Sunday, February 07, 2016

The Great Novel Pondering of 2016

So ... I went through this agony last May, expecting to choose a novel project I would begin in the next few months, once I finished Undertaking Chances.  Well, my little novella project turned out to be much longer than I had expected, and life hit me harder likewise.

And now, several months later, I don't feel quite the same about my possible selections.  So let's try this again.

These are the novels I'm pondering writing.  I have considered working on two at once, but am slightly tentative due to the inevitable sequel:  having two books to edit at once.  I've been there before, and it's not a pretty sight.


This concept is an abandoned journal story I started a long time ago – so this would entail starting again, and probably going in a different direction.

Basic Premise:  Post-apocalyptic world where the destruction was caused by an overload of magic dispersed via the internet, leaving a chaotic, fantastic world in its wake.  Our narrator is a magic-afflicted individual in one of the larger new nations.  She was part of a rebellion, but betrayed them to save their lives.  The plan is to write a dual storyline, both explaining how she got to the “now” point (not necessarily in chronological order) and unfurling a new plot.

Pros:  This is far and away one of the most original settings I’ve come up with. It’s wacky in what I hope are all the right ways.  There’s also a strong protagonist, and I’m drawn to the idea of doing a parallel storyline.

Cons:  I will need to do some pre-planning / plotting to make the parallel storylines cohesive, and this plot needs to be more or less started from scratch, because the one significant problem with the setting is I didn’t come up with any coheisve idea of how surveillance and record-keeping works.  Which, in a story where “I’m labeled and monitored” is a plot point … is a problem.


This concept takes a couple of my old characters from other places (both roleplaying campaigns, in this instance), introduces them to each other, adds a dash of conflict and … well, it would be fun.

Basic Premise:  Chiria is the adoptive daughter / servant of a villainous sorceress, trained as an assassin / enforcer but mostly raised by the sorceress’ animal constructs.  Her intended targets convince her to defect and run away.  Aforesaid target(s) take her to Pirelle, a high society lady, illusionist and spy, for training in how to live in the real world.  And that’s before one of Pirelle’s close friends loses his betrothed …

Pros:  These are chars with whom I am intimately familiar and engaged.  There are great opportunities for interplay and conflict between them / with the rest of the world.  Potentially, I’m also writing a fantasy-mystery, which is a goal of mine.

Cons:  There really is no firm plot yet.  I’m also concerned that Chiria is too similar to Vil, who was my POV char for Unnatural Causes, though Chiria is much less intellectual.


This concept also takes old characters, though in this case, they both exist in the same universe and, in fact, they’ve had a published story:  Pazia and Vanchen of Fatecraft.  (I have one more story in submissions about Pazia, another Pazia / Vanchen story on the backburner, and a third story about Pazia’s less-than-wise brother, Mathory – this last connects with the novel plot.)

Basic Premise:  Pazia, dicemaker, and Vanchen, clockwork inventor, have settled comfortably in a city when their lives are interrupted by her brother, Mathory, and an old acquaintance of his – a veiled mage who has been falsely accused of a crime.  It is left to the trio to unravel what really happened, tripped up by old rivals along the way.

Pros:  These are established characters I’m comfortable with, and I like their interactions.  The storyline also has the advantage that, again, it plays to my ambitions of writing fantasy-mysteries.

Cons:  To build this world, I have to comb the prior stories for details I’ve referenced, though that isn’t a huge deal.


This concept is a newer one – I came up with it along with the previous group, but ended up deciding I wasn’t really “feeling” it at the time.  Well, times have changed.

Basic Premise:  (Unnamed), along with five others, finds herself abducted by a cult – all intended as a sacrifice.  The ritual goes awry, and the six find themselves sharing the same body.  Whoever is in control also resumes their former appearance, but without access to the memories of the others … including what has happened in their “absence.”  How do they control the change?  How do they communicate with each other?  They’ll have to tackle those challenges before they can even think about getting back to normal …

Pros:  The idea appeals to me and would be a tight, personal story to tell.  Creating each as a strong, distinct character with a reason to be in their starting city sets up a lot of room for conflict.  I’d actually put the challenge of building several distinct (first person) voices in the pro column here.  Call me a glutton for punishment.

Cons:  I am a little uncertain about how to keep the scenes focused before the minds can communicate in any way beyond written notes; it seems like this might be too disjointed.  I am not even totally sure the body should change.  And as the summary might suggest, I don’t even know where it ends!


An old-but-original concept that I’ve passed up multiple times.

Basic Premise:  Our heroine has just died.  Unable to pay the toll to cross the afterlife’s river, she seeks a way to escape this limbo with other spirits in tow.  At the same time, her corpse has been abducted by graverobbers, and her former lover puts his job (as secretary to a highly-placed dignitary) in jeopardy attempting to rescue it.  A third strand develops as her little sister attempts to enter the underworld to plead her case.

Pros:  I always enjoy writing about the afterlife – I never get tired of it.  And here is an opportunity – in fact, a necessity – to build an entire cosmology … and again, some unusual, quite personal story threads.

Cons:  I am actually concerned this idea is too “old” for me to really zot life back into it, but I did want to include it on the list.

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