This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #478, on the subject of Character Conflicts.
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 second post for this novel, covering chapters 13 through 24. The first post, #476: Versers Deduce, covered chapters 1 through 12. 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.
These were originally written entirely third-person, that is, both Eric and I were “he”. Since the viewpoint characters were also always “he” in this book, that became very confusing, so I attempted to shift it back to “I/me/mine” for my contributions and “he/him/his” for Eric’s. This was a rather late decision in the process, and hopefully I got them all.
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 13, Kondor 225
Chapter 14, Beam 163
Chapter 15, Brown 248
Chapter 16, Slade 217
Chapter 17, Beam 164
Chapter 18, Brown 249
Chapter 19, Slade 218
Chapter 20, Kondor 226
Chapter 21, Beam 165
Chapter 22, Slade 219
Chapter 23, Brown 250
Chapter 24, Beam 166
At this point I converted the novel file itself and this supplement to *.docx format and uploaded the revised copies to Google Drive. These words were a test to see whether I was able to work with the documents in Google Docs, before sharing them with Eric. It appears that the answer is yes.
I had been contemplating what I could do with this, and it struck me that it was possible that the aliens weren’t interested in either contact or conquest, but were simply xenobiologists or the equivalent of anthropologists studying alien civilizations. That gave somewhere to go here, and the rest I came up with while trying to get there.
Eric joined in a bit here. I wanted some more flavor to the zombie world so Eric came up with a foodie-obsessed culture with some advanced bioengineering skills–at least enough to make crude chimera. He’s trying to fit in with my style, to a large degree, but bring his own as well, which is a good exercise as a writer.
We had a bit of a dead end, as Eric created a very dramatic scene in which Turbirb’durpa ate one of the parasites and became infected and attacked Bron. We agreed that that was a bad direction, and deleted it.
Eric wrote the first draft of this chapter, and the Slade chapter which followed. It took the book in a direction I had not anticipated, and there was a lot of discussion on it.
When I was going over it to edit it, I felt strongly that there should be a chapter break when Derek leaves the house to go to the hangar; originally the next part was a continuation of the same chapter. That created the problem that in the next chapter Slade reacts to events that were being moved–but this was resolved by also splitting that into two chapters, and placing a Beam chapter between the end of it and the return of Derek.
Comments on the decision to split what Eric originally drafted into two chapters were just made in connection with Brown 248.
One of the issues in the Beam story was how he was going to juggle his two jealous wives. Thus the sleeping arrangements were a significant problem, and I thought about them for quite a while. I also thought Beam was sharp enough to placate Sophia before dallying with Ashleigh.
Again, this was the second half of what was originally drafted as Brown 248, split off to create better story flow. The combat is all Eric’s work.
This was the second half of what was Slade 217, written by Eric. I changed one of the prayers.
At this point I proposed the subjects of this plus two more chapters, to go from Joe taking care of Derek (who, it occurred to me, was currently Morach) to something happening with Beam, possibly the appearance of a herd of cattle, to Slade’s confrontation with the “Big Guy”.
I made more of bringing them together than I had expected, so cut it short and decided to pick up the next chapter, maybe Kondor or maybe Brown, with treatment of the wound.
I wrote the opening of this chapter, but left it hanging without resolving what Beam would cook; Eric took over and added the descent into the basement. However, he had Beam take only Ashleigh, and I could not imagine Beam not taking his sorceress with the light spell. I personally don’t like candlelight–I feel like I can’t see beyond the candle, and it does more to make me visible than to illuminate anything–so I nixed that.
Eric specifically suggested I write this fight scene, but it had a few complications. There was no reason to imagine that the “Big Guy” had a sword, so Eric suggested a gunfight; but the only gun Slade carries is his kinetic blaster, damaging +2DC makes it lethal, one hit could kill most ordinary people. It doesn’t have a recorded repeat factor, but it fires twenty shots fully charged. That made it challenging.
I wanted the medical treatment to be realistic despite the use of the futuristic medical kit. I almost forgot the leg, which is why it’s last, but to excuse it once he turned into Morach he didn’t use it all that much.
I wrote the opening paragraphs trying to capture Beam’s thoughts and feelings, but then passed it to Eric to continue from his door-opening cliffhanger.
This was Eric’s story, but it was largely his second story, as I had a lot of trouble with the first one. Both of us edited it several times before we were really satisfied, and we left it as an open problem for a future chapter.
This has been the second 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.