It’s All Coming To An End!
No, not the world.
. . . Well maybe the world too. One almost hates to check the news . . . and fears not to.
But that’s not my problem, today.
No, my problem is quite simple. My series is coming to an end.
Not that it was a real series, just a universe with a bunch of mostly separate stories that ambled through, switched to new Main Characters, spawned some spin-offs in an attempt to keep the book count sane . . . but other than a few things to tidy up, having destroyed that latest Evil Empire . . . I’m feeling a great void of ideas about what to do next.
So I think I’ll just have to do something new. Maybe even switch genres just to stretch my skills a little.
Now there’s a scary thought for you.
Romance . . . nope, nope, nope.
Mystery . . . meh, I’ve done that in my series.
Historical . . . Hahahahahahaha! No. I’m utterly stupid about history.
Horror . . . eh . . . the last time I tried it turned funny. Might try it again.
Western . . . Well, I know horses, but guns . . . and history, again . . .
Thriller . . . Hmm . . .
Literary . . . the mind boggles
I have Genre Dysphoria! I feel so Woke!
Maybe the World will end and save me . . .
Or maybe, by the time I finish the wrap up of the final big story, and tidy up a bit . . . I’ll think of something new and exciting in the Mulitverse and not have to face the cold cruel possibility of doing something seriously new and different!
You guys have any idea what I ought to do next?
Ah, and here’s a bit of tidying up a loose end from Murder in the Rigel Brigade which ought to be available for preorder by the time this posts, and released Tuesday . . . if I’ve done it right in my current brainless state:
“You guys have any idea what I ought to do next?”
You seriously did not request plot bunnies, now did you? Oy…
Yes. I have a head full of fog, at the moment.
Well, considering you asked for it…
1) A protagonist awakens in the middle of a battle between humans wielding spears and what the protagonist recognizes as the minions of hell. The protagonist knows instinctively that they have escaped hell, and if the hellspawn win, they will be dragged back.
They remember hell, but not the life before. Not what sin condemned them to hell.
Can be run as adventure, mystery, horror, adventure, even thriller. Goals can be lost memory, sealing the rifts that were opened when they escaped, finding out why the rifts appeared in the first place, stopping the forces of hell from overwhelming all life, doing enough good to cancel out whatever sins they still carry, and whatever little problems that they come across in the world of magic and mystery that they’ve forgotten. Plot twists in the form of people that know about their past but will not tell them (at least not for free). Can weave in romance subplots, political drama, character building in the form of denial, guilt, remorse, acceptance, and understanding. Can throw in plucky comic relief characters.
Plot arc can end up with either heroic self sacrifice or good old beating on the BBEG until it dies and everyone lives happily ever after.
2) The protagonist arrives in a new world and finds out that they are much weaker than almost everyone and everything. They must cultivate and grow stronger in order to get anywhere. Standard cultivation building plot arc, bildungsroman style- start with callow youth and grow them through conflict and consequence. School/training montageable. You get to build up wild beasts that plague humanity, evil cultists, rival cultivators, greedy merchants, sneaky and backstabbing politics, and can end up with titanic battles against demon lords and grand elders.
Standard isikei/cultivation story. There are a lot of them out there, but they sell pretty regularly so long as the readers get their reader cookies. Those are easy: alchemy, cultivation pills and resources, growth in power and character, and lots of fighting.
3) The alien Kri’al arrive in the Solar system fleeing a threat that they don’t want to talk about. They are more advanced than humans, who have managed to expand beyond Earth. Mars is colonized and Venus is in the early stages of colonization, with settlements in the asteroid belt and some on the moons of Saturn and Jupiter.
Humanity is not united. Factions wage war on each other constantly, with no clear winner in sight. They try to use the Kri’al for advantage. The Kri’al just want to escape, but are hampered by the damage they sustained in their flight and cannot flee the Solar System yet.
Some recognize this and attempt to exploit the aliens. Others try to help them.
Little does anyone know the enemy is already here…
4) The protagonist has finally realized their dream job as the chief gardener and groundskeeper for a historic site. All goes swimmingly at first and the protagonist is suffused with joy at their achievement.
Then they realize why all the previous occupants of the post left so abruptly. The gardens are infested with the fae.
Lots of things that can be done with this. Everything from adventure to politics to romance to suspense to mystery and all. Fae love screwing with humans. You get to write fairy tale monsters and monsters that look like people. Sometimes that is just fun.
5) A dream thief gets more than they bargain for when they unwittingly steal the dreams of a night hag. Now the dream thief has a problem. They know that a certain high profile target is slated to be murdered in a nearly undetectable fashion. Normally, not an issue that would bother the thief.
But said high profile target just happens to be the only one keeping the city they operate in from becoming an open battleground for the war between the Mageborn and the Changed.
Monster races, shifters, werewolves, vampires, magic, magic systems, and more. The protagonists is no magicican and has no skills other than their burglary and dream thief talents. They sneak, they hide, they pilfer. And war is bad for business.
6) An intelligent undead being just happens to be the only one immune to a plague that stalks the streets of the city. A doctor and healer in life, they recognize what the humans do not.
The plague is changing. It adapts to the methods used to slow its spread. Whether these are the acts of an intelligent being directly modifying the plague, or more sinisterly the plague itself is evolving, it does not know.
Have to balance the need to remain undetected and mange undead hungers with the goal of solving the mystery of the plague and stopping it before higher powers deem the city lost and purge it with fire.
Can be run as urban modern or high fantasy. Can run as tension thriller.
These are just off the top of my head and maybe fifteen minutes of work. There’s also airships and elves (steampunk), crater life (post apocalyptic survival), better living through alchemy (quasi medical drama), and minion stories, but I’m mostly out of time. You could always writer westerns or cat stories, too.
Now there’s a tidy list! Do you write? And if not, why not?
Less often than I’d like. I’ve an old school sci-fi serial that I need to get back to, as the last couple of months RL issues have largely prevented me from writing. Dr Z’s Zombie Apocalypse is on my website, Royal Road, And Scribblehub currently and is in dire need of more chapters. I’ve also got a few unfinished projects languishing here and there.
Sounds like you’ve got some ideas now, at least. Good luck and write often!
Ummm what has happened to Ice and the Millennial census? which you’ve stuck the start of in a couple of recent books
Also the elves
Yeah, _Who Counts_ is on the list to finish. And Kaat really ought to get back home. And Destiny meets Roly was a cute story . . . But who the next big Bad Guy? I’ve run out of Evil Empires to beat!
maybe you don’t need an empire. Maybe a drug cartel that finds a way to pervert the wine so it does less healing and more orgying and adds some addiction? or Earth does something so bad Kaat rats out on them and has to defect to Embassy? or ….
The elves have huge potential that you’ve barely explored yet. How many elven worlds are out there? How many different polities are there in the elven side of the universe? Some of them sharing a world, others multi-world but small, others medium-sized and, perhaps dreaming of conquest?
I’ve been waiting to see when the elves would come back in the story. Perhaps now’s the time. Maybe the guy whose children Ebsa and Paer rescued will come looking for them to ask for help, or if he doesn’t know their coordinates, he leaves a message on the world where they met, hoping that they’ll find it soon. He could then be the hook that pulls everyone else into dealing with his latest problem.
Apart from elves and space aliens from Earths where the hominids evolved differently …
There’s United Earth. You’ve hinted that they’re chafing under Embassy’s restrictions, and they’ve got some real pieces of work in powerful positions (whoever came up with the cloning program in Maze of Worlds, for instance.) And if there’s anybody who could figure out how to duplicate what people with Dimensional abilities do, it’s them. What would they do if some bright spark worked out how to detect and manipulate bubbles and gate halves with technology?
And the preorder is live. Now I just need to check for typos, grammar, punctuation and get that in quickly and you can all have a quick read next week.
confirmed working by pre-ordering
The one advantage of hopping from work to work is that there’s always something to work on.
More Dr. Inferno, please?
Huh. I forgot about Dr. Inferno! There really ought to be a some Space Aliens coming along behind their robot space squids
More eldon. More magic children? More horsies and doggies? Perhaps some steampunk?
how about ‘bad boy meets good girl’. in this case it would be on of Eldon’s kids meets one of Xen’s kids. Which one is bad and which one is good , well that’s the question isn’t it?
A shy schoolgirl is bullied, friendless, outcast until one day she receives a letter inviting her to attend a school for witches. What? No, this isn’t a Harry Potter rip-off. Completely different. She’s a girl, see, this story appeals to a marginalized audience that almost nobody writes about. And maybe she meets a girlfriend at the new school to strike up a LGBT relationship but then one of them learns a spell to transition to male only he/she doesn’t know whether to use it, lots of angst among the romance, so you cover those markets, too. And maybe the headmaster named Donald is an intolerant old white man who wants to sell all the girls into slavery as baby-makers wearing nuns’ habits so she/he/they must do battle against the patriarchy, too. Look, it’s not that hard: find the hot button issue, identify the target audience, write a story that makes them feel morally superior. The more hot buttons, the more shrill the preaching, the bigger the market. Next thing you know, the Hugo committee is calling. This is how all the Real Writers do it. Trust me.
You very funny man. Go to Gulag!
Espionage in the realm of the smeerps.
The Fraternity of Bards. Stories must be witnessed to exist. Escaping is optional, but encouraged.
What??? No, no, never. There must be more out there.
Do a Horatio Hornblower series set on a desert world.
“Horror . . . eh . . . the last time I tried it turned funny. Might try it again.”
There is something very appealing about telling the story of the slimy, world-ending eldritch horror that gets stomped on and destroyed by Girl Scouts on a cookie drive.
I do it all the time. What’s a Valkyrie but a fabulously well-armed Girl Scout? ~:D
Jenny’s space station
What Bey and Fancy did next, but mostly Bey because we saw Fancy sort-of in the above
More Martian Lizards
And obligatory more Barton Street Gym!
My children would disown me otherwise: they still say that was The Best Christmas Ever-and they’re nineteen and eighteen now, those two.
Are you looking for new plots for the existing universe you’ve been working in, or new universes to do stories in?
If it’s new plots for the same universe, maybe look at what the main characters do with themselves after the big war is over? Or how the next generation deals with growing up in their shadow?
I really enjoyed how Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga handled shifting from their planet transitioning hard from a more or less dictatorship to a reasonable government and how first Miles handled growing up in his father’s and grandfather’s shaddows, and then how their next generation handled being in his.
Well drat, I’ve tried to come up with a good story line for a rat story four times with no luck.
More Bunnies, Ice, Elves, Eldon, the space aliens.
Fixing the Bunny empire, both liberating conquered worlds and dealing with the Japanese branches.
Bringing the peaceful Bunny members into DISCO. Having their long-range portals to add to the DISCO permanent ones could tie into finding Elves again.
New Texas has got to be up to something regrettable, maybe meet Eldon and the Free Cyborg Rebellion?
Of course another Dr. Inferno volume.
More exzy!! Eldon finally coming to terms with his past. Maybe more about Pyrite’s mom? Damien Maldur’s further adventures with exploring, as well as his family and children (bio and adopted)? Ohh, Damien finally telling his Earth to eat a bag of hammers. The prophet Nickolas and Wolfgang exploring? (like, the further away from the one and from comet fall do they dodge the archetype issue?) I love your stories. I am really looking forward to who counts. Thank you
There are always the evil Earthers at end of Explorers, the lost Oners and Auralians from Comet Fall, Rael meeting her bio-father, missing Pax, Steamworks, etc.
I never published Gods and Princesses, did I?
Staven finagling things so Rebo’s boys take the King and Spear heir slots?
Another story that never made it past the first page. Irwun’s and Alin’s Two Year Rotation.