Category Archives: Writing

A Literary Update

It seems like the posts on this blog just get farther and farther apart! It’s been several months since the last post here, and every post that punctuates the void of this blog is falsely optimistic about future updates, so I’ll try to avoid that here.

It has been, unfortunately, a rough few months, and a very busy one for me academically. I’ve neglected by literary side in favor of my academic side, unfortunately, but I am now more stable on my academic feet (and I have a new shiny academic website here), so I can turn back to my literary efforts. Of course, my inability to focus on one project for long enough to get anything substantial written has also hampered my output, as well as my constant reworking of my central work-in-progress, the infamous Dreadship Omnipotence.

Once again, the current incarnation of Dreadship Omnipotence is mostly unrecognizable, and has even been renamed (for now) to Spirits of Eidolon, which I am also reformulating as a longer series of much shorter novels. The cast of characters is largely the same, but the world is now very different. While many of the previous world’s themes are there – such as my ever-present theme of deicide – the new primary focus of the novel is the different paths humanity might evolve down in the future. Through the lens of pirates and politics, I look at a world in which mankind was separated, and then reunited centuries -in some cases millennia – later, with each Tribe of humanity having evolved into something that the other Tribes barely recognize as human.

This remains my “primary” work in progress, though I am trying to alternate work on this with work on a shorter novel/novella inspired by the game Sunless Sea, which is tentatively titled Sea of Souls. It is a very… bizarre story, but I’m interested to see where it goes!

Without being falsely optimistic, I am going to try to post more, and I’ll try to start in several days with my thoughts on two books I have recently finished; Clarke’s Against the Fall of Night and Bester’s The Stars My Destination/Tiger Tiger!

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Posted by on March 13, 2017 in Personal, Writing


A Whole New Novel!

Well, sort of, at least.

My last post was on the recent crisis in world-building I had been having with my current main work-in-progress, Dreadship Omnipotence. Since that post, the crisis has spiralled out of control, to becoming a plot-construction crisis, and then finally a character crisis.

It turned out I was telling the wrong story.

The moment of epiphany came shortly after my reworking of the plot and its central elements, and I turned to thinking about how the changes in the world and plot would affect the characters. I quickly came to the conclusion that the heart of the problem was that I had the wrong protagonist.

Why was Idim Jyn, dashing captain of the Lysandra, the wrong protagonist, you ask? There were several reasons:

-He was a walking cliche, and much of his personality was based off of Captain Korso from Don Bluth’s Titan A.E. (a great film if you haven’t seen it; go watch it now and come back to this post later) and Firefly‘s Mal.
-He was, ultimately, kind of an asshole/would develop into one, and while I liked some elements of his character, I could see other elements of it becoming huge annoyances for me as a writer, and potentially for readers, later on.
-He did not really fit in with the world I’d built; he was a little bit too much of an oddity.
-Perhaps most seriously, he was setting himself up to be too passive. The way his past was constructed, his lowly status, and his lack of ambition meant that he would be taking a backseat to the interesting stuff. And after my first (terrible) trilogy with a similar protagonist, I didn’t want to do that again.

So, Idim Jyn was bumped out of the main protagonist role. He’s still in the story, just not as the captain of the ship. Who replaced him, you asked? A character who was originally a villain: Seraph Gavriela Adenai, more widely known as Ghosteye Spectra, the captain of the Eidolon.

Seraph/Spectra is a much more interesting, and less cliche, character than Idim. Her introduction showcases that; she is much more willing to kill than Idim is, she has an interesting way of killing, a pair of pistols that allow her to shoot through walls and download the consciousnesses of those she kills, and she has a strange ability that will form part of the core of what will become the Dreadship Trilogy: the ability to see through everything. Unlike Idim, a low-life smuggler at the bottom of the social heap, Spectra is a feared and respected pirate and assassin, with a great deal of influence in the underworld. Unlike Idim, she is in a position to get things done. And, on top of all of that, she has a burning ambition inside of her. Unlike Idim, who was to bumble his way through discovering the godlike power he had acquired, Spectra will embrace that power, use it, and direct it. Spectra is not bumbling; she is much more competent, yet deeply flawed in a way Idim was not. She is, in some a much deeper and more unique character.

Unfortunately, this shift in character did entail a drastic shift in the plot and world of the novel, and also prompted me to reconfigure my characters. I previously had a main cast of between ten and twelve main characters, depending on what you defined as “main.” I have now cut it down significantly, to six and a half: Spectra herself, her first mate and navigator Tathal Litenz, her cyborg engineer Melkorh, her software specialist and resident hacker Idim Jyn (told you he was still here!), the orphan artist Lemi, their “temporary” sniper Khoresh Eylkaum (though she just might be cut as well), and the half-main character, the crew’s part-time intern Obri Hathorken. The previously larger cast has been distilled into these six and a half figures.

The plot itself has also changed, but I won’t say much on that at the moment. More dramatically, the world has changed significantly. It still has the same general outline – it’s still a cyberpunk space opera – but a few elements have changed substantially. The major change revolves around the plot’s central theme: human evolution and godhood. Namely, transhumanism and posthumanism are much more pronounced now, and instead of one god-type figure being present as the antagonist, the entire universe is set against the backdrop of a host of powerful “godlings” that mankind created to protect itself from… well, ultimately, from themselves. It’s quite a different world, and it feels much fuller and better put together now, and all of the pieces are falling into place!

This does mean, however, that I have to start over largely from scratch. I have, however, already completed the first chapter, and am working on the second now, and writing it is a lot easier! Before I leave you to get back to work, I’ll leave you with two things: the updates synopsis, and my rough sketch of the new protagonist, Ghosteye Spectra (excuse my poor artistic abilities!):

Humanity stands on the brink of the Third Godwar, a conflict that will end human history and set the race on a new evolutionary path. As the godlings that rule over humanity prepare for war, a powerful weapon capable of killing a god falls into the hands of an ambitious space pirate, who soon finds herself standing at the crossroads of humanity’s future.



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Posted by on June 15, 2016 in Writing


A Crisis in World-Building

As always, I’m horrible at updating this blog, and similarly horrible at updating my wordcount, on which I have fallen miserably short this month. The good news is I actually have written some things, so now the wordcount bar has a little bit of blue in it! The bad news is that total it’s only about 600 words, and it was in my secondary WIP, the steampunk short story collection currently titled Darke, about a gunmage named Fineas Darke.

This woefully low amount of words, and no words added to my main WIP, Dreadship Omnipotence, does not mean I haven’t actually been working on the project! On the contrary, I’ve actually been more active this month so far in thinking about what’s going in to the project than I have for the last three (months)! This work has been primarily in the realm of expanding the world, and recording the political and social development of the universe in more detail. I’ve also done a lot of thinking about the series’ (it will be trilogy) overarching antagonist, the Basilisk, as well as the minor antagonists building up to it. So, the backdrop against which most of the plot takes place is becoming more well-developed, which is a sort of progress, even if not in the form of words contributing to the draft!

Unfortunately, this progress has also somewhat paralyzed me with regards to writing. As I was building the world, it started to actually feel less and less realistic to me, and I began to doubt if it was really a good world. Some things stopped making sense, and I’ve rewritten a lot of earlier background, but I’m not even sure how much of what I have I will keep. I’m fairly certain about the antagonist structure I’ve built up; what I’m unsure about is the political entities of the world of Dreadship Omnipotence, and in particular their discrete nature. Hence, I’m having what I’m thinking of as a confidence crisis in world-building, that I want to resolve before I continue writing more in that world (and I still fully intend to do so).

As it is, there are four polities in the world: one hyper-surveillance state, one loosely bureaucratic theocratic state, one loose political confederation, and then a whole bunch of autonomous communities collectively grouped together. Though these divisions made some sense at first, they seem to me to be increasingly artificial and difficult to work with, especially given the interstellar-cyberpunkesque setting. The borders between polities seem a little bit too strong and real, I think is my issue, especially given the ubiquity of various internets interposed across borders, with real control over it largely impossible (save in the hyper-surveillance state). My issue, I think, is that I am clinging to perhaps an outmoded notion of “state” here; one that is tied to specific territoriality.

I think, then, that what I need to do is rethink what the state, in this world, actually would look like, and blur the boundaries between them far more. Part of the project of the series is now, I think, to reimagine the state and nation in a distant, cyberpunk, interstellar future. Rather than dividing up the universe into discrete polities with clear boundaries, I think it might be more productive – and might flow and fit in with the story better – if the entire universe of mankind was made to more closely match the “Communes” polities (the autonomous collectivities), with the other polities I had envisioned existing more as freeflowing “imagined communities” (to borrow from Benedict Anderson) or maybe some form of digital-political community instead, with the borders being largely social instead of physical. This would also give me room to play with the overlap of spatial borders (through space travel) with the social borders of states, which could be a lot of fun!

So, while I’m working through this crisis, progress will assuredly be slow, and once I’ve finished, I’ll need to rework earlier writing to mesh in with the new world; though I might wait until I’ve finished the first draft to come back to it. Though at the same time, the world is so thoroughly woven into parts of the story, that might not be possible. Whatever happens, we’ll see, and hopefully soon I can actually get writing again (should I be able to find the time)!

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Posted by on March 19, 2016 in Writing


NaNoWriMo and the Dreadship

Hi everyone! It’s been quite a while since I posted here (and I have failed to write anything about Ghost in the Shell as promised yet), and I am still incredibly busy with academic and teaching work (as my spotty Eldritch Wastes updates can attest to), but in the midst of all of that I still managed to find time for my favorite annual writing drive: that, of course, being National Novel Writing Month!

Usually I put up a blog post about NaNoWriMo before it happens, but this year I was so busy I did not know I was going to actually attempt it until November 1, when the event starts, and I attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Before 2015, I’d tried and succeeded for six years (since 2009) to do so, and in 2015, I managed to pull it off again!

This year, I added significantly onto my major project, Dreadship Omnipotence, my cyberpunk space opera that I know think is a combination of Neuromancer, Firefly, Hyperion, and One Piece, following the adventures of a rather dark crew of pirates in a cyberpunk future when mankind has spread out among the stars and begun to evolve down different paths.

After about 86,000 words, the main plot finally got started (so the first bit will probably need substantial trimming), as the characters are established and all of the pieces are set in motion for the (planned) trilogy. I had a few moments of self-doubt during the process (the world is a little bit strange; how often do you see a Space Druid Empire?), but I am now confident in the overall direction the plot is heading in, though I still struggle with translating my master, overarching big picture into relatable scenes!

The draft of the novel is currently at 106,890 words, and is probably a little less than halfway done, so it needs a bit more work! I was greatly inspired by this year’s attempt, though, so I’m hoping I can keep some momentum going throughout the rest of the year, and am going to try – though perhaps fail – to write 20,000 words in it a month until I finish it (for a total of 5,000 a week and 715 words a day). Wish me luck!

And for your patience, dear readers, have an excerpt from Dreadship Omnipotence, introducing the first set of antagonists:


“I don’t see why we don’t just kill the Gaian scientists,” a voice said over the intercom. “They’re irritating thorns in our sides, and they won’t resist us at all. They’d die in seconds. In fact, all I really have to do is shut off their power…”

“Not until the boss says we can,” came the reply. This second speaker was leaning back on a couch, his body having sunk halfway through the couch, his arms resting on the couches back. He grinned, and his sunglasses glinted in the artificial light of the lounge, matching briefly his bald brown head. “They serve a purpose for us, Ugo; they keep even more prying eyes from looking for us here. Need I remind you that Sovstel is still trying to root us out. Us, the last checks to their authority and ‘voluntary’ domination over the Communes? The last hold of big-league piracy in all of jaynic space?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ugo responded over the intercom. “But who knows our name outside of the Communes? The Imperium doesn’t consider us a threat, the Seven Nations ignore us, and I doubt the Dominion even knows we exist!”

“The Communes aren’t enough for you, Ugie?” the man said. He laughed deeply. “Galactic domination will come later, man. The Communes are the future of transhumanity, of all of the jayns. The Communes are where the most daring progress is made, where technology and science triumph, where new forms of social organization are tested, where societies are made and destroyed every day. The Communes are the laboratory of mankind, and they’ve produced their monster.” He grinned again, and showed a brilliant set of sparkling white ivories. “And we are that monster, Ugo. Our Pirate Queen will lead us to victory, first over the Communes as we build our power, and then the others will fall before they know what hit them. The Imperium will be crushed before they see or acknowledge our power, the Seven Nations will drown in their own blood as they turn to look behind them, and the Dominion will capitulate in the face of our endless might.”

“Very poetic, Edak,” came another voice from the edge of the lounge. The big man on the couch turned to look in the direction of the voice, and frowned at the sight of a small woman wearing a sparkling red dress. She sashayed over to him and plopped down on the couch next to him. “Have you considered a change of career? You could smash the market as a poet, even on Polymnia,.”

“Shut up, Emryn,” Edak growled. He moved his arms and slid away from her. “What are you doing here, anyway? I thought you were on Inarkus.”

“I have a body over there,” the said. “But I shipped my consciousness over here for our very important meeting with Mistress Syntha. Wouldn’t miss our little chat for the world.”

Edak growled wordlessly. Ugo snickered over the loudspeaker system. “Look, the gang’s almost back together again. Just missing Specs.”

“Yeah, she won’t be coming,” Emryn said, tossing her hair back. “Not sure what she’s up to; she wouldn’t say, and Syntha’s not talking much either. Something about the Dominion.”

“Probably a deep cover infiltration,” Edak rumbled. “Scoping out our final enemy.”

“Queenie’s pet,” Ugo said.

The door opposite the one that Emryn had entered through clicked. Edak and Emryn’s eyes both flicked over to it as it hissed open. “Seems she’s ready,” Edak said. He stood up with a groan. “Gonna need a new bod soon. This one’s getting old.”

“Oh, don’t complain,” Emryn said, still lounging. “That one’s got a few years left in it. You can’t just go hopping bodies every couple years.”

“Like you’re one to talk,” Edak said. He began walking toward the open door, and Emrn followed a few moments later at her own leisurely pace. A moment after her, a small floating camera followed. The door closed behind them.

The man, the woman, and the camera stood – and floated – above the floor of an enormous room. Ath the far side of the room was a throne on a raised dais, surrounded by a chaotic mass of pipes, many of which were spewing steam from half-opened valves.

A figure sat on that throne, wreathed in an impenetrable darkness that not even the most advanced cyberoptic filters could pierce. “Thank you for answering my summons,” a voice said from that darkness. The voice resonated and filled the entire throne room, echoing with vast amounts of power. “We have decided on our next course of action.”

Emryn stood, arms crossed, while Edak let his arms hang limpy by his sides. “And what is it that you want us to do, Queen Syntha?”

“It is not what you all will do, Secundus, at least not all at once. You and Tercerus will stay here, continuing to organize the Project here and acquire more resources for our future empire.”

“And Primus isn’t involved, is she?” Emryn asked.

“No, she will not be,” said the voice from the darkness. “The first task will fall to you, Quartus.”

Emryn blinked and laid a hand across her breast. “Me?”

“Yes, you. You have a body on Inarkus right now. You are to return to that body. And then you are to steal a certain ship.”

Emryn looked puzzled. “A ship? Just one ship? Not a fleet?”

“This one ship that you shall steal will be worth thousands – nay, millions – of lesser vessels.”

“O… kay,” Emryn said. “And how am I supposed to take this super-ship?”

“That is entirely up to your discretion, Quartus.”

“Alright, so what’s this ship called? Where is it?”

“It currently goes under the name of the Lysandra, under the command of one Idim Jyn,” Syntha said from the darkness. “And it is currently guarded only by one man; their engineer. It lies in orbit above Goldenspire, while the rest of the crew is down on the surface.”

“That shouldn’t be hard,” Emryn said. “I’m on Silverstar now, so I’ll take a quick shuttle-ride over to orbit. Is there a way for me to identify it?”

“It should already have been sent to your consciousness,” Syntha said.

“Oh, thanks!” Emryn said. “And should I bring it here when I get it?”

“Yes,” Syntha said. “And when you do, then we can finally emerge from hiding.”

From a speaker in the camera, Ugo laughed. Edak grinned, and Emryn smiled.

“You are dismissed until then,” Syntha said. “Be gone.” The two humans bowed and the floating camera lowered its altitude.

“As you wish, my Queen,” Emryn said, eyes glinting.

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Posted by on November 28, 2015 in Writing


From Worldbuilding to Characters

Everyone rights in a different way. Everyone starts a story in a different way. Most stories (I think) come from an idea of some sort, contained in one of the three aspects of the literary holy trinity of character, plot, and setting. Some writers start with a character, and imagine the events in their life (plot) and the society (world) that produced them, and develop their story around that. Others start with a plot (I wanna write a story about a group of cyberpunk mafiosos fighting the cheese-loving lunar people!), and from that develop a world (cyberpunk future in which mutant mice have gained sentience and telepathy and taken over the moon and human cheese supplies) and characters (the head mafioso and the head mouse).

Then there are writer’s like me, who tend to start with a world and then build characters and plot from it. My large “Juxian Mythos” universe (which I write in far less than I should, alas) was created from this process. I started with a pantheon of gods (the Elders and Ancients), and from that developed a mythology involving the end of the universe, and then imagined the peoples that populated it. Before I had even thought of point of view characters or a plot, I had thought out the history of this world (billions of years of it, from the start of the universe) and the major historical figures, events, wars, and imperial expansions.

Once I had a firm grasp on the universe and world(s) I would be operating in, I was able to pick historically interesting times to set a story in. The discovery of earth and its integration in universal society? The Jakken Trilogy. The foundation of the space druids? The (very) work in progress Tal’kan Saga. The infamous S’kari-Aleuvite War? A Deadly Dance. By having the whole of history to play with, I was able to identify moments that would be able to house interesting plot for stories (and would allow me to flesh out this world with multiple stories).

Once the macro-plot for a story was chosen, then it was time to select characters. When creating characters, you are selecting a point of view, a perspective from which you and the reader will see the world and experience the plot. Sometimes these characters are historically significant figures (such as Jakken), but side characters can also provide a unique perspective on the world and its action, especially when a non-elite commoner is telling us what is going on (something I employ, somewhat, in Sundering Stars)However, in this process, it is usually important to have at least one character be historically significant; you want the character to accomplish something worthwhile, don’t you (especially in my space opera-style science fiction)?

After you have your character, you then have the ability to create smaller plots around them. By selecting the relevant event, you have the larger plot, but not your focal characters’ roles in it. You develop those through sub-plots and micro-plots, where your character is the driving force, rather than the history of the world. Thus, my own process of story generation creates two levels of plots: history-driven macro-plots that produce big ideas, and character-driven micro-plots that add depth to the world (this dual nature of plots I will discuss in a future post)!

That, in a nutshell, is how I generate stories; from worldbuilding to characters. It is similar to how I run roleplaying games; I create a sandbox for characters to play in and shape, except instead of players playing characters, I control them all. While this method is especially useful for world in which you intend to set multiple stories, you can also use this method for one off stories, especially if you are exploring sociological ideas. Though initially character driven, Sundering Stars developed along a similar process (the above description being more of an ideal type process). I knew I wanted to include one particular character, but then I created a massive history in the world she lived in, and created other characters based on the world, not on her.

So, the story-generation process is messy, and I’d be interested to hear how other people come up with the ideas for their own stories. But for now, happy writing (and reading)!

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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Writing


The Plot of Dreadship Omnipotence

Hello everybody! It’s been a while (far too long of a while) since I last wrote a post here (and even longer on my poor EsoTarot blog… though that blog has consistently high views!). I’ve been rather busy of late with classes, TAing, and most importantly, working on my MA thesis, which I am proud to say is pretty much done at this point; I’ve just got to get the paperwork done, then start thinking about how to turn it into separate conference presentations and get two publishable papers from it! Then on to the preliminary exams and thinking about dissertation work…

But that aside, I have come to write that post I had promised oh so many months ago, and talk a little bit about the plot of my current central work in progress, Dreadship Omnipotence! I’m still chugging along on it (albeit very slowly), though most of my attention (creatively, at least) has been on the Eldritch Wastes. Most of my progress on Dreadship has been in the form of ideas and outlining.

I’ve talked in the past about the world and characters, and now I want to talk (or write) some about the plot! As a reminder (it’s been so long!), Dreadship Omnipotence revolves around a darker Firefly-style type band of criminals in a transhuman interstellar and many-politied human society.

The novel itself will be the first of three, and follows the exploits of this crew as they struggle first to survive in a world that they have rejected, and then as they try to save perhaps the entire human race in a shadow war against a horrifying godlike being from the future. Along the way, the novel will explore the histories of each member of the crew and examine the reasons behind why they have dropped out of a seemingly utopian society.

The defining elements of the plot are contained, I think in the words “cyberpunk space opera.” The plot is grand and involves gods and struggle over the nature of humanity (in a similar way to Neon Genesis Evangelion, actually), thus being a “space opera.” On the other hand, the plot – not just the setting – is also “cyberpunk.” So, not only does the novel take place in a world dominated by digital networks (not to mention transhuman modifications), the plot also revolves around a group of misfits raging against a society they see as marginalizing them somehow and who, eventually, seek to expose it for the dystopia it really is.

Unlike typical cyberpunk stories, however, the main characters aren’t the only enlightened individuals in a world of dopes. As the characters become more devoted to their quest to expose the sick underbelly of human social organization, they will all begin to discover that perhaps it is not that society rejected them, but the other way around. Society is by no means perfect, but neither are the individuals in it. The noble anti-heroes in our story, thus, aren’t entirely correct about the dystopian nature of society. For most, society actually works pretty well. Thus, in the plot, I hope to explore a more nuanced relationship between the individual and society, as the main cast struggles to figure out why they can’t live with society, and what parts of society work well, and what parts they think don’t.

Against this smaller-scale cyberpunk conflict (deviants vs. society) is a larger one, the space opera side. This conflict is in the spirit of H. P. Lovecraft’s famed opening to “The Call of Cthulhu,” in which he writes that “[t]he sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.” As our renegades go gallivanting across various human polities, committing crimes and living on the edge, they begin exploring the deep secrets that society holds, and find themselves a conspiracy. This conspiracy is not what they expect, however; they find that there has been a secret war waged for countless years by a select group of politically powerful scientists against an alien entity from the future, and then find themselves drawn into this struggle rather against their will.

Thus, the plot of Dreadship Omnipotence operates at two levels: one concerning individual-society relations, and the other society-universe relations. Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up in a few days, and I hope to get at least another 25,000 words done for it! Until next time, I leave you with this excerpt:


A run-down, rusted airbus clattered by overhead, and Idim had to dodge a falling screw as it fell from the bus and ricocheted off a nearby wall. At least the walls are mostly clean, Idim though to himself as he continued to walk through the city. I bet this used to be inhabited by the planet’s richest, and when they left to go up into space – probably to escape this awful gravity, urgh – they just left this city undefended, and the rabble moved in. Or else they helped the rabble move in to exploit them more. That would explain the shiny building here in the center of town… leftover, state of the art buildings from decades ago…

“Oh, Utopia,” Idim said under his breath. “Where did you go wrong?”

“Oh, Utopia was never right, sir,” a sweet voice said behind him. Idim whirled around, hand resting on the handle of his energy pistol – only to find it wasn’t there. Instead, he found himself facing a little girl, a mischievous grin plastered over her face.

“Wanna see a magic trick?” she said, eyes flashing. “It’ll only cost ya’ five credits.”

“Or I could just beat my weapon out of you,” Idim said. “My counter-offer is rather reasonable; you give me my weapon back, and I let you live.”

“Oh, I don’t have your weapon, mister,” the girl said. “But I can get it back for you with my magical powers.”

Idim sighed. “Street artist, are we? Entertaining the poor folks of Utopia who can’t even afford it?”

“Oh, we can afford it all right. It really isn’t so bad here. Actually, it got much better once the ‘stocracy left us well enough alone, and let us run our own affairs. We just let them think they’re ruling us from their plush little castles in the sky. They’re weak and fat and utterly clueless; they don’t know how to control the local wires. That’s what Rubyn does; messes with their wire feeds. Utopia’s ours now; the ‘stocracy’s trapped in its own little prison, mostly, and so we leave each other well enough alone.” The little girl grinned. “So Utopia’s never been right, but it’s been a lot worse. We’re rebuildin’, see, and the folks ‘round here need some cheerin’ up from us ‘tainers. So, do you wanna see my magic trick or not, mister? Ten credits.”

Idim snorted. “No trick of yours is worth that much. Your story wasn’t worth much, either; in fact, I think you should pay me to listen to your little propaganda piece.” In one smooth motion, Idim scooped up the girl, ducked into an alley, and pinned her against the wall, holding her up by her throat. Her eyes bulged out. Idim smiled as sweetly as he could. “So, little lady, I’ve got two questions for you. The first is when are you going to give me back my pistol, and the second is who do you work for?”

“Told… you…” the girl gasped. “I… don’t… have… it… and… I… work… for… myself!”

“I’ve got the weapon, mister,” said a small yet confident voice from behind the captain. “Drop the girl.”

Idim turned around to see a second girl, his rifle in her hand, aiming it at his head. Idim tensed his muscles to move, and the girl fired the weapon. The energy pulse went right by his head, missing him by an inch, and scorched the metal wall of the building slightly. Idim narrowed his eyes and released the other girl, who fell to the ground, clutching her throat and coughing.

“Hands in the air,” the armed girl said. “And why don’t you just go ahead and transfer five hundred credits to the public transfer account you’re being invited to.” The girl grinned. Idim looked briefly at the invitation to pay, and then dismissed it. Immediately, the girl in front of him frowned. “Do you want me to shoot your ears off? I’ll give you one last chance.”

“I bet you will,” Idim said, and then he turned around and reached down the half-choked girl’s dress. The girl shrieked and batted at his hand, but Idim ignored it, pulling his pistol out from between the space where her breasts would grow. “A bit young to use that as a hiding place,” the captain said.

“Drop the weapon or I’ll shoot!” the other girl said.

Idim straightened up. “You two are a bunch of crooks and scam artists. She’s a good pickpocket though,” he said, gesturing to the shaking girl on the ground. “You should treat her better. She’s more adept than you. And cuter.”

“Shut up!” the girl said, and shot her pistol again, scorching another spot on the wall.

“Though your forced overlay alterations aren’t bad,” Idim continued, walking towards the armed girl, “you made a few crucial mistakes. One, though the gun’s energy pulse went right by my face, I felt no heat. You should have aimed further away. Reduced effect, I know, but more convincing. Two, you painted scorch marks on chromstel. Chromstel doesn’t burn or rust. And third, what the hell kind of pistol goes ‘splort?’ Couldn’t you have found a better stock sound?”

“I was in a hurry,” the girl muttered. The gun vanished from Idim’s sight, and the girl crossed her arms. “You can go now.”

“Can I? Oh, thank you; your beneficence knows no bounds.” Idim bowed graciously, and then kicked the girl’s legs out from under her before sauntering away. “Pick your prey better next time,” he called back as he walked back out into the main street, hand firmly resting on his pistol’s handle.

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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Writing


The World of Dreadship Omnipotence

I have spent the last few days living in another world, in my final push to finish the first 50,000 words of Dreadship Omnipotence in time for the end of National Novel Writing Month. I have succeeded in my goal, and Dreadship Omnipotence currently stands (in digital form) at about 53,000 words – and I feel as if things have only just gotten started. On that front, it seems like the final novel will come in at around 250,000 words (my estimate), and that in all likelihood this will become a trilogy, with the other two books being Dreadship Omniscience and Dreadship Omnipresence (spoilers!).

But, all of that aside, NaNoWriMo 2014 was a success! Alas, for the time being I need to make up for lost time spent on academic pursuits, so progress on the novel will be a little bit slow for these next two weeks. But for this week, for right now, I am going to talk (or write, rather) about the world of Dreadship Omnipotence, carrying over from my discussion of the characters last week. And of course, world-building is my favorite part of the writing process, so I have a lot to say.

Like a great deal of science fiction, Dreadship Omnipotence takes place in the distant future (there is deliberately no explicit date), when humanity has left Earth and colonized the stars (or rather, the planets orbiting them). If I had to summarize the world in a single sentence, it would be ” distant future in which the human race has colonized other planets and begun to evolve into something more, with different groups traveling different evolutionary paths driven by various types of rapid technological change.”

What does this mean, though?

The fundamental factor underlying this world is that technology has changed what it means to be human. The different and varied effects of this technology on mankind is most readily seen in the various different “branches” of mankind, who have changed their bodies and minds to adapt to their technology.

There are two groups of transhumans (“normal” humans are exceedingly rare, now), known as the “Twin Tribes of Man.” The Srivans rely on robots to perform the most meaningful tasks and were the first to create a post-scarcity society. In this society, personal cultivation is key, and the Srivans devote themselves to science and culture. They travel in nomadic “courts” through space, seeking new experiences. Over the course of their existence, they have developed superhuman abilities through genetic manipulation and technologically-enhanced training regimens. From this group have evolved the post-human “godlings;” individuals who have developed an ability to control matter on large and small scales.

The second, and by far the larger, group of transhumans are the Jayns, who are also the focus of Dreadship Omnipotence. Instead of relying on robots, the Jayns rely on advanced nanotechnology which has allowed them to live much longer, develop new, non-human creatures, and connect everyone together into the ironically-named “wire” (the galactic internet).  Along with these advances, Jayns have also developed the means to “digitize” consciousness, and thereby switch consciousnesses between bodies, albeit at a hefty price and much inconvenience. The defining feature of the Jayns is their connection to the wire, which they can interact with via computers, small phones, or most commonly, by nanobots which are passed down by parents (in the rare case of live birth) or inserted into fetuses (in the more common case of artificial birth) that allow individuals to manipulate a “digital overlay” over their vision that lets them view content the nanobots receive from the wire.

The Jayns inhabit planets, and are not nomadic like the Srivans. They are roughly divided into various sociopolitical entities; the totalitarian Dominion, the theocratic Imperium of Man, the free-wheeling and fluctuating Communes, and the Seven Nations (the most powerful Communes). The Communes are the largest part of Jaynic society, and are generally small, sub-planetary groups that live however they see fit, creating various types of sociopolitical systems. They defend each other against the Dominion and Imperium, and rally behind the more structured Seven Nations.

But the Jayns have also begun to develop post-human life forms as well, somewhat along class lines. The wealthiest Jayns have begun to develop telepathy, which they use to further cement their position. Certain investigations into telepathy yielded the creation of artificial transhuman beings known as “psiks,” which are consciousnesses that can possess human bodies.

The members of certain Communes also managed to diffuse their consciousness among millions of self-replicating nanobots, and thus created swarms of nanobots united by a common consciousness. These Communes have become known as the Nanopublics.

A third, and the most dangerous, post-human created by the Jayns are the “wyrdlings,” which are being that exist beyond space and time. Like psiks, they are artificial, and (spoiler!) are the subject of Dreadship Omnipotence.

Of course, thrown onto all of this evolution is the wire, which is really a conglomeration of different “sub-wires” and ansibles linked together under the “all-wire” that connects most of humanity with each other. This allows for nearly instant communication between individuals across huge distances of space, and also has created a crutch upon which many Jayns rely. This aspect of Dreadship Omnipotence was inspired by Eclipse Phase, and thus has many similarities to it. Related to this, virtual reality is also a major part of the world of Dreadship Omnipotence, but to say too much on this subject would, alas, spoil too much.

So there you have it; an introduction to the world of Dreadship Omnipotence.  Next week, I’ll talk a little bit about the plot. Ta-ta for now!

(c). Z. M. Wilmot

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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Writing


The Characters of Dreadship Omnipotence

It’s been over a week since National Novel Writing Month for 2014 began, and I’m currently ahead of the curve. After a rough weekend in which I was forced to bury myself in my academic work and fall behind, I managed to pull through and jump ahead again on Sunday night. Alas, I am still (almost 10,000 words) behind on my reverse NaNoWriMo plan, but hopefully I can make that up soon (despite a wave of papers that need grading)!

So, this week, I wanted to talk (or write, rather) a little bit more about the characters of this year’s NaNoProject and my current central WIP for the forseeable future. I am very excited about this project – more excited about it than I have been about any project in a long while – and part of this attribute to the origins of the story, which I briefly described in last year’s post. Most importantly, unlike most previous works, I actually started this project with the characters, and then fused them with a world I’d been thinking about separately, and I absolutely love both world and characters (I love the plot, too, but it’s rather convoluted and not as “set” as the characters and world are).

So, who are these brave souls that will be exploring my grand cyberpunk universe? Why, they’re the crew of the spacefaring vessel Lysandra (at the moment), and are a group of smugglers, pirates, assassins, and mercenaries willing to do whatever shady job you want! If this cast sounds familiar, it’s probably because it is; as I mentioned before, part of the character set-up for this novel is based on Firefly and other similar shows. However, unlike the crew of Serenity, the crew of the Lysandra do not quibble too much about what jobs they take on, and cover a much wider range of them. There are no war heroes with strong senses of justice on this crew to keep them in check; all that keeps them together are money and a shared sense of camaraderie developed over a long period of putting up with each other. Unlike the crew of Serenity, they have only a very slight moral compass.

This is not to say that the main cast consists only of cruel and vicious characters who would sell their own grandmother for a penny. They’re not heartless; they just care about themselves and those in their social networks significantly more than they care about anyone else. They will not hesitate to kill or do unsavory jobs, even it means hurting a lot of people. They stay afloat at the bottom of society, and don’t have the luxury of being too choosy. They do what has to be done, and have no regrets.

So, in some ways, they’re like a nastier version of Firefly’s crew. But who are they, actually? They come from all walks of life, but here’s a brief teaser of each of the main cast:

Idim Jyn – The charismatic captain of the ship and an insufferable prankster, he acts like a bumbling idiot most of the time to hide his true intelligence. He has an incredibly disciplined mind and is capable of mental feats few can master, and on top of that is a master of both strategy and tactics. He does have a warm heart beneath his cold, analytic mindset, but it takes a lot to bring it out, and even then he reserves it mostly for people he knows or people he thinks will be useful. Idim is always willing to give everyone a fair chance to prove themselves to him, but he does not believe in second chances. He remembers little about his childhood, except that it was awful, and briefly held a post as a military analyst and mercenary for a short-lived and little-known terrorist group before it disbanded. He despises most forms of virtual reality, though is more than competent with other technology that lets him interact with the digital networks of the universe, known as “wires.”

Tathal Litenz – The ship’s first mate and pilot, Tathal is a very troubled woman. She doesn’t remember who she originally was, as she digitized her consciousness long ago and has had it transferred between a wide variety of bodies before losing all of her wealth and getting stuck with the semi-reanimated corpse of a drug addict on the planet of Utopia. She looks like a mess and needs a rather constant supply of drugs to fuel the broken body she currently inhabits, and she strives desperately to gain access to one of the rare facilities where she can change bodies again. She is gruff, easily angered, blunt, and unwilling to compromise. She tolerates Idim Jyn and respects his intelligence, but is somewhat distant from the rest of the crew. No one understands why she is the first mate, and not Krisval Orteck.

Krisval Orteck – Krisval hates his name, and when he was old enough had it changed to “Melkorh” after his favorite evil entity in his favorite holodrama. He also has a pet robotic mouse named “Soron.” Melkorh is the ship’s engineer, and is not comfortable with the digitization of the world, and was only dragged into the realm of organic nanobots and the wire kicking and screaming. He is brilliant with hardware, however (and some of the relevant software), and possesses a mechanical arm that not only houses a huge variety of tools, but can also be used as a dangerous weapon. He is insecure and quiet, yet extremely competent. He is one of Idim’s closest friends, and understands him on a level no one else does.

Marek Syonda  A short, plump, heavily bearded man dubbed the team’s “Demolitions and Distractions” specialist. He is a brilliant hacker of local wires, as well as an expert in demolitions. He speaks very formally and thinks of himself as an artist and gentleman. He is an infamous media bomber, and is wanted under numerous identities for “hazards to public knowledge,” not to mention terrorism. Despite his mild-mannered and kindly appearance, Marek has little regard for anyone he does not know personally; to him, everyone he doesn’t know is just an abstraction and could even be a false creation in an increasingly digital universe. As such, while he is kind in person, he has no problem with killing large quantities of people to achieve his ends or unseating entire media systems to distract people from what his friends are up to. Problems are only real when they affect him and those he knows; otherwise, he could not care less. The digital and social experience of mankind, to him, is a blank canvas.

Bygorj Vishtahl – A former Druidic priest of the Empire of Man, he was cast out for his unorthodox ways. He inhabits an inhuman body, being a ten-foot tall, green-furred minotaur/satyr hybrid. He believes that all life and matter is linked together through quantum resonance, and so that death is largely meaningless, and is merely a reordering of the great god Pan’s affairs. As such, he has no qualms about killing and feels no remorse, no matter the victim. He serves as the crew’s doctor and cook (he used to get those two jobs mixed up, but he’s better now), and is also extremely devoted to spreading the word of Pan to anyone who will listen – and many who won’t.

Lemi Forsath – An orphan from the planet Utopia, Tathal picked her up to force her to repay a debt, and Lemi now works as a cabin-girl on the ship, performing odd tasks and helping where she can. She is very young, being only about ten years old, but spent her whole life on the streets. She is a brilliant digital artist, and is a master of projecting images into other peoples’ heads. She dreams of being a big holodrama producer some day. She gets along well with most of the crew, save for Idim and Melkorh, who both have a distaste for her digital art and find her more annoying than anything.

Fitnaya Almakry – Introduced under the alias Khoresh Eylkaum, Fitta is one of mankind’s most feared assassins, most wanted criminals, and a sniper beyond compare. She is also a very skilled hacker, though has trouble hacking on the fly, and so is very fond of careful planning. She makes use of ubiquitous security cameras to line up her shots after hacking into their feeds, and uses surprisingly small, yet powerful, pistols to do her job. She joins the crew initially as an extra hired hand on a mission, but circumstances later force her to join them permanently and reveal her true identity. She is very intolerant of incompetence and is rather caustic and sarcstic. She strongly dislikes Idim, but comes to eventually recognize his competence.

Obri Hathorken –  The crew’s part-time intern, Obri handles mid-range planning and is an expert in both nanotechnlogy and superlocal wire hacking. While Marek hacks the small stuff, Obri hacks the big stuff. She works at a prestigious laboratory as her day job, and uses a holographic projector to work with the crew when she’s not working there. She is extremely intelligent – quite possibly the smartest member of the crew – and teases everyone around her mercilessly. Though she’s relatively new to the crew, she’s already made herself home there and is relied upon by them all.

Priva-Dynaj Matory – The crew’s “handler,” Dynaj (or “Dynnie” as Idim calls her) is an older woman who is obsessed with rediscovering her “analog” self. While extremely competent in the virtual world, Dynaj enjoys spending her time free of the wire whenever she can. She is an avid roleplayer and phenomenal accountant, and is in charge of lining up jobs for the crew. Like Obri, she does not physically travel with them, but calls and texts them frequently to keep them up to date on their accounts and upcoming jobs. Dynaj is very well-organized and always several steps ahead of the crew in her planning.

Syon Q – No one knows what the Q stands for, not even himself. Syon Q is an old man whose previous crew wired him into the Lysadra‘s weapons system, which drove him slightly insane. He identifies more with digital entities and artificial intelligences than with “meatbags,” and can hear the voices of even the smallest pieces of software. He is very attached to the Lysandra and communicates with the rest of the crew on her behalf. He is prone to childish fits of rage and a very shaky conception of reality; he drove off the previous crew of the Lysandra by constructing mobile turrets and literally chasing them off the ship. He was subdued by Idim’s crew and converted to Druidism by Bygorj, who has become his best meatbag friend.

So, there’s the crew of the Lysandra. They won’t all last through the story (I already know at least two will die – but whom?), but for now I am enjoying them. As for other characters – like the antagonist – they’re identities will remain secret, as their faces are important twists in the story’s planned plot. But, just for teasers, here are the names of a few of the major antagonists, human and not: Methuselah Charmandrius, Zigur Zanzak, the Spider, and of course the overarching baddy, the Basilisk.

Until next time, happy writing, and wish me luck!

*goes back to scribbling*

(c) Z. M. Wilmot

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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Writing


NaNoWriMo and Dreadship Omnipotence

As always, I’ve been busy slaving away for my PhD program, this time mostly focusing on my Master’s project and my teaching assistant duties. Unfortunately for my sanity and free time, however, November also marks National Novel Writing Month, when I sit down to try and write 50,000 words on a single project in thirty days. If you haven’t come across the event before (abbreviated NaNoWriMo), I highly recommend you visit the site here. If you’re interested, you still have time to hop in and go; all you need to do is make an account and start writing!

This year, I’m hoping to get a huge chunk of my current main WIP, Dreadship Omnipotence, done (so far I’ve got 5,100 words written). By no means do I think I’ll come close to even finishing it, especially seeing as how it looks more and more like the story will become a trilogy. I have neglected to post any information about this work yet, though, so I’ll take a few minutes from my writing time to sum up this year’s NaNo project, and the current focus of my attention!

The basic plot, in blurb form, is simple: Idim Jyn is the captain of a crew of space pirates and smugglers in a transhuman future where the disparate factions of mankind have begun to journey down very different evolutionary paths, and the very nature of humanity is uncertain. When Jyn’s crew steal an experimental starship from a secret laboratory, they uncover a terrible truth and find themselves in the middle of a war against an unknowable godlike being from the far future.

My idea for the story began about a year ago, when I tried to imagine what it would be like to write my own spaceship-roaming-through-space novel (a fairly common trope, particularly in television shows such as FireflyLexxBattlestar Galactica [to an extent], Farscape, and manga/anime like Cowboy Bebop and One Piece). I developed the character of the captain (who was then called Adam Jayne), heading a ship he arrogantly called the Dreadship Omnipotence leading a band of space pirates, who plundered and pillaged the galaxy as they willed and had a good time. My original conception of the captain was actually based on Jayne Cobb from Firefly, which was where I got the name Adam Jayne (the first names of Jayne’s actor Adam Baldwin and Jayne himself). In the current incarnation, this was altered to Idim Jyn and his personality is rather different, but there’s still something similar about Idim and Adam.

Alas, I shelved this idea for a while as I focused on other projects, until I ran across a neat roleplaying game called Eclipse Phase through one of my (far too few) friends. The game is set in a transhuman solar system, and it fired my creativity drives more than anything had in a while. I let the basic ideas of transhumanism, horror, and the black void between planets and stars guide me, and soon I came up with a rather detailed transhuman future, with an attached cyberpunk space opera plot and a cast of wild characters.

For the rest of the month, I’m going to try to post once per week with a short novel excerpt, and a brief description of the characters, the world, and the plot; the holy trinity. For next week, I’ll be writing a bit about the characters, so stay tuned! For now, you can check out the excerpt posted on my Works in Progress page if you’re interested, and then read this small excerpt below. Until next time, ta-ta!


“Have you been saved today?” the thing said to another man as he dangled a pamphlet in front of him. The man held a fry in one trembling hand as he slowly stood up and backed away, with one last longing glance toward his meal. “The great god Pan knows what to do! Submit to your inner nature and follow the three-fold path of the Druid! First, come to terms with who you are-”

The man was gone. The big figure frowned and turned to his friend, sitting across the table. “And you, ma’am, have you heard the word of our Great God Pan?”

“We don’t need your imperalist religion here,” the woman sneered, crossing her arms. “Religion is the opiate of the masses. You priests just use it to control the citizens of the Imperium.”

“No, no, no, you’ve got it all wrong,” the figure said, not unkindly. “I am no longer even a part of the glorious Imperium; I am an ambassador of my own free will. My unorthodox interpretations of the scripture led to my banishment, you see. But that just goes to show how truly great and flexible the great faith is! For even though I have been cast out from its noble ranks, I am still able to consider myself a true servant of Pan! I know that I have found his shade, and I am equally sure that soon my imperial comrades will join me!” The being cleared its throat, then continued. “The noble faith of Druidism can never control then, you see, but only liberate! It will help you connect with your innermost self, and help you find your place within the universe-”

“Eh, fuck you,” the woman said.

“Oh, indeed, that is one of Pan’s greatest teachings! ‘Men of the universe, be virile, and women, be fertile, so that life can ever increase and the universe will be filled with the vitalitous bounty of untold children, and thus may the cosmos come to know pure joy in richness and diversity!’ I would be honored to, as you say, fuck you.”

The woman stood up, edged away, and then fled without another word.

(c) Z. M. Wilmot

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Posted by on November 2, 2014 in Writing


The Holy Trinity: Character, Plot, and Setting

There are probably as many different answers for what elements make up a good story as there are writers and readers, but I think most of these can be boiled down into what I think of as the “holy trinity” of a story: character, plot, and setting. A story, to me at least, is different from storytelling. Storytelling is the way a story is told, and having a good story is only one part of good storytelling. The language, images, pacing, clarity, and balance also matter a great deal, but in this post I want to focus on the elements of a good story, separated from the art of storytelling as much as possible.

The Holy Trinity are all interconnected and reinforce each other, but they do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. A good story has strong characters, a well-developed plot, and a well-thought out setting, but many writers specialize in one, or two, of these areas. Some authors, particularly in the realm of science fiction, do very well with one or two of these elements, and are noticeably lackluster with regards to the other. Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, for example, have brilliant plots and settings, but their characters are extremely forgettable. Going further with this example, I would say Asimov specializes in setting, and Clarke in plot, and that their proficiency in these areas helps make up for their deficiency in character.

That being said, it is important define exactly what I mean by characters, setting, and plot. Characters are the agents in the story, who the reader can identify with and who give the story a soul. Good characters are consistent, well-thought out, and understandable. They need to feel human, even if they are not. If they’re not human, then even though the alien/inhuman characters are characters, they do not contribute to the character element of a story; instead, they contribute to its setting, as they function as part of the larger world instead of as characters.

So characters give a story soul.

What, then, does plot give a story? Plot gives a story mind. While characters breathe life into a story, it is the plot that gives it intelligence. A plot does not have to be complex to be good; indeed, overly complex plots are the downfall of many stories (I’m looking at you, Moffat’s Doctor Who). An intelligent plot, like a character, should also be identifiable, and it should allow the reader to think about what is going on. It should be understandable, but also thought-provoking; the plot should present situations that the reader could envision themselves in, and can think of their own solutions to. If your characters are well-done, then hopefully their reactions to the plot won’t be the same as the readers, which can lead to tension.

If characters give a story a soul, and plot a mind, then the setting gives the character a body. The setting contains both the characters and the plot, and yet is also separate from them. It is the medium on which the other two exist, and it is what gives the characters context and the plot meaning. The setting is what fleshes out the story, and gives it a feeling of reality – or alternate reality. The setting consists of all of the background, the places, the social structure, the laws of physics; the setting is what allows you to feel as if you are no longer a reader, but an inhabitant of this other place.

But which of these elements is the most important to a story, I hear someone ask (or is that the voice in the back of my head)? All three are important, and what is the most important depends entirely on the reader or writer’s opinion. I recently watched a show (the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica), and was somewhat underwhelmed by it, much to the shock of the show’s fans who had recommended it to me. A discussion on the relative merits and demerits on the show led me to realize my opinion of the show was so different because I watched the show differently. I watched the show differently because, to me, setting is paramount, plot second, and characters last. The fans in question, however, viewed characters as paramount, and on further reflection the character development was very good, but because characters don’t matter as much to me as setting or plot (which was not nearly as well-thought-out or consistent as the characters), the show fell a little flat for me. So, in the end, it is up to the reader or writer to decide what is most important, though keeping all three in mind is always good.

For me personally, though, because I view setting a defining both the plot and characters, I see it as the most important. For me, setting can make or break a show. Plot, to me, is almost as important because it usually makes me think more than the other elements, and that thinking is why I like to read (and write). Characters are the least important to me, and I am more than happy to tolerate bad characters if the setting and plot are phenomenal. Of course, this is personal, and I don’t claim that any of the trinity are intrinsically better than the others; I just value them differently.

As I said before, all of the three are interconnected, and when done well reinforce each other. Minor characters, while part of the characters, are also often part of the story’s background and thus contribute to its setting. Major characters drive the plot forward. Mysteries and secrets woven into the setting can allow a plot come into being, and events in the setting’s past can motivate a character to do whatever it is she wants.

Sometimes, one element of the story can trump the others, and yet still bring the others to high heights. One way of creating a plot is to choose a setting and put the characters into it and see what happens. A writer could develop a plot, match it to a setting, and then fill it in with the appropriate characters. One could also develop a character and create a plot around his life. Another way – my way – is to create a world with some fundamental aspect that is either unknown or that changes, and then build a plot around that element, and create characters to fill the necessary roles in the plot. One could also come up with a neat idea for a plot, fill it with characters, and then decide where the plot would best fit in.

I believe most writers start with one element, and then match the other two to it. All writing starts with an idea, and the nature of this idea is what defines the beginning element, the story’s seed, and often its strongest aspect. An idea along the lines of “what if the world looked like this?” is often a setting seed. One that sounds like “what if this happened?” is often a plot seed, and an idea like “what would someone like this do?” is a character seed. All three beginnings are equally valid, and yield great results.

And so I think that all stories begin with an idea seed, and that thus all stories contain an idea at their heart. This idea is what makes a story interesting, and is what makes it resonate (or not) with the reader. For me, the interesting ideas lie in setting (doubtless an influence of my historical and sociological training), while others may find plot or character ideas more interesting. It’s all up to the reader.

In the end, the point of this long-winded ramble is that I think all stories begin with a seed based around a setting, a plot, or a character, and that the other elements grow from there to form a full story. While no part is greater than the other, different readers and writers value them differently. And I shall leave you with that, and welcome any comments.

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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Writing