Causality and Consequences

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.

Anyway.

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?

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Year End Update (of sorts)

So it’s been a year since I started this writing blog (well, technically speaking it’s been a year day-wise since I started this writing blog to commemorate the anniversary of  my writing the short story that sparked the series saga I am attempting to shape and write) and thus far I’ve had an interesting time thinking up topics and quasi-random musings every week. I’m quite proud of the fact that I stuck to writing a post every week, with additional posts related to my (rather slow going) quest to write something for that 100 writing prompt project, which will (hopefully) be completed by (calendar) year’s end.

This blog started out with  rambling essays on various topics, occasionally veering toward quasi-meta narration, dropping (purposely) vague references to the MASC Chronicles and Carpe Noctem – the stories I am in the midst of plotting, pondering and writing. I suppose the overall purpose of this blog was to keep an abridged account of my writing process, with the hopes of sharing excerpts from the aforementioned works in progress. Turns out that didn’t quite happen, though the few fictional writing prompts are quasi (yes, regular readers of this blog will notice, I do like using the term “quasi” a lot) related to the series saga. Or they might not (all) be – the verdict is still out on that.

World building is a long, arduous task, one that will (hopefully) make sense in the end, or beginning – the wibbly-wobbly aspect of the progression of time can be, well, wibbly-wobbly. Creating characters and establishing relationships (of all shades) is challenging, especially in a generational series saga such as the MASC Chronicles, where causality and consequences will impact future/past generations.

As of now, I’m (still) in the plotting/pondering phase of the writing process, though I have gotten some actual writing done, albeit in draft form, as ideas change, narrators switch (and switch back) and other ideas pop into the brain that derail the writing process, focusing attention (back) to the structural  plot building. Though not on paper or on Word, I have written (in my head) narrative scenes and dialogue exchanges for various points in the series saga – some that have made sense, others that might end up as deleted scenes or fan fiction what ifs. I’m sure all writers have thought up fan fiction for their works despite  the fact that the actual canon has not yet been fully established…? [Though technically speaking, Carpe Noctem is fan fiction of an infamous (forgotten?) musical, and original elements from that fan fiction may or may not appear in my original work.]

All in all, this writing thing has been both frustrating and fascinating, and in the year since I started this blog, I’ve “met” many fellow writers (via WordPress and Facebook) who have provided insight and inspiration to the series saga and the writing process as a whole.

Here’s to another year of writing, and with any luck by this time next year, I’ll have actually finished (or at least started) writing one of my novels.

Onward and upward!

Distracted and Perplexed

Once again, not so much progress made in my attempts of leaving the  Land of Exposition and moving forward with the writing process, with the weather turning milder and the allure of the many plausible paths to explore – perspective and pacing are paramount in the shaping of the series, saga and novel. Yes, I’ve prattled on about my quasi writer’s roundabout for many weeks now, pondering and plotting, with no definite decision delineated [seems I’ve developed an alliteration ailment whilst wandering down winding paths lined with fragrant flowers and friendly fauna].

There are far too many ideas bursting in my brain, leaving me distracted and perplexed, too many moving pieces and potential plot twists cluttering the overall narrative – not knowing where/when/how they fit in the grand scheme of things. Despite my attempts at disregarding the added flourishes/twists to the story and work on the actual writing, I find myself mulling over the variations to the piece rather on the melody itself – as the series saga is to be multi-generational, there are moments/elements where causality will impact the past, present and future of the many characters and their interactions with one another.

This is probably why it’s taken me so long to finish (nay start!) writing the first book of the series – of course, as the pondering and plotting continues, the question of which story is the true beginning of the series arises. The Exposition Hydra (Hail HYDRA!) pokes it head above water and asks questions about why things are the way they are, why characters act the way they do, and demands to know more and more about things that may or may not play a role in the [current] narrative flow.

So, here I am (still) plodding about in the Character Development Inn, pondering and plotting, thinking of how to escape the seemingly literary variation of Hotel California [which might lead to a stand alone story or perhaps an episode in between novels/series].

Oh, there goes those muses again – inadvertently inspiring more stories and possible variations…

General Ideas and Intricate Details

So here I am once again, (still) in the Land of Exposition, wandering about the various paths (grassy, paved, and something in between) hoping to find some clarity on the many story ideas mulling about in my brain – many of which could be the start (or maybe middle) of an amazing tale (or series).

Maybe.

I’ve come to acknowledge (and quasi-accept) the fact that I usually create and draft a lot of general overviews of stories, yet get stuck on the details and focus (probably too much) on the larger arc / series and not as much on the individual narratives. I have ideas on how the overall story could/would/should play out, but the step by step process has eluded me, which could probably explain how I have notebooks, legal pads, and Word documents of notes, summaries and lists, as well as lots and lots of “narrative false start” documents (some of which, after re-reading them, were alternatively fantastic and dreadful).

Of course, knowing (and liking) how, when, where and with whom to start the narrative is the hardest part of the writing process, and I admire those writers who can easily extract from their imagination narratives, plot and dialogue without (seemingly) to stop and think about the minute details. While I do have a firm idea on how the narrative should start, the internal debate arises about who should start the narrative – despite some frustration, I intend to stick to writing in 1st person perspective (as having the series saga told via 1st person perspective is key to some of the plot twists revealed in later stories).

At the moment, I’ve focused my attention to the first novel in the first series, and made some headway, narrative-wise, yet have pondered about which of the two main characters (one male, the other female) should be the narrator – both characters have a complex backstory, and the perception and shape of the overall narrative could drastically change depending upon who “wins” narration duties.  I have starting drafts of the same first chapter, with each of the main characters narrating, but it’s these tiny details that get me fixated on pondering big picture things.

Spring is supposed to be a time of renewal and rebirth – a time to start afresh and marvel at the new blossoms… blossoming everywhere; the grass is greener (or at least not covered in snow), the birds have returned and the weather is milder. New ideas have emerged from the winter hibernation, yet it seems due to the overextended cold weather, the plot bunnies have multiplied and are running amok.

Time to wrangle those bunnies and figure things out once and for all.

Or at least until the next (great) idea comes along…