Sometimes, he discusses the next book(s)…

I wrote the first part of this post while Paul was still working on the The Sleeping and the Dead

I’m typing this partly to help me remember, because that’s my job: to remember the story ideas my clone-sibling comes up with, and to “track changes” in the big picture…

And it’s a good thing I do this, because apparently some really old bits and pieces are going to become relevant in the sequel to Project Brimstone.

Yes, he’s already thinking about the next book — not the next in a series, but the next chronologically in the “uber-arc” of all the stories together — although he hasn’t finished the first draft of The Sleeping and the Dead yet.

I never said we were linear thinkers. In fact, I distinctly recall saying the opposite a few times.

Anyway. The sequel to Project Brimstone… Paul had some idea already, but the reason for the situation in the novel to happen hadn’t explained itself yet.

Then, for reasons he has not yet explained to me (and he may not know), he thought of a character from one of our old (and not written, much less published) stories. I think it dates back to (*examines mental image associated with memory for location tags*) sometime in 1996, for the earliest part of it. The character’s name is Dr. Matthew Channing. Physicist, I think. (I remember the project he was working on, but… Well, it kinda got overshadowed by other things in the story. You know how that goes, right?)

Of course, as soon as Paul mentioned Dr. Channing, all sorts of plot complications started running through my head, plus how his backstory interconnects with things already happening in the uber-arc.

…Just talked to the clone-sibling, who says that it’s partly my fault he thought of Dr. Channing: apparently I mentioned him a few weeks ago. *shrug* Makes sense. He is/will be associated with a character who’ll be in the fifth book of The Awakening, so it would make sense for Dr. Channing to be in that story, too, and it’s better to bring characters in before they have an active role. (*mutters something about mirrors*) That’s why we’re trying to figure out how to bring Jon in soon…

*sigh* The trouble with knowing that a character is going to be in the story eventually, or that a particular scene — in some form — is going to happen is that I can’t help trying out all the variations to see which seems best, but it’s not my story. Even though some of the characters are mine. (*mutters something about giant hexapodal purple otter people who had a collective Bad Experience with winged humanoids in their species’ distant past*)

I never planned for David Morgen to have the backstory he ended up with (although, as he points out himself, there’s nothing to say it’s untrue, either). I never planned for Deegan to be Achernar, nor for Joseph Brennen to be wearing his real name. (It’s not actually his real name, okay? We’re just saying that for novel-writing purposes. *mutters something about biographers*) I never planned for the dragons in northern Threnendar to be the descendants of a colony from the Ruined Courts… although it made perfect sense, as soon as Paul told me what the Firsters looked like: “Dragons have hands like that, too,” I said.

…and back around to Matthew Channing, whose native country bordered a place destroyed in an attempt to wipe out or at least contain a terrible plague. That was always in his backstory. Now, we’re tying that plague to another one which readers will have seen mentioned in detail…

Information overload, yeah?

And now Monday, December 17…

This morning I talked with Paul a bit about where the various threads at the beginning of “book five” are going. He’s decided to change — going back to his first idea — the thread that finally brings Jon into the story. (“Track changes,” indeed! How does it feel, Mr. Livingston, to go through yet another round of backstory revision? Same as always, at least: everything already established remains as it was, but there are… additions. Story of your life, eh?) You, O reader of my blog, will not be at all surprised to learn that my clone-sibling and I agreed the best option was the one that creates the most plot complications without making necessary story events impossible. Thus, it won’t be a familiar face greeting this elusive minor character… which could be for the best in-story, too.

I should back up and explain a bit, in case I forgot to already:

As soon as The Sleeping and the Dead was edited, Paul started working on both the final book in The Awakening and the sequel to Project Brimstone (book two of The Endless Realms series). He says there’s some small chance he’ll be done with one or the other by summer, but he doesn’t want to bring out book five of The Awakening until next year, so it we publish anything other than The Sleeping and the Dead this year, it’ll be “Riders” (whatever the actual title turns out to be) sometime in the autumn. Paul will probably finish the fifth Tebrey novel before then anyway; the plot has acquired a certain momentum lately, with the “endgame” approaching…

And then there was the conversation we had around three this afternoon: nothing unexpected was said at first, and then Paul informs me that he’s also thinking about stories outside either of these series, in particular “that novel”… and perhaps a book or two leading up to it.

Argh!

“From Utah to Excalibur,” is what Paul said… Mentioned something about Jason being the viewpoint character throughout, and then said something about maybe having more than one POV character and beginning with Walotsky. (How convenient that I actually have a written fragment of story for that scene. Paul won’t like reading it nor expanding on it, but he’s not the one who’s had to live with it in his head for almost two decades so far.) We’re nowhere near ready to deal with any of that, however. (If we keep with our “everything in chronological order” pattern, much of the “Utah to Excalibur” sequence has to be dealt with as flashback — today I really, really do not like that word, FYI — because some of it has already happened and more will have happened by the time of “that novel.” *sigh*)

Overall and in individual pieces, the story has such momentum now, and if the primary author can maintain that (and if the secondary author/editor/keeper of the timelines can stay sane long enough)…

Paraphrasing with a twist of… something, I can tell you for certain that, although I enjoy copyediting, my real love is storytelling, interlacing the plot threads and the character arcs and the worldlines (and avoiding bad puns with my own middle name while discussing this art 🙂 ), and it’s very much worth the occasional “laser burns” to be able to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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1 Response to Sometimes, he discusses the next book(s)…

  1. Pingback: Duck, duck, duck, red herring. | North of Andover

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