Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday Wanderings

This time last week, I declared my intention to goof off in regards to what I chose to write, which mysteriously, was one of my most popular blog posts ever.  Apparently, that means y'all need to take things more seriously.

In the spirit of that, here are a few of the novel projects I've repeatedly put off or shuffled to the bottom of the list due to marketing and sales concerns:

A Flow Sequel:  I do have a title for this project, but I'm not mentioning it here since it's an implicit spoiler for the events of Flow (which in itself causes much debate I shouldn't even be having in the pre-writing phases, but having a title before I start is a key part of my process).  The story would be set a few years later, with Kit at the messy end of her first serious relationship.  He's part of the hidden world in that setting, so there's the additional complication that he feels responsible for her protection.  (Too much, as far as Kit is concerned, which part of the reason for their evolving breakup.)  Chailyn would be back, of course, and Hadrian ... and one of the exciting parts of this project for me is actually getting into his point of view.  Since he has hypersensitive perceptions, day-to-day living can be an overload, and I'm excited by the challenge of trying to convey that without leaving the reader completely lost.
But ... the sales for Flow don't really justify a sequel.  I can certainly make it a standalone volume, but why this book over all the others?  (In addition, years later, I'd love to get back into Flow and change things, but that's another story ...)

The Great Starshine Rewrite:  years and years (... and years ...) ago, I was involved in a fandom group.  I had a blast, mainly because I was too young to know better, but I created a sprawling cast of characters and an ongoing conspiracy that I always thought would be fun to revive.  The act of translating everything to an original world promises to create some intriguing results, and these are imaginary people I know like the back of my hand.
But ... as mentioned, the cast is sprawling.  There are a massive number of characters and subplots.  Not too many for me, because I'm nuts and I know the map and territory.  For readers ...?  That, I don't know.

A World of My Own:  my long roleplaying history also includes some original contemporary settings, where I was either part of the game founders or was invited to join staff later on ... which means that I ended up designing various elements for the setting.  I've considered combining these elements (or at least, a lot of them, some tweaked) into a single, cohesive setting so I can write short fiction in it.  It would also give me a chance to revive well-loved characters or ones I didn't give enough life to.
But ... there's a sliding scale between urban fantasy and superhero.  I have to find a consistent tone and potentially decide how comfortable I am writing superhero fiction - which seems to be a growing genre on the black and white page, but it certainly isn't an area I have a lot of knowledge about.  Of course, I can fix that ...
But part two ... it's not like I lack for short stories or ideas as it is!

Helen of Troy:  I'm a huge fan of Greek mythology.  I grew up with them:  one of my earliest story attempts was a retelling of the Pandora myth with Barbie as the main character.  The Pandora story is one that never set right with me, and I've tackled it in short fiction.  The Helen of Troy saga occupies a similar point of disquiet:  all this strife and death over a love affair?  
Scholars have numerous theories about the larger implications of Paris and Helen running away together, from the economic - the real reason for the war was trade; to the political - Helen was queen in her own right, so without her, her erstwhile husband no claim to the kingdom; to the fantastical - some sources connect Helen to a vegetation goddess and the health of her land to her presence.  Yet most fictional portrayals of this storyline attempt to make it historical, sensible in our real world.  To me, that's the least interesting path to take.  The Greek gods are infamous for their meddling, and they do it constantly in this saga.  To tell that story, full-fleshed, without taking agency away from the mortals ... that's where my interest lies.
I should note that I want to create an inspired-by tale rather than a retelling - different names, identities, other elements changed to suit ... well ... me.  That allows me more freedom, including the ability to be less literal and interpret threads in non-traditional ways.
But ... it's this last point that's the tricky one.  If I'm not openly identifying the storyline as Helen of Troy, does it just come off as mimicry rather than homage?

There may be more, but these are the four that I keep tossing off the island.  Maybe some day!  ... maybe soon.

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