    2. The grand realization that the rescued captive is not going to live out a year after being rescued. . . .

  3. There are as many types of writers as there are writers…

    Okay, maybe it’s not that confusing, but there doesn’t seem to be a ‘right’ way to write. In the end, all that really matters is the story, however it got written. If the story is good, the process was successful, n’est-ce pas?

  4. I had Grand Plans [waits for knowing laughter to stop] and Day Job happened. So I’m writing in nibbles and bits when I can. I’ve got stories pestering me, and others sort of waving from around corners. (Look, I do NOT have time to do the Magyar side of the Planet Texas stories, OK? Chill. Just chill. Yes you. Hush. I mean it. Seriously. Quiet!)

    1. You know that only encourages them, right? I mean, you let the first one in. Fed it, cared for it, made it into a right shiny good story. All the others want that too…

      (He says as he flees from the subplot that wants to take over the narrative from current WIP!)

  5. I’m finally writing again after being sick for almost all of February. First I had a cold, then for the past two weeks I’ve either been feeling like I’m being stabbed in the ear and punched in the jaw simultaneously or drugged out of my gourd to try to prevent that feeling. But I’m finally back, I’m going to get Book 4 of my opening trilogy out (yes, I know), and then I’m going to see about pushing out some of my other worlds.

  6. Busy few days for me. I decided to adopt the “go wide” strategy suggested by Amanda. Made my first successful attempt at putting up a book on Barnes and Noble, then realized it was still enrolled in Kindle Select, which is a huge no-no. Pulled it back down and unenrolled. Waiting for April so I can post it for real.

    Managed to get a collection of short stories up on Amazon, in Kindle and in paperback (under an assumed name because who needs leftists hounding my employer to purge itself of the taint of whatever-ism by firing me). Not entirely satisfied with the job but wanted to get a printed copy to give my Mom who’s in the memory care unit, while she still remembers who I am so I can get Mom-approval points. Yes, I am that pathetic.

    And management at the day job is still dithering over Covid – work from home, return to office, some kind of hybrid, proof of vax, masks? It’s all based on SCIENCE which oddly seems to align with whatever benefits Democrats today. Disconcerting for a person like me, who plots and plans his day from “floss teeth” in the morning to “floss teeth” again at bedtime.

    Honestly, I couldn’t find Ukraine on a map and don’t care who runs it. I have problems of my own, chiefly that book about the sailors that I just can’t seem to make progress on . . . .

    1. I lost my mother years ago, and I’m *still* sad that I was never able to show her my first novel. It’s not pathetic at all. For the little it’s worth, I’m rooting for you.

    2. My mom’s not even in the hospital, and that’s one of the things I’m trying to learn to write for. I want her to see that the Tolkien fangirling, and Star Trek fangirling, she did as a kid– planted seeds, that flowered.

  7. Yeah yeah, I’m working on it. I got stuff done for it… last weekend at least!

  8. There are two types of writers.
    Those who write, and those who stopped writing. .
    But the latter are no longer writers, so…

      1. Same. I ran out of books I really, really wanted to read at the moment and the library was closed on Sunday. So I wrote a story I might kinda want to read.

        Then other people read it. So now I’m writing about zombies in space. Eh. Life gives you lemons, you try for lemon meringue pie and settle for lemon chili.

        1. We had to return all our library books because we were going on a trip. A week before the trip.

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