Keeping (the) Things (mostly) in Order

For those keeping score, (in the midst of the ever popular FIFA Word Cup) the [recently] mentioned odds of a potential prequel series have tipped back to its starting point  – well almost: the likelihood of an additional series has grown (diminished?) to be an (almost) even 64.9%, whether in favor or not is still under debate.

[Note: The numbers mentioned are quite arbitrary, plucked randomly from my imagination, probably in the same pot /head space from which most of my ideas spring forth.]

Anyway.

Rather than add another series to the ever expansive series saga (though there could be enough fodder to support one), I probably should be focusing my resources, energy and whatnot to the [quasi] existing trilogy of series. As the Melancholy (and indecisive) Prince once proclaimed (via the immortal Bard):

“The time is out of joint; O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!”

So be it with I.

Hopefully.

Since each series within the saga has (thus far) been plotted to take place within a specific time period [late 19th, early 20th and mid-21st centuries, respectively] fitting in a new series set centuries before the first, while doable, adds complications upon complications, especially if there’s some alternate/parallel universe action going on. Of course, I *could* interweave snippets of expository history within the series saga, but then again, these days “everyone” like to read about action scenes, love angles and stuff like that – linear storytelling with a happy ending (or, given the popularity of A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones, multiple, concurrent storytelling with gratuitous violence, explicit sex and the other sundry things that go along with fantasy sagas).

I recently finished reading the first two books of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga, and (finally!) watched the first season of the HBO show [yes, I know I’ve come very late to this party – I usually do], immersing myself in the land of Westeros and the War of the Five Kings: (inevitably) the books and TV show left a lasting impression on the shaping of the MASC Chronicles, about which (for those who have been carefully following this blog over the past year or so) I have been very vague.

Maybe one day (some day) I’ll write more about what my series saga will entail, but this is not that day.

As this blog title suggests, I need to focus on keeping things in order (alternate/parallel history inclusive or not) and get (back) to the Actual Writing of the Stories, Development of Characters [and mapping out their respective family trees] and Plotting out the Plots. Sequence of events is Paramount, with causality and consequence as close runners-up, and yet…

The Land of Exposition is calling (again) – only when one knows where their characters have come from, and why things in their lives happen, can one truly know where one’s characters are/should be going – that kinda sounds like a proverb or something (maybe it is, who knows?)

But I digress. Somewhat.

Order and method shall be my guide in the coming weeks – fitting, as the final batch of Poirot episodes are (finally) due to air in the US in those coming weeks (after the [long-awaited] second series of Endeavour).

So enough blathering here, and back to the plotting, pondering and (hopefully and inevitably) writing (the narratives and those writing prompts).

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The (Possible) Birth of a New Series…

Well, at least the [potential] birth of a prequel series within the (now ever-expanding) series saga (still) known as the MASC Chronicles – thankfully this designation does not limit the number of stories or series within the saga, i.e. it’s not a trilogy (though many, many, many moons ago it started out as one) or any other set number of stories (though again, I had planned on writing 36 separate tales, mainly novels, and perhaps a short story collection or a series of novellas, with the inevitable play and/or screenplay adaptation).

Looks like the percentages quoted in last week’s entry have reversed, all within a week’s time – things have a way of happening in my crazed imagination.

Nevertheless.

With all my expository pondering (and delving deeper into the A Song of Ice and FireGame of Thrones series), character building (reshuffling and rebuilding) and (alternate/parallel) history making,  it’s got me thinking (again) about sequence of events, causality and consequences. Of course, a good deal of this pondering is really (essentially) the foundation within which each mystery tale is set – window dressing, as it were – (thus far) the musings, plotting and pondering about historical [alternate, parallel or actual] events may not actually have a direct impact on the narrative itself, but instead serve as the context/reality within which things happen for various reasons. All along the genre in which these stories are set is mystery, with dabbles into fantasy, horror and [actual/alternate/parallel] historical fiction, the charting out of which has preoccupied me (probably) for far too long; I have a pretty firm grasp of the overall summary of each story in the first series, and the various character and plot arcs within, yet (as the saying goes) the devil’s in the details.

 

As to the aforementioned [probable/possible] prequel series, for which I really want to blame George R.R. Martin for acting as the inadvertent catalyst, but I won’t as his in-depth storytelling and interweaving a swarm of characters and cultures is absolutely brilliant, albeit confusing at times remembering who’s who and to which House they are allied, and where they are relative to what’s going on in the story.

But I digress.

Anyway.

Since the notion of the alternate/parallel universe, diverging from the real universe at a very specific and significant point in world history has found its way to my (quasi-amusing) Muses, the prequel series would be set not too long after the Diverging Point in World History [purposely not using the word “divergent” in this instance, even though it’s the correct (?) word to use, so as to not conjure up connections with the Divergent novel series], dealing with the immediate consequences of the aforementioned non-fixed point in Time, as the (quasi) established series is set centuries afterwards. Thus the genealogical trees of several families will need to be mapped out, and even more exposition will need to be created/altered.

While I had (nearly) dismissed this notion [see last week’s entry], it now seems almost logical that this “twist” should be instilled in my series saga, if only to differentiate it (hopefully) from what’s already been published. As for the historical research (to get the facts right when I’m not getting them “wrong”  to accommodate the Diverging Point in World History), I might leave that for when I starting making edits, as I really, really should get to the actual writing, or rather extracting the narrative already written in my imagination and writing/typing it out. I know there are several people out there (in the dark) wanting to know what strange and fantastical stories reside in my over-imaginative head space.

Also, I know I’ve been slacking on those Writing Prompt entries – I have a strong feeling that the majority of them will be snippets related to the ever-expanding MASC Chronicles Universe.

I guess it’s time to get (back) to the writing.

Reading For Research

In my (seemingly) never-ending quest of researching, pondering and plotting the Epic Saga [eventually I’ll get all the ducks in a row and actually get to the writing portion of this quest. Really.], the likelihood of adding an alternate historical twist to the series saga has gone from being 89.6% to about 36.8%, all within the span of about two weeks (or so). More times than not, if the (usually quasi-random) interest in a story idea, plot twist, character arc, etc. does not lead to the  subsequent development of the aforementioned component within two weeks, the impetus to pursue that component wanes dramatically. So it’s not too surprising that I have so many false starts, discarded plot devices and lost characters (though some plot devices and/or characters find a way back to the forefront, though sometimes to fall back into the Abyss of the Writer’s Trunk).

*thoughts of that quasi-meta story series emerge once again* Maybe I should focus on that series, as I seem to be stuck/overwhelmed with the vast, almost George R. R. Martin-level intricacy of epic storytelling…

But I digress.

Yet again.

So this week, instead of researching specific historical events to bend and twist (twist and bend?) into the MASC Chronicles, I’ve taken to reading other works of fiction to ascertain (kinda) and analyze (sorta) different writing styles and tone so as to figure out how to approach my stories (many of which reside in my head, nearly almost fully formed). To wit, (as mentioned previously) I’ve immersed myself in the land of Westeros, [a.k.a The Song of Ice and Fire series, of course better known as Game of Thrones] – currently I’m about a quarter into the second novel A Clash of Kings; for those who have not read the novels (and only know the story via the HBO series), the story unfolds from the third person limited perspective of one character (denoted at the start of each chapter), wherein multiple storylines are woven together, and the reader only sees/knows what that chapter’s character experiences. This style is easier to follow than expected, given the breadth of characters, places and other elements of the story – thankfully, there’s an appendix at the end of each book that lists all the different Houses and all the characters within, so as to keep track of who’s who (and their current state of being – living, deceased, captured, etc.).

Needless  to say, it’s a storytelling perspective, I’m almost tempted to employ (as my own Epic Saga Series has grown exponentially over the years) yet it’s an idea that lived (and died) within hours of mulling over it. My series saga (as it stands now) isn’t really one epic journey with multiple interweaving storylines/characters – there’s no Iron Throne up for grabs… though actually, thinking about it, there is (or might be) something a host of characters want to obtain…

Huh. That was quasi-unexpected.

Anyway.

I’ve also returned to (re) reading Agatha Christie, mainly the Poirot stories, as most of them are written in first person perspective (the style/perspective I chose to employ for the first two series – the third series might employ  the multiple character third person limited perspective), again to research/explore the tone, style (and so forth). As I’ve mentioned before, writing in first person is a new experience, and proving to be problematic, as I haven’t (really) decided which of my (two) protagonists will ultimately be the narrator (well, I kinda have a sense, but again, there’s the exposition to think about, and where/when/how exactly to start). I almost want to return to the third person (omniscient or limited) perspective – as it’s the perspective I’ve written most of my stories thus far – yet, I’m determined to stick to first person perspective, first as a challenge to myself to (at least) attempt it (so far it seems I’m not winning) and also to pay homage to the mystery writers I admire, who wrote in first person.

Again, I’m probably (most likely) over-thinking all of this, and I really should just get down to the writing (or rather extract the narrative from my brain space) and figure out everything else later.

If only I could.

I always have the urge to know WHY things happen, and HOW things are meant to play out.

Oh well, back to reading/research.

Again.

Research and Revisions

Still immersed in the realm of world building and character development, contemplating whether or not the idea of adding more fantasy-like elements (inspired by my sudden interest in the A Song of Ice and Fire [aka Game of Thrones] series, I’ve hardly had time to stop and do any actual writing. I’ve also (once again) returned to re-reading my (about 85% completed) first  attempt at writing a novel, which at the time was to be (at most) a book trilogy, and will most likely be the basis of the first few novels of the second series of the MASC Chronicles. Of course, as it’s a first draft (written many, many years ago, shamelessly “borrowing” elements from already published  novel), it will need to be heavily revised, and adapted so as to fit into the (alternate) world in the current series saga – a feat I may attempt for the July session of Camp NaNoWritMo (another month-long endeavor to complete a novel, albeit with a self-chosen word count).

I know I should be focusing on the first series of the series saga and not jump too far ahead, yet all the world building, character development, pondering, plotting and so forth has left me (literally) dizzy with too many ideas swarming in my head. Exposition on expository events have left me confused and anxious about the outcome and whether or not I’ll ever complete writing the first novel, let alone the entire series saga. Too many ideas, not nearly enough time to focus and sort through them all. I know I really should stop “complaining” about all this and just get to writing, and also back to those writing prompts, which also have left me pondering about how they might fit within the series saga world, as that series saga is most prevalent in my mind.

I wonder if other established authors work through this conundrum (presuming they also have these anxieties and stuff) – as it’s already been noted here, I’m very much a Plotter and not so much a Pantser, needing to know everything about everyone and why things are they way they are. Perhaps if I let (it) go – the need to know why – I might be able to move forward.

Easier said (written) than done, I suppose.

Nevertheless, I do have a general idea of how each series will play out and how each series will be interconnected with one another; as I plot (in my head) all these things, the balance between genres continues – I need to refocus on the mystery element and less on the fantasy elements (as they were never really part of the original story (short and incomplete novel).

It’s the finer details I need to iron out.

Enough of this – back to plotting, pondering and (hopefully) writing I go.