Alternate Universes, Alternate History

Among the merits of creating stories is the ability to have the option to create worlds (and words) different from the reality in which one is currently living.  Perhaps a kind of utopia where things can be the way it should/could be, a divergence from real world events, a world where aliens, supernatural beings and/or mythical creatures exist alongside “normal” humans, or a mix of all of the above. It’s a marvelous thing to have the ability to imagine and to create such worlds, characters and situations where anything and everything can happen, regardless of its plausibility.

After all, the reality in which we live in now (for the most part) isn’t all that great, and frankly, it’s quite frightful to contemplate how the present future will unfold given how world events are going.

It’s also quite apparent that no one is learning from the past, as history keeps repeating itself, and it seems no one wants to take that first step to fix the problem (or in some cases acknowledge that there is a problem). The purpose of this entry is not to launch into a sociopolitical rant about the state of things in this world (so many others have already via other social media platforms) but to highlight the possibilities available through storytelling to bring forth some kind of change (or at least a different perspective).

In the midst of reading about world events unfolding in 2016, the notion of creating an alternate universe with its own alternate history for the MASC Chronicles has made a comeback return. The idea of being able to create an alternate world in which to inhabit (at least in a fictional sense) is one way to escape the trials and tribulations of Real Life (and the pesky Real Life Brigade being all passive aggressive in the Land of Exposition – the Muses are not amused, though the plot bunnies are habitually amused, but they amuse easily.)

Anyway.

The plotting and pondering, as well as the potential research into how the Left Turn in real world history could/should/would play out is underway, albeit within the confines of the mind. Steampunk is an option from which to use as a basis for Series One of the MASC Chronicles, but it almost seems as if that’s already been done (and probably done better). Instead, the starting point from which real history will diverge will most likely be earlier and hopefully will be a divergence that hasn’t been done before. Whether or not the alternate history will continue through to Series Two and/or Series Three is questionable yet not improbable.

Then again, the possibility of an alternate universe/history of an alternate universe/history is tempting – and mind boggling to say the least.

And all the more fun to attempt.

 

A (Quasi) Different Kind of Writing

So here we are (once again) nearing the end of another year, and this writer’s journey has moved a snail’s pace, at least in terms of actual!writing – a smattering of plotting and pondering has happened intermittently, with inadvertent digressions, inevitable distractions and illuminating diversions. There are only so many hours in a day, and there’s never enough time to get the things that need to get done done before other things start to appear to that take up time to get done.

In short, it’s a perpetual cycle of deadlines and diversions on all fronts. Between the Real Life Brigade causing organized chaos, causing the Muses and Plot Bunnies to scramble about in an effort to find some order amid the chaos, and the newly discovered (?) bugs in the FanGirl Meter (patent pending) causing glitches in its basic programming and letting melodrama and smut pass through unnoticed, things in the Land of Exposition are… interesting. It’s also the odd sensation that there isn’t a new episode of Doctor Who this week from where to draw inspiration or insight, which has happened every now and then in the past few weeks (though there’ll be the Christmas Special in a few weeks’ time, and I’m looking forward to seeing how River Song interacts with Twelve).

Anyway.

As I’ve kept up with writing for the blog throughout the trials and tribulations that is the attempt to actually!write, there have been many (well, one person thus far) who have pointed out that I’m quite good at writing essays (or whatever the heck these quasi-random musings are called) – they’re not quite fiction, not quite non-fiction, but they’re (apparently) amusing and entertaining. There are metaphors amid the meta-ness of whatever travels that (seemingly long) distance from my head through my fingers and on to WordPress – as I’ve always written these entries directly into the site itself and rarely ever edit/reread before hitting “publish” (unless it’s a blatant spelling/grammatical error). If I spent less time plotting and pondering and actually!wrote my stories the way I write this blog, then I’d have a several novels written (albeit probably not ready for Prime Time, as they’d be quasi-random streams of thought which would need a whole lot of editing and stuff like that.

[Like editing the “stuff like that” stuff – it’s almost like writing the way I talk, with bouts of repetition, non-sequitur and quasi-random musical / pop culture references.]

Then again, writing is an art and a science [scientific art, artistic science? Who knows?] and it’s crafty and it’s precise. It’s a jumble of words stung together with imagination and wit. Even though I haven’t written as much as I would have hope to have written, it’s still an objective towards which I would like to aspire – to write something of value (whether it be entertainment, inspirational or maybe sentimental remains to be seen).

Six days until The Force Awakens.

May the Force Be With Us All.

A (Mini) Tour of the Land of Exposition [Part 1]

There’s a place tucked away in the depths of the shadow dimensions of a parallel pocket universe, where time and space are shifting on a quasi-regular basis, and things are never quite as they seem. A place where change is inevitable and order is an illusion. No one knows how to get there, yet (almost) everyone finds themselves there at some point in their lives. For some, it’s a brief (rest)stop on their journey; for others, it’s akin to the Hotel California: “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”. Then there are those who might never find this place, despite (or because of) their efforts in searching for this mythical/mystical paragon of a Utopia.

Then again, maybe it’s all just a state of mind.

This is a place where ideas are created and destroyed, a place where left turns are prevalent to “boldly go where no man one has gone before”.

Welcome to the Land of Exposition.

Maybe.

~~~~~~~~~

For all my blathering about the Land of Exposition and the various locales within – the Character Development Inn (with its excellent coffee bar), the quasi-new Plotting and Pondering Annex and other places no doubt mentioned in passing (I’d probably have to go back to reread past blog entries to recall any of those) – I might as well (attempt to) present a brief, quasi-guided tour of this mystical/mythical land that is otherwise known (in certain quarters perhaps) as my personal Mind Palace.

[Quasi-disclaimer: At this point, I’m basically making up everything as I go along, and no doubt regular readers of this blog – if there are any out there – will note any description inconsistencies from those aforementioned previous blog entries, as I don’t have the time to research what I’ve already imparted about this place aside from what I can remember off the top of my head. As stated earlier, things here are always in flux, yet one day someday, I’ll get around to making all of this Canon.]

So, where to start? Let’s see – there are no formal marked roads in and/or out of this realm, people just show up (and sometimes leave) whenever they need to be there. It’s almost like the Room of Requirement from the Harry Potter book series, except it’s not (specifically) located in a grand castle cloaked from the general (non-magical) population.

I think.

Anyway.

One of the prominent features in the Land of Exposition is the (fabled) Character Development Inn, where (obviously) characters are created, enhanced, altered, shelved or (in rare cases) expunged from existence. It’s a cozy place, with a crackling fireplace, a well stocked (coffee) bar and  gourmet restaurant where all types of cuisine (real or otherwise) is available at a moment’s notice. There are 36 rooms (nine of which are luxury suites) all with reliable high speed wi-fi enabled (though Netflix, and certain social media websites are password protected and require specific high security clearance to access). There’s a fully equipped gym (and on-site personal trainers) and an Olympic sized swimming pool and adjacent lounge area. Of course, there’s a TARDIS sized library (it’s SO much bigger on the inside) that has universal lighting turned on 24/7 (so there’s no need to count any shadows), and a grand ballroom with a splendid (Secure!) chandelier and luxurious staircase leading down to a immaculately tiled dance floor (all the better to tango upon).

The staff are well versed in many languages, chock-full of random (and sometimes) useful information and are open-minded (to a point) regarding the content created/altered/destroyed within its halls/walls.

There’s even a quasi-friendly (gender fluid) ghost lurking about – for no apparent reason – who can help or hinder depending on his/her whimsy. He/She likes to be called Bob.

As the clock tower strikes, the mini tour has come to an abrupt end, as the Muses (another quasi-friendly fixture at the Character Development Inn) are waving their arms about in a haphazard fashion, demanding attention.

Again.

Attention must be paid.

Perhaps in the next installment (should there be one, and it’s quasi-likely there will be), there will be a further exploration into the Character Development Inn, and there might (!) even be an in-depth tour of the quasi-famous and almost notorious FanGirl Meter (patent pending).

TTFN!

Pondering and Plotting

With my focus (somewhat) split between pondering over what to write for the Writing Prompt Project and plotting the narrative for my novel(s), it’s no surprise that I’ve fallen behind in actually writing anything substantial. Yes, I’m quasi-aware that I’ve mentioned my lack of progress in other blog entries, and I probably should not be devoting yet another blog entry about it, but it’s a topic that remains prevalent in my mind, alongside the various plot lines and characters that are to appear in the epic MASC Chronicles series saga. The undertaking of the Writing Prompt project has compelled me to think about what kinds of scenes would fit each prompt (though technically speaking, I could write mini essays instead), which has led to thinking about situations and character introspection that occur throughout the saga, including incidents and characters I have yet to fully develop.

I’m probably over thinking all of this, as I’ve discovered with overwhelming certainty that I am a plotter and not a pantser – I spend (far too much) time outlining narrative arcs and character development, always wanting to have a clear idea (or at least as clear as possible) of where the series arc is headed, if only to mitigate too many left turns and plot twists. As the series saga has been set up to be a (somewhat) linear one, with generational links between each series, with ample use of cause an effect, over a large span of time, there almost needs to be military precision in the plan of attack (so to speak – I’m not even sure if that’s the correct metaphor to use, but it does sound impressive…)

Anyway.

In my pondering and plotting the series saga, the brief excerpts that have been posted thus far do not (and probably will not) appear in any of the novels I intend to write. The way I had envisioned their function is that they are the incidents and introspection that happen before or in between the stories that are to be written, and thus far they have served as potential springboards of ideas for the novels in the later series.

Or at least I hope that is how they are perceived.

Then there’s the additional pondering about two possible plot twists that can/should be employed, and hinted at throughout the series saga, influenced mainly by some of my more recent fixations. I could say more about it, but…

*Spoilers* 

Enough pondering and plotting and writing about pondering and plotting – time to start writing (and editing).

Doubts, Worries, and Introspection

OK, so this entry is actually going to be quasi-random musings that will most likely come across as quasi-coherent rambling (and if you haven’t noticed yet, I do like to use the word “quasi” a lot.). It’s rather belatedly come to my attention that while the title of this blog is “Musings of a Mystery Novelist”, a good amount of the blog entries read more like mini essays on whatever topic I chose to write – much of the text sounding quasi (yes, there’s that word again) academic, citing instances where a particular element or theme has appeared in other people’s work, be it in novels, theater, television and/or film.

Sometimes I wonder why I write this blog at all – or if anyone is actually reading it – I do regularly check the stats on a daily basis to see how many views the blog (and any given blog entry) receives. WordPress has robust analytic data in that regard, which is great and also disheartening at times; many writers, both aspiring and published, have blogs dedicated to their works, or the process by which he/she functions to produce that work (or at least makes an attempt to do so).

As stated in previous blogs, I’ve been writing on and off for many, many years and only recently started to share some of my thoughts about it. I’m also fairly new to blogging as well  – my first blog focused on my experiences at live theater and with theatrical actors (which can be found here), and interestingly it wasn’t until a few weeks into blogging about my theatrical experiences that I realized that what I was writing was being read publicly, and that it was truly the first time I had published (so to speak) any of my writing (albeit not totally fictional in nature). I’m quite introverted and self-conscious about my writing of (which is one of the few things I’m genuinely proud) and the comments that have been left for my theater blog, as well as this blog (however few) have been encouraging, but (as the title of the blog clearly states) I have my doubts and worries about how my writing will be received (or whether I’ll have the nerve to ever post any excerpts of any of the novels of which I am plotting, pondering and writing. I’m quite sure these kinds of thoughts have crossed many an author’s mind, published or not, and most of my insecurities are probably just in my head.

Maybe.

Oh, and on a quasi-better (maybe) note, I’ve finally gotten around to reading Dean Koontz’s novel 77 Shadow Street (the novel which I had discovered a while back had nearly the same premise as an unfinished novel I had written) – I had borrowed this novel roughly a month ago, and had every intention of reading it, but was distracted by Dan Brown’s latest novel Inferno (which had been released earlier in the year, and of which I had placed a request at my local library). The latter novel was a gripping read, full of twists and turns (though I do lament the potential disaster the film adaptation will be, given how film adaptations of novels are never really that faithful to the source material). Nevertheless, having finished that novel, my attention has returned to 77 Shadow Street, which is the first Dean Koontz novel I have read (though not on purpose – I do tend to read a wide range of genres, and authors within those genres, and I just never really got around to reading his novels)

But I digress.

Anyway, as I’ve stated to delve into the narrative of this novel, it does seem (thus far) that the details within the premise of 77 Shadow Street is different enough from what I had written (and will soon re-read and edit, as I do plan to include that unfinished novel, or at least aspects of it, into my MASC Chronicles saga) – so at least that’s good. So far.

Well, back to writing, plotting and pondering.