The (abridged) History of Epic Storytelling

As mentioned (frequently albeit sporadically) throughout my (almost) year of writing this writing blog, my  literary ambition is to create a multiple (36) book series spanning over  three centuries  –  or rather, three separate yet intertwined series set within each century (tentatively late 19th, early 20th and mid 21st), with characters with links with one another and with their antecedents and descendants.

In short, I plan on writing an epic saga, and a complex one at that.

As today (March 1, 2014) is the first preview performance of the second Broadway revival of Les Miserables, my all time favorite musical, my (small) way of commemorating this event is to pay homage to the epic storytelling and multiple storylines that are interwoven throughout the (very long) musical (and novel). In fact (as I think I’ve mentioned here before) my literary objective was to expand one otherwise short(ish) story – the plot of which was essentially a ghost story with elements “borrowed” from Phantom of the Opera (my second all time favorite musical) – into a full-fledged novel. That initial effort was probably 85% written, with copious notes on the final handful of chapters, written nearly half a lifetime ago (well, half of my lifetime at least) – that first draft  will most likely never be seen by anyone else but myself, though some elements will be retained, revised and recycled, removing all the “borrowed” elements.

Fast forward a few years and the literary plan expands to become a trilogy, with character and plot exposition that kept delving farther and further back in time, to the point where the idea of a separate prequel trilogy is needed (if memory serves, this idea was inspired by the announcement of the Star Wars prequel trilogy). Anyway, at this point, the series was to be six separate sequential stories spanning about twenty years or so, all set in the same location, with the conceit that the location (a massive English estate) would be another “character”. As time went on, thoughts on exposition and relationships between characters developed, and new inspirations were discovered, all of which led to the general structure currently in place: three separate series, with a finite number of novels within (quasi-stand alone, with some related, sequential elements), set in the three distinct (aforementioned) time periods, with the initial location at its center. How that last bit will work is still a work in progress.


For those following the quasi-meta quality of the last few blog entries, I’m still in the Land of Exposition, staying at the Character Development Inn, though I’ve wandered about (quasi) aimlessly to the Plotting Forest, exploring the various narrative trails and avoiding the various fauna. The trails were lush, interesting and all different – some were clear, some were rocky, and others were just confusing – the provided brochures were mostly useless, with preconceived images, presumably provided by other visitors. Most of my writing Muses spent the days lounging by the indoor pool, drinking martinis and munching on chicken fingers and nachos, every now and then blurting out something useful. Thankfully the Inn has an infinite supply of chocolate covered espresso beans, of which I’ve taken to nosh when the mildly annoying trio of Writer’s Block, Writer’s Speed Bump and Writer’s Roundabout loom in the distance.

[OK, that’s about all I can think of with relation to the quasi-meta story I started]

Needless to say, I’m still in the plotting/pondering stage, with occasional sojourn into actual writing – as stated in last week’s weekly blog, I’ve returned to working on those writing prompts, several of which will be (brief) fictional scenes that will be akin to “deleted scenes” for the Epic Series Saga. Or for the fan fiction novel based on Dance of the Vampires (one of my top ten all time favorite musicals – its place on the list shifts depending on my mood), a novel I do intend on finishing one of these days (and may or may not have ties to the aforementioned epic series saga).

Basically, this week’s post is a status update on what I’ve been up to, along with a lot of babbling and reiteration (I think) – there isn’t that much actual narrative written that can be shared, as I tend to revise and edit as more and more ideas pop into my head. This inevitably leads to many, many versions of Word documents and more documents of musings, character development and other tangents. I do hope to have something substantial to share, but the endless possibilities (and possible plot twists) render the overall narrative structure to be nebulous and a constant work in progress. I know I should be more definite and just write without (too much) planning, but I like plotting things out. I like knowing where the path with eventually lead me (and my characters).

To wit, enough pondering and musing here, and onward (back) to writing!


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