At the end of the first ROW80 round, I came up with a new plan to organize my goals around a running to-do list. That’s worked out really well for the nonfiction, but my fiction projects work a little differently. I focus on writing shorter works rather than novels, and most of my stuff develops in clusters of 3-10 pieces each about 6,000 words long. Ideas have a habit of combining with each other over time, so I’ve been having trouble using the to do lists as a way to monitor my fiction.
These Wednesday check-ins are an experiment in keeping tabs on what I’ve been doing with my fiction, so I don’t lose track of important ideas and events.
For anyone new here, my character development process is pretty organic, and I interact with my stories much more as a transcriptionist for the characters lives them as a conscious creator. If you find that weird, you might not enjoy reading my Wednesday check ins.
Image Courtesy of Cooldesign/Freedigitalphotos.net
There’s a post about my various story worlds here if you’re interested in following.
Like I’ve said previously, Bloodkin is one of my oldest story worlds and there are several alternate versions that have developed. I didn’t do that intentionally. If I tried to construct multiple timelines on purpose, it probably wouldn’t work. It just sort of happened as I corrected mistakes and realized that I had some stuff I would have to change or take out because it didn’t work in the new continuity. There was too much potential for me to be willing to just let the stuff go altogether, so I kept it as an “alternate world” since the story’s world building establishes that there are multiple timelines. Then I ended up with a friend’s dreams contributing to other alternate Bloodkinverses. I’m working with a few of those versions in tandem, and as of this week, I’m going to just write it as a multiverse. I’m still toying with some ways to differentiate between timelines, but here’s the deal:
I focus on writing shorter stories rather than novels. Each story tends to run between 3000 6000 words, and there are usually “sets” that work together. Some of the sets are thematic groups, like the Fox sisters that I’ve published here. Others are basically one set of events and could be strung together as a novel, but they show how the events play out across lots of characters lives. It’s better for me to focus on writing distinct short stories otherwise I end up with “novels” that have 27 fascinating subplots and a weak over-arching plot I don’t care about anyway.
So, I think that each story within Bloodkin’s system of alternate realities would have some kind of subtitle attached to it that would indicate which AU verse I was working in.
I realize that some readers aren’t going to want to deal with multiple timelines and storylines etc, but I don’t really care at this point. As a reader, I’m always fascinated by alternate timelines, and I constantly look for stories that give different timelines equal weight instead of making one timeline the “real” history and the other ones less important or “less real” and therefore expendable. I think it’s better to write a kind of story I enjoy than to try to shoe-horn the thing into someone else’s idea of a good story. I can always narrow my focus later if one storyline were to take off as more popular.
Tommy —This past week, the main thing I’ve been working on is about 30 years of Tommy’s history that didn’t work anymore. I finally got something workable on Sunday night, and he’s going to be living/working with some of the characters from Below (the undersea realm) on creating an orphanage for Conclave refugees and the children of hunters who died in the field. I think it’s a good idea, although it took me a while to figure out the logistics of getting land dwelling characters to the new place that Tommy is putting together. The exciting part for me is that it gives me a chance to tie the Fayne storylines with the Ben-Azaziel storylines in a plot-oriented way instead of just an incidental relationship between minor characters. (Nathaniel and Jill) I like Nathaniel and Jill, but their relationship to one another is something that doesn’t have any bearing on the existing storylines, so it doesn’t really give my audience a concrete, memorable tie between the two families. Nathaniel/JIll used to have more of a plot role, but a lot of that got co-opted by Amara/Nick in the last two versions. Abby is still there, but her origin is in flux, and her relationship relevance and motivation was always mainly with Darius and Nathaniel. She wasn’t exactly comfortable with the Faynes OR her birth family, so stuff to do with her wasn’t a “plot link” so much as a point of tension between everybody involved or a factor that made everybody mad. That’s another thing I’m looking to fix. (I realize that’s probably not going to make any sense, and at some point I will try to explain it. For right now this post is more for my benefit than anyone else’s.
Established characters connected to Tommy
Josiah — Josiah is one of the oldest beings in the universe. He didn’t have much direct plot relevance until now. I knew who he was because I created him to be one of the progenitors of the daywalker race. I knew a lot about his history because I ended up going back to the creation era and actually writing enough background notes that it could have been the basis of a Biblical fantasy novel or something. I never wanted to write it because the level of research I would’ve had to do was overwhelming.
The relevance at the moment is that he’s part angel and he grew up to be one of the engineers who designed these enormous undersea cities that contributed to the legend of Atlantis and he’s going to be building the island Tommy wants.
Lori — Lori is Ziah’s half-sister. Her name is Lorelei, and I don’t remember her genesis as a character. She just appeared at some point as part of the Ben-Azaziel story arcs and I liked her there because she’s more down-to-earth and modern than most of those characters. She’s a Marine biologist now, but I think she’s done other things in the past, and she’s around 500. I think she was the one who introduced Tommy to Josiah in the first place, and she probably met him through his interest in surfing, but I haven’t actually established that.
New characters connected to Tommy
Daniyah — Daniyah is my first attempt to write one of the new races I made up back in 2011, just before the series really fell apart. She’s a popular dancer who made a name for herself in the PN world but I don’t know if she was widely known in human culture. I wanted to write an entertainer who was genuinely socially conscious and also good at the business end of her career, and I’ve established that she retired from dancing because she was looking for a job that would let her help people and use her business skills. I really like her, though I don’t know much about her yet. She has a romantic history with Ziah that I didn’t know about until I noticed that it was rekindling.
Ini —Ini is another “first attempt” I’ve known that there were merpeople in Bloodkinverse forever, but I have no reason to write any of them except as like “incidental mentions.” When I realized that Tommy wanted to live on an island, I also realized it was a good opportunity for me to include a mer-person. So, I created him as the island’s medical person, and he seems to have an established relationship with Lori, but they’re not exclusive (or something. ?)
Literally the first person I thought of for Tommy when I knew I needed someone for him to be with was Lori. I kept dismissing the idea because of the age difference. Tommy kept saying that he wanted someone his own age. I have a tendency to think of Tommy as a perpetual teenager/twentysomething, and I don’t know when I do that because I know very well that he’s in his 50s. It might have something to do with the fact his development keeps getting screwed around with. In the interest of keeping this post a summary, I’ll just say that by the time I figured out that when Tommy said he wanted someone his own age, he actually MEANT he wanted someone who was at the same point in life that he was (IE, serious about starting a family and with career goals that were compatible with his.) I had everybody playing musical relationships and it finally settled down into something that’s more typical of Synn where there’s a “core” relationship of three people and some fluid secondaries. (I’ll do another post about that if anyone’s interested. Just note that when I say “core relationship” I’m not referring to the stereotypical romantic triangle.)
Mike’s got a new plan to buy and sell gray market merchandise out of a cellar under his barn that nobody knows about. He’s having some weird anxieties about the woods and still having trouble feeling anyone magically; I think those things are connected, but it’s not clear to me why he’s having all the woods-anxiety. He’s having some trouble figuring out how to balance his time so that he can manage both his relationships and spending time with Kylie, but I actually think the anxiety is the source of most of that trouble and that if he was thinking clearly, it wouldn’t bother him as much.
I pushed out the summer games because Thad got smashed in the face with a softball when I wasn’t looking. Nan’di should still show up this week.