A change in season brings a change in perspective and perception – starting with a new layout for the blog, plus a change in blog icon to quasi-commemorate the start of my second year of blogging this blog.
Spring has finally arrived – after the bleak, bitter winter, new (old) ideas are resurfacing, coupled with the almost requisite twists and turns. I’ve spent a lot (perhaps too much) time pondering character development and mapping out possible plot structure, wandering down the many narrative paths Series One could/should/might take, and how taking one road could impact the overall structure and sequence of events throughout the series saga. Spending (too much?) time thinking about character relationships and its impact on the narrative has also taken its toll, resulting in creating lists and scenarios where one path is decreed to be “canon” and alternate paths labeled as “AU fan fiction”.
Surely it’s perfectly normal to plot out fan fiction for your own works in progress even though the Canon has yet to be determined?
Of course, all this pondering and plotting (with fleeting instances of actual writing) about character relationships and plot development has been geared towards the entire series saga, still is scheduled to span several centuries. involve a number of core families and be centered around a single edifice.
Or at least that’s the plan thus far.
The original plan was to write one novel or at least a trilogy of novels centered around a maybe-it’s-haunted-or-maybe-it’s-not hotel/estate/castle, with family feuds, complicated conflicts, and a whole lot of plot twists along with the death, destruction and deception. For a while the plan was on track, and an unfinished novel (and a one-act play adaptation/condensation) was written, albeit with a liberal dose of high melodrama (and shameless “borrowing” of ideas from a certain musical…).
Then came those pesky plot bunnies and their questions of why things turned out the way they did, what motivations led to the events to unfold the way they did, and how certain relationships and events came to be, which lead to the Land of Exposition. The more I thought about why certain characters acted the way they did, and how certain events came about, the more I went back into the character’s history and their ancestor’s relationships and actions affected the future (or perhaps how the future affected the past and present).
Needless to say, sequence of events and character relationships became wibbly-wobbly very quickly, throwing the notion of causality out the proverbial window. The added elements (supernatural, Steampunk and science fiction) muddled the time stream a bit, resulting in a nearly infinite number of possible alternate universes where plot device K prevailed with the help of plot twist Q.
All of this plotting and pondering about sequence of events and such is for the overall grand scheme of things in the series saga (I suppose I’m predisposed to “big picture” planning as opposed to analyzing the individual components of the whole) has slowed down the actual writing process substantially for the individual novels. It’s also led to my jumping around in the time stream, plotting out ideas for stories in the second and third series, and how events and relationships within will impact and shape those in series one (and vice versa); it’s also led me down a possibly precarious path of plotting out prequel stories, another case of exposition begetting more stories of why characters and situations are they way they are (or could be).
I’m well aware that I should focus on one story (or at least one series) at a time, but the whole big picture planning compels me to keep in mind the effect of causality and consequences and its impact (positive, negative or indifferent) on character relationships and events.
Universe building and character development is a very involved project, full of nearly infinite consequences and possible outcomes. At this rate, the number of stories I’ll end up plotting (and hopefully writing) will increase exponentially, some will be Canon, others will be AU fan fiction, or a mix of both.
As many might have noticed (maybe?) I tend not to write about specifics and stick to general concepts and such, as the particulars have not yet been set in stone, and also, I prefer not to give away any potential spoilers. One day (someday) I hope to go into more detail about this fantastical, insane and involved (possibly alternate) universe I’m creating and the host of quirky, maddening and thoroughly interesting characters that reside within.
Until then, I shall keep on plotting, pondering and planning. That’s what all writers do, right?