This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #491, on the subject of Verser Ventures.
With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first nine Multiverser novels,
- Verse Three, Chapter One: The First Multiverser Novel,
- Old Verses New,
- For Better or Verse,
- Spy Verses,
- Garden of Versers,
- Versers Versus Versers,
- Re Verse All,
- In Verse Proportion, and
- Con Verse Lea,
in serialized form on the web (those links will take you to the table of contents for each book). Along with each book there was also a series of web log posts looking at the writing process, the decisions and choices that delivered the final product; those posts are indexed with the chapters in the tables of contents pages. Now as I am posting the tenth, In Version, written in collaboration with Eric R. Ashley, I am again offering a set of “behind the writings” insights. This “behind the writings” look may contain spoilers because it sometimes talks about my expectations for the futures of the characters and stories–although it sometimes raises ideas that were never pursued, as being written partially concurrently with the story it sometimes discusses where I thought it was headed. You might want to read the referenced chapters before reading this look at them. Links below (the section headings) will take you to the specific individual chapters being discussed, and there are (or will soon be) links on those pages to bring you back hopefully to the same point here.
This is the eighth post for this novel, covering chapters 85 through 96. Previous posts were:
- #476: Versers Deduce, covering chapters 1 through 12;
- #478: Character Conflicts, covering 13 through 24;
- #480: Versers Think, 25 through 36
- #482: Versers Engage, 37 through 48.
- #484: Characters Maneuver, 49 through 60.
- #487: A World in Space, 61 through 72.
- #489: Battle Worlds, 73 through 84.
There is also a section of the site, Multiverser Novel Support Pages, in which I have begun to place materials related to the novels beginning with character papers for the major characters, giving them at different stages as they move through the books.
History of the series, including the reason it started, the origins of character names and details, and many of the ideas, are in earlier posts, and won’t be repeated here.
Quick links to discussions in this page:
Chapter 85, Kondor 241
Chapter 86, Slade 235
Chapter 87, Brown 267
Chapter 88, Beam 182
Chapter 89, Slade 236
Chapter 90, Kondor 242
Chapter 91, Beam 183
Chapter 92, Brown 268
Chapter 93, Kondor 243
Chapter 94, Slade 237
Chapter 95, Beam 184
Chapter 96, Brown 269
This was a pivotal chapter serving two functions, one of making sense of the relief efforts to come, the other of delaying Derek’s fight a bit so the action would be more spread.
I thought it best to tell this fight from the viewer’s perspective. I had no idea how to run it, beyond that Derek would start with the frying pan and the butcher knife, with the chain around his waist. I forgot that Derek was left-handed until the middle of the fight when I decided that the spear shaft would injure him. The moment of closing his eyes was him using his psionic pain repression skill, which probably doesn’t come through.
Eric wrote this, taking a quick trip to their new apartments and turning it into a short tour of the atmosphere.
We had discussed whether the aliens would surrender to Beam or attempt to arrest him, and as Eric wrote he managed to capture both attitudes.
Within an hour of posting this chapter, I realized a mistake. When Eric had included my little green men as one of the races in Throne World Empire, I had suggested that they are called “chlorophytes”. He liked the name–but then he started using it for the aliens on The Seeker in this other universe. I said that that didn’t fly, partly because the two worlds had diverged too far in the past, partly because a race that is the only intelligence it knows doesn’t refer to itself by a distinguishing name; “chlorophyte” was clearly the sort of name created to distinguish one intelligent creature from some other one, and so would exist in the Throne World Empire world, but not in this one. Still, the word slipped into this chapter at least twice, and several more times in later Beam chapters, and I spent a bit of time tracking them all down and rewording them.
After the Brown fight, I commented that Derek had used his psionic pain reducer when he was hit with the spear, but I wasn’t sure whether that was apparent. Eric replied that it was once it was mentioned, but since it hadn’t been mentioned I wanted a conversation in which it was. That, plus the need to fill some space and feel our way forward on the story, was my impetus for drafting this chapter.
I had made the note that this Kondor chapter would either be arriving at the end of the rail line or riding the train, and on reflection decided it would be a mistake to skip the trip, so I looked for something to make the ride interesting.
Eric started this chapter, and I picked it up just past the middle. It was truncated because I didn’t want to put too much thought into where the third officer was headquartered or what the trip was like, and wanted the next Beam chapter to pick up with a confrontation between Beam and the third officer Norax.
Originally we had written that there were a billion something untranslatable in the apartments, and that the officer was in charge of a thousand; on edit, I realized that we use these names because in base ten they’re round numbers, but they wouldn’t be in base eight, so I deduced that the aliens would have specific number names for each of the powers of eight which in Bob’s mind would translate to their exact values. To reverse it for example, if Beam were to say one thousand, Bob would render it into Chlorophyte as whatever they would call their number 1750, and the Chlorophytes would wonder why the humans used such random-seeming numbers. 512 is eight cubed, and 1,073,741,824 is eight to the tenth. Originally what I had changed to “something untranslatable” Eric had made “Chlorophytes”, a name for the race that otherwise only appeared in the other universe many centuries later and I was both reluctant to use in this setting and uncertain whether the alien word for that would translate. On edit, I decided that what the officer was reporting would be the number of civilian colonists, and so used that.
The officer names all came from a D&D game I ran in the 1980s.
Not sure where this should be going, I decided to do a bit of domestic orientation. We hadn’t discussed things like whether there was an internet or some kind of communication system for ordering food, but I thought there must be something so I went simple. Cassandra was the first name I considered for the device, but I was really looking for Pandora because I wanted the joke that it could open all kinds of trouble.
Eric wrote this chapter, with only a few minor edits from me. It was the beginning of the disaster relief effort.
Eric wrote this as well.
I had concerns about the knife. Under Multiverser rules when a character achieves a 3@ expert level of skill in a weapon, his skill is specific to the one he always uses, and the concern was that Derek would be better with his old knife than his new one. However, a check of the character sheet showed him to be only a 2@ professional level with a knife, at which level the skill should be effectively the same across all sufficiently similar iterations of the type.
This scene was discussed some, and I pieced it together. We had agreed that Lieutenant Commander Norax would not surrender, and that we were going to have a civil war aboard the ship.
Eric wrote this, fleshing out more of the alien peoples of the world. I wasn’t certain of Eric’s suggestion that humans could not be comfortable in a state of total peace for long, but since it was the Chombito’s extrapolation from its own experience I decided that what the alien thought about humans wasn’t necessarily true.
The Chombito Ystrang becomes a regular character in the remainder of the book, with information about him and his people coming out through time.
This has been the eighth behind-the-writings look at In Version. If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with more behind-the-writings posts and another novel.