It’s been a while since I reflected on this work. Sometime in July I got pulled away from the efforts on the new novel. You see, I’ve had this lovely idea for an alternate world retelling of WWI, with magic nations versus technology nations. I spent some time focusing on that, but the progress there remained woefully stuck. I’m torn between wanting to focus on a single character to build a stronger emotional connection with, and the desire of the novel to want to be from multiple viewpoints. I keep kicking around how to do both. I’ll return to it eventually. Maybe a series of novels, each focusing on another character and aspect of the war? Maybe a Game of Thrones style sprawling story? Who knows.

I finally returned to the pulp novel in early September. I spent some time in August writing notes on what I want to do with it, getting more thoughts down. I’ve honed the main character, addressed some of the short comings I felt in his background, and made the “nexus” world he grew up on very different than my original concept. Before, it was called the Emerald Lands, sort of a feudal society, and he was a son of the King and Queen. But that felt too “chosen one” for my tastes. I’m not against those types of stories, they’re just not the ones I want to be writing at this time.

Now, he’s from a nexus called Ash, a city-planet. From pole to pole, the world is one vast city, but for a giant ocean reservoir that supplies its water needs. The city is controlled by a group of powerful beings called The Founders, who few have ever seen, and who maintain order through a militarized police force called the Hand. Much of their needs are brought in through portals to other worlds, and long-distance transportation is subterranean, via trains that run through pneumatic tubes (think Hyperloop). Otherwise folks walk. The Founders closely control trade and limit what advances can be brought in, but our protagonist, Even, and his crew of old friends (Jessamyn, Ox, Ghost and Tempest) are among the best shade runners, people who pass through shadow to other worlds and bring back things to sell on the black market.

The action started in Tera, a pulp 1930’s earth-like world where Even has lived for five years in a state of self-imposed exile. After being injured, he travels back to Ash, reconnects with his friends, and now has to deal with the fallout of his time away, the blocking of the exit/entry points to other worlds, the reality of a new attack by creatures from shadow, and more. The world building around Ash, and the character building around the other members of his group, has been phenomenally fun. The wonderful thing about this work is that I can create tons of new worlds since it’s literally an infinite universe and the characters use shadows as doorways to other places (other reality, other dimensions).

As of this morning, the work crested 27,000 words. Taking time away from it to think it over and get a better handle on what I wanted to do really helped in the writing, which is going pretty smoothly now (as smoothly as such things go). I may not be done by Viable Paradise, but I should have a good portion of the first draft completed, and hope that I will have it done by Thanksgiving, maybe Christmas at the latest.

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