All posts by M.J.

#493: Verser Engagements

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #493, on the subject of Verser Engagements.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first nine Multiverser novels,

  1. Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel,
  2. Old Verses New,
  3. For Better or Verse,
  4. Spy Verses,
  5. Garden of Versers,
  6. Versers Versus Versers,
  7. Re Verse All,
  8. In Verse Proportion, and
  9. 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 ninth post for this novel, covering chapters 97 through 108.  Previous posts were:

  1. #476:  Versers Deduce, covering chapters 1 through 12;
  2. #478:  Character Conflicts, covering 13 through 24;
  3. #480:  Versers Think, 25 through 36;
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.
  5. #484:  Characters Maneuver, 49 through 60.
  6. #487:  A World in Space, 61 through 72.
  7. #489:  Battle Worlds, 73 through 84; and
  8. #491:  Verser Ventures, 85 through 96.

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.

Return to Top

Quick links to discussions in this page:
Chapter 97, Kondor 244
Chapter 98, Slade 238
Chapter 99, Beam 185
Chapter 100, Brown 270
Chapter 101, Kondor 245
Chapter 102, Slade 239
Chapter 103, Beam 186
Chapter 104, Brown 271
Chapter 105, Kondor 246
Chapter 106, Slade 240
Chapter 107, Beam 187
Chapter 108, Brown 272

Chapter 97, Kondor 244

Eric wrote more of this relief effort, and set up a cliffhanger in which Kondor was beginning to use psionics to address the problems.

I noted after the fact that the railroad company would have equipment to clear tracks of such debris, but they could get away with two such blockages.  I also suggested that we could use a broken train trestle and a hike across a valley, with memories of the log crossing in the first novel, which Eric agreed would be good.

Return to Top


Chapter 98, Slade 238

Eric marked this for Slade, and I decided that it should start with Derek describing the experience of visiting the Ichthoi, and Slade rejecting the notion that it would be at all desirable to feel at peace like that.  That led to the notion of what happens after Ragnorak, and perhaps the first doubts Slade has ever had about his faith.  Having the robot cook Chlorophyte food just seemed obvious.

Quite a few of the aliens had essentially cameo appearances; the Ichthoi were among these.

Return to Top


Chapter 99, Beam 185

Some of this was discussed before I drafted it.  Eric had suggested that on the way Beam should bless a child and have a lock of its hair turn white, but I objected that it is part of the team dynamic that Beam doesn’t do anything magical or indeed have any special abilities other than organizing the others.  Still, some sort of “magical” display seemed to be appropriate, and I decided that Beam could have Bob snatch the arresting officer and levitate him, and no one would know that Beam wasn’t doing that.

Return to Top


Chapter 100, Brown 270

Eric wrote this with a view to moving Derek toward my hope that he would obtain a trumpet.  I changed the ending because I thought the Brown chapter should have Derek raise Slade’s notion about gladiator games meaning that there was war somewhere, but it was fine to delay that.

The ‘Iorg was a name that Eric wrote because he liked the look, but I took issue based on the fact that I don’t like words in sci fi and fantasy books that the reader couldn’t pronounce.  We discussed the opening symbol and whether the letter I was a vowel or a consonant, and came up with a click followed by two syllables, as described in the text.

Return to Top


Chapter 101, Kondor 245

Eric had set up the situation in which a bird was trapped under the center of a very large debris pile, and I assumed he intended for them to use psionics to rescue him, so I wrote this.  I was as it were interrupted by the realization that this was going to attract attention, so I covered that, and then decided that for story purposes it would be better to complete the rescue in Kondor’s next chapter.

Return to Top


Chapter 102, Slade 239

I struggled a bit to write this from Slade’s viewpoint; I was going to start with Derek talking to 1942 in the limo, but realized Slade wouldn’t see that part.  Gradually, though, it came together.

Eric’s backstory for the universe includes that there is a threat of intergalactic war, and the emperor in this galaxy has been trying to prepare for it.  Part of that included building this huge artificial planet and relocating all sentient beings to it; part of it was initiating the gladiator games to help identify and prepare great fighters.

Return to Top


Chapter 103, Beam 186

We discussed several of the ideas in this chapter.  It was Eric’s suggestion that Ashleigh would offer to assassinate Norax, and mine that Beam would choose a propaganda campaign.  Eric put it together and brought it to the point where Beam had hacked the system and was ready to speak, when I realized that Beam couldn’t speak alien, so we had a cliffhanger into his next episode.

Return to Top


Chapter 104, Brown 271

Eric wrote all of this with only a bit of input from me.  After this first shot at the preliminary we discussed a bit about how the main competition would go.

Return to Top


Chapter 105, Kondor 246

I picked up the story of rescuing the parakeet with telekinesis and finished it.

Return to Top


Chapter 106, Slade 240

I started this chapter, but realized Eric and I hadn’t discussed how big this contest was so I wasn’t sure of how to rank the versers.  I made a rough suggestion, and Eric agreed with it; it assumes there are between forty and fifty thousand fighters in each division.

Eric took over and wrote the arrival and the fight.

This is the cameo appearance of the Tso race, and everything decided about it appears in this section.

Return to Top


Chapter 107, Beam 187

I started this chapter with three proposed solutions to the language barrier problem, but then suspended it to get Eric’s input on how to do it and jumped down to write the propaganda speech and the court martial of Norax.  When I thought of the step of removing Norax from authority by delisting him from the computer roster it seemed he should do that before he made the speech, but since I didn’t think of it until he was writing the speech I decided Beam didn’t, either.

Eric punted, putting the decision back with me, and I returned to make the choice.  Although Bob’s solutions had been reliable, I decided that there was a story advantage to having Sophia solve this one, so figured out why Beam would go that way.

At this point we gave some serious discussion to where the book was headed and what would be in the next one.

Return to Top


Chapter 108, Brown 272

The question coming into this chapter is whether to have Derek watch Slade’s fight against the Tso or fight his own primitive weapons battle and come back to Slade later.  I suggested that if Derek were to face a Parakeet he might feel the suppressed anger of the battle he fought against the spy.

I had also realized that Derek had several psionic skills which could be used in combat if needed.  I checked, and was disappointed to find no force shield, but decided that the telekinesis would be useful.

Return to Top


This has been the ninth 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.

#492: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Temporal Anomalies

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #492, on the subject of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Temporal Anomalies.

As this picture starts to settle in my mind, it reminds me of Safety Not Guaranteed, in this regard:  for most of the picture the idea that time travel might be possible is dangling in the air, then at the very end it happens, and it is so insignificant an event in the broad sweep of the film that it’s over before we know it.  Don’t get me wrong–it definitely is a time travel movie, it’s just that the time travel, while critical to the plot, is not that major an element.

Before I proceed with the spoilers, I should probably mention that I was interviewed about my book The Essential Guide to Time Travel by its publisher Dimensionfold for their podcast series, available online as the Time Travel Episode with Mark Joseph Young.  It’s eight minutes longer than an hour, but time travel fans might find it interesting.

I’m not sure I can say as much for this entry in the Indiana Jones series.  Don’t misunderstand–I’m fond of Indie.  I thought the fourth movie about the crystal skulls was way out of character for the series, but this one seems to have gotten back on track very nicely.  This is the old Indiana accompanied by Sallah and getting into archaeology that is ultimately in some way magical despite his skepticism.  In this case it’s connected to a machine built by Archimedes, which rumors claim can transport someone through time.  Toward the end of World War II a scientist working for the Nazis discovers half of it, and the theory is that Archimedes broke it in half so that the invading army couldn’t take it.  Ten years later that scientist is set on obtaining both halves so he can travel back to the end of the war and make himself Fuhrer, win the war, and establish a German empire.

At first he succeeds, outwitting the CIA and Indiana and calculating how to travel back to the time he wants.  Indiana winds up on the plane, and his sidekick for this movie hijacks a plane which follows them, but the joke’s on the villain:  Archimedes designed the machine as a way of bringing help back to his own time to save them from the invasion.  In that sense it works, because as the bomber flies into the harbor it opens fire on the attacking fleet before crashing.  Archimedes meets Indiana, who wants to stay, but his sidekick knocks him out with one punch and loads him on the other plane to return to the present.

The film has the flavor of fixed time.  A couple of artifacts from the future are buried with Archimedes when they find his tomb, but these are delivered by the crashed airplane.  It could be resolved under replacement theory with a fairly brief sawtooth snap into an N-jump termination, but there’s not enough time travel to make it worth the effort, and probably anyone who has read The Essential Guide or spent much time on the web site can see how to do that.

So as I say it’s a good movie, but not much to speak of in terms of time travel.

#491: Verser Ventures

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,

  1. Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel,
  2. Old Verses New,
  3. For Better or Verse,
  4. Spy Verses,
  5. Garden of Versers,
  6. Versers Versus Versers,
  7. Re Verse All,
  8. In Verse Proportion, and
  9. 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:

  1. #476:  Versers Deduce, covering chapters 1 through 12;
  2. #478:  Character Conflicts, covering 13 through 24;
  3. #480:  Versers Think, 25 through 36
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.
  5. #484:  Characters Maneuver, 49 through 60.
  6. #487:  A World in Space, 61 through 72.
  7. #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.

Return to Top

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

Chapter 85, Kondor 241

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 86, Slade 235

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 87, Brown 267

Eric wrote this, taking a quick trip to their new apartments and turning it into a short tour of the atmosphere.

Return to Top


Chapter 88, Beam 182

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 89, Slade 236

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 90, Kondor 242

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 91, Beam 183

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 92, Brown 268

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 93, Kondor 243

Eric wrote this chapter, with only a few minor edits from me.  It was the beginning of the disaster relief effort.

Return to Top


Chapter 94, Slade 237

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 95, Beam 184

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 96, Brown 269

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.

Return to Top


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.

#490: Looking Back

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #490, on the subject of Looking Back.

Once again, as we did last year in web log post #461:  2022 in Review and in previous years linked successively back from there, we are recapping everything published in the past year–sort of.

I say “sort of” because once again some material is being omitted.  There have been a few hundred posts to the Christian Gamers Guild Bible Study which can be accessed there but aren’t really fully indexed anywhere.  Meanwhile, the dozen articles in the Faith in Play series and the similar dozen in the RPG-ology series were just indexed on the Christian Gamers Guild site in 2023 At the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, and won’t be repeated here.  The RPG-ology and Faith in Play series were both released in book form this year, along with two other books, RPG Theory 101 and Other Essays in Role Playing Games and An Analytical Commentary on The Book of Romans.  These are all available in paperback and Kindle format; follow the links for more information about them.

I also posted several days a week on my Patreon web log, which announces almost everything I publish elsewhere on the same day it’s published, but again omitting the Bible study posts.  There is also a bi-monthly review of my work at Goodreads under the title The Ides of Mark, now at sixty-two installments, which does include some information about those Bible Study materials.

This year saw the last of the web log song posts, at least as an ongoing series.  These included:

I continued posting the ninth Multiverser novel Con Verse Lea, featuring Lauren Hastings, Tomiko Takano, and James Beam, from chapter 27 to the end (chapter 85), which are indexed there along with several behind-the-writings posts about it, and after posting a few character papers to the support site I continued with the tenth novel, In Version, featuring Robert Slade, James Beam, Joseph Kondor, and Derek Brown, through chapter 91.  Behind-the-writings posts on these two books included web log posts:

Collaborator Eric R. Ashley and I have managed to finish the twelfth novel, A Dozen Verses, and the thirteenth, Multiverser:  The Thirteenth Story, and are working on one called Verse a Tile.  Separately, I picked up the horror book I dropped, Corpoises, and wrote a bit more, and will probably finish it shortly.  I’m also continuing setup work on the analytical commentary series.

I think the rest of everything is a bit miscellaneous and disorganized, but here’s what I find.

Mark Joseph “young” web log post #465:  Believing in Ghosts considers whether ghosts exist and what attitude Christians should have about them.  It was an answer to a question from a friend.

Another question from the same friend led to post #469:  Church History, rather narrowly focused on distinguishing Reformation Protestants from later Evangelicals and both from Pentecostals and Charismatics.

Responding to a question from a time travel fan, #474:  Preliminary Temporal Thoughts on Paper Girls looked at the description of a television series and the time travel implications.

In our Christian Gamers Guild Chaplain’s Bible Study the accout of the healings of Jairus’ daughter and the woman who touched the hem of his garment arose, and when I suggested the woman was the girl’s mother I was asked why I thought this.  That seemed too big a question for the Bible study, so it became web log post #475:  The Mother of Jairus’ Daughter.

A few years ago someone had written to ask me what I knew about Bernice Wurst, an artist who was a friend of my mother who gave me two of her paintings.  I had featured one of them in an article in the Game Ideas Unlimited series.  It bothered me that when I looked for information about her on the web, there wasn’t much, so I decided to record the few reminiscences I could recall in post #486:  Bernice Wurst:  Impressions of an Impressionist.

In other news, I made it to AnimeNEXT this year, and expect to be invited coming up in June once again; I edited and subsequently reviewed two books for a friend–the BeautyAndTheBell trilogy–and expect to start on the third soon; and I posted a few recipes and some other images to Instagram.

I think that summarizes the year; the new year has already gotten started, but you can keep up by following my social media sites including Patreon.  I’ve already started something new this year, but maybe I’ll tell you about it next year once I see how it goes.

#489: Battle Worlds

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #489, on the subject of Battle Worlds.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first nine Multiverser novels,

  1. Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel,
  2. Old Verses New,
  3. For Better or Verse,
  4. Spy Verses,
  5. Garden of Versers,
  6. Versers Versus Versers,
  7. Re Verse All,
  8. In Verse Proportion, and
  9. 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 seventh post for this novel, covering chapters 73 through 84.  Previous posts were:

  1. #476:  Versers Deduce, covering chapters 1 through 12;
  2. #478:  Character Conflicts, covering 13 through 24;
  3. #480:  Versers Think, 25 through 36
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.
  5. #484:  Characters Maneuver, 49 through 60.
  6. #487:  A World in Space, 61 through 72.

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.

Return to Top

Quick links to discussions in this page:
Chapter 73, Beam 178
Chapter 74, Kondor 238
Chapter 75, Brown 264
Chapter 76, Slade 233
Chapter 77, Beam 179
Chapter 78, Kondor 239
Chapter 79, Brown 265
Chapter 80, Slade 234
Chapter 81, Beam 180
Chapter 82, Kondor 240
Chapter 83, Brown 266
Chapter 84, Beam 181

Chapter 73, Beam 178

Eric had expressed concern that there be continuity to the story after we versed people out, and I proposed that just as Derek is crashing the ship into the ocean Beam would arrive.  I put him on the observation deck so he would understand where he was and to some degree what was happening.  It was then only a matter of figuring out what he would see.

Return to Top


Chapter 74, Kondor 238

I decided that having Joe and Zeke see the descent of the ship would help move the story forward; also, at this point I figured that Derek would have left the ship, but since Beam was on it Kondor would detect the scriff sense of a verser and not know it wasn’t Derek.

Return to Top


Chapter 75, Brown 264

We discussed this transition extensively before Eric put it together in this chapter.  The idea was to bring them to a place similar enough to the university they left behind that it would make sense that they could arrive there on a botch, and to build a future universe parallel to the one they left but with the two races and several others living in some kind of harmony in an interstellar empire.

Eric provided information concerning several of the races included in this book.

In this chapter Derek meets Kelp 1942, which becomes a significant character as the book continues.  Of the Kelp, Eric says those who go a-wandering and leave the great seas live in apartments filled with water.  This gives them space to move about.  However, if they want to be in public, they have to curl up and get in a floating diamondpane floater ball aquarium.  They are curious.  They also look for advantages in betting.

He also sees the Bilitate, which Eric describes as the Blue aliens from his earlier Multiverser book Beach with Dinosaurs.  They 1. Have no long bones, only vertebrae and joints.  2. In order to stand, they have to continually stress their muscles so they are considerably stronger than they look.  3.  They have airholes on the sides of their chests.  4.  They can only see Blue and Black.  They can see many more separate colors of blue than other races.  A piece of paper to them would look just blue to us, but they could read the Shade 124 Blue letters on the Shade 256 Blue paper background.  5. They are low grade empathic with each other.  6, They will be seen in groups of four or multiples thereof. 7, Their reflexes are considerably slower than human, so much so that a fast moving human might appear to teleport to them. 8, In this setting, they are definitely one of the non-warrior races.

He also sees a Parakeet and a little green man, finally given the name Chlorophyte by me, both described earlier in this book and previous books in the series.

Return to Top


Chapter 76, Slade 233

Eric carried this forward, gathering or creating four of the seven races–Parakeet (from my Verse Three, Chapter One), Chlorophyte (little green men from The Wanderer, in my Versers Versus Versers), Bilitate (from Eric’s previous Multiverser book Beach with Dinosaurs), Kelp, Dvander, and Dracorex–and then discussing the seventh with me, which led to the “second best at everything” race, which he named the Anders, pulling the name from the Greek.  More detail is given about each race in the chapters in which they first appear.

Eric also wanted to introduce the gladiator games theme for Slade.

In this chapter Slade sees a Volungas balloon, which Eric describes as intelligent, indeed very highly so.  But they rest, absorb sunlight, and at night lay on dirt to absorb minerals.  Because of their vast size, they think very deep, very slow thoughts with massive memories.  Most of them are older than the empire.  If you have a week to talk to one, you can get some very great knowledge.  Each of the hundred thousand of them is under the personal protection of the Emperor.  They have only a passing presence in this book.

There is also a confrontation with a Dvander, for which Eric offered information:  1. Claws at ends of fingertips.  2. Very good at counterpunching.  3. Faster than human reflexes.  4. Let’s go with muscular.  5. Fan-like ears make it hard to sneak up on them, and they can hear heartbeats so once they understand their foe, they can predict moves by hearing heartbeats.  6. The ears have talons to defend themselves automatically.  7. Most Dvandar have a technological ear guard which keeps them from being sonically overwhelmed.  8. Ears also serve as cooling fans as a Dvandar can overheat. 9. Dvandar sometimes strike before they think, that is the reflexive bit.  10. 5 feet tall, say.  11. Thin skin.  12. Amphibians, sure.  That adds interest.  [Amphibian–frogs, newts?]

Return to Top


Chapter 77, Beam 179

This was by way of orienting Beam to his new world and making it clear to the reader where he was.  Although at some point he was going to encounter the little green men whom we were elsewhere calling Chlorophytes, I didn’t want too much to happen all at once, and was still contemplating whether when the Chlorophytes recognized these as the same creatures as the versers they would capture them or surrender to them.

Return to Top


Chapter 78, Kondor 239

Eric suggested that Turbirb’durpa would be able to find Kondor’s mind and communicate with him; I agreed that while this would be irregular, because Turb hears all thoughts around him and Kondor’s telepathic efforts to find Derek would be like shouting, it could be done.  I also suggested the discussion about why Turb doesn’t teach Beam telepathy.

Return to Top


Chapter 79, Brown 265

Eric constructed this chapter both to provide resources for the versers and to bring them into the challenge fight.  We had to go back to clarify that “factory seconds” was a unit of currency based on the standard output of a factory per second, and that it did not refer to defective merchandise.

Return to Top


Chapter 80, Slade 234

I decided that the opponent should be a Dvandar, not their best fighter but one of the top choices.  Part of that was that I thought the Kelp wouldn’t have the influence to risk the life of a Dracorex, and although the Anders were the obvious second choice they were too like humans to make for an interesting fight.  A quick chat with Eric brought us to agreement on a lot of the details of the appearance and abilities, although I took the amphibian aspect combined with the muscular physique to suggest the ability to make long fast jumps.

Return to Top


Chapter 81, Beam 180

I suggested that we have Beam camp, and was uncertain whether it would get as far as them being discovered; it apparently didn’t.  I also suggested that there should be a Kondor chapter and then Derek should watch Slade’s fight.

Return to Top


Chapter 82, Kondor 240

I was writing, but it was Eric’s suggestion that Kondor head to the coast to help with disaster relief.  Since the world only recently got telegraphs and even trains were relatively new, it seemed this would be the first such disaster relief effort, although it was unclear what obstacles they might face.

Return to Top


Chapter 83, Brown 266

I wanted to show this combat from Derek’s viewpoint, and it worked fairly well that way.  It was a quick battle, but it was important to show Slade’s superiority.

Return to Top


Chapter 84, Beam 181

It was obvious that Beam’s story wouldn’t really move forward until he was interacting with the aliens, but just as obvious that those same aliens had no reason to look for him, and particularly none to look for him in what was essentially a wilderness preserve.  Thus the best option I could see was a chance encounter, and I had to find a way to create one.  The notion of an alien coming to the lake before dawn to fish made sense, and the fact that both Beam and Dawn have white hair would be significant.

Return to Top


This has been the seventh 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.

#488: The Songs of “Christmas Quick”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #488, on the subject of The Songs of “Christmas Quick”.

I suppose I have officially run out of recordings of my own compositions; hopefully I will find a way to record a few more songs for the new year.  However, as I realized I had reached December, I remembered that maybe a decade or so ago I arranged ten Christmas songs as midi recordings–technically nine songs, because I liked the first arrangement so much I redid it in a different instrumentation as the last.  It came to within a few seconds of twenty minutes worth of music, and I gave a CD to our pastor, Don Chroniger.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a way to string them together for you here, so you’ll have to listen to each one individually.

The entire project was inspired when I realized that with the change of just one note, the setting of Away in a Manger that I had learned as a boy could become a three-part round.  Using the midi program I then had, I selected midi human voices (“doo”) and sketched the three parts.  I called it Around a Manger, and it’s under two minutes long.

I remember being introduced to Carol of the Bells in high school chorus, and we sang it every year, and I generally appreciated its arrangement.  At some point years ago I arranged it for two guitars, and my wife managed to play it with me a few times, so I wrote out those two parts and added a bass guitar to flesh it out.  I was very surprised that it came in under one and a half minutes.

Also in high school chorus I encountered Shepherd’s Carol, and although I’ve heard quite a few versions of it since then, this one tracks closely to the arrangement we sang.  I decided it would sound good with recorders; it is under two minutes

Slower and longer than most here, O Come, O Come Emanuel is over two and a half minutes.  It is another guitars and bass arrangement.

I’ve always loved the haunting sound of Michael Praetorius’ Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming, and although I’ve always done it in four parts, I thought that three parts on recorders would work well.  It did.  I did two verses partly to extend it to just under two minutes, but partly because I wanted to drop the melody an octave and push the bass below for the second verse.  I again used the midi vocals.

I had actually been working on playing Silent Night on a guitar, and had composed both guitar parts.  I knew the song had been originally written for guitar accompaniment, so it seemed approprate.  I had fun creating the bass part, and the three verses run about two and a half minutes.

I don’t know when I first heard O Little Town of Bethlehem, but I love all three verses, and thus I broke one of my rules.  For all the others except Around a Manger I made every verse different; for this one, in order to get a good sound on so complex a song I needed all three guitars all the way through–and I wanted three verses so that when I listened to it I could mentally or vocally go through all the lyrics.  It is thus over two minutes long.

Sometime probably in the late 70s or early 80s my wife and I had a pair of recorders, so I did an arrangement of Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken for us to play together.  That is preserved in the first verse, and in those lines throughout.  Humorously, we played it for our gamer friend Bob Schretzman, who was flattered that we’d learned to play Deutschland Uber Alles for him.  Still, I took the original arrangement, added a tenor recorder to the second verse and a bass recorder to the third, and got a decent arrangement running about two minutes.

I had taught myself to play the guitar part that covers the melody, including the two-part chorus, of Angels We Have Heard On High, so I coded it into the midi program, and then worked on adding a second guitar and a bass guitar.  I was rather pleased with it; it runs just over two minutes.

I was sort of running out of ideas for Christmas songs I could arrange quickly, and I realized that I really liked the opening song but the three parts tended to blend into each other.  So I decided to do a second version of the song, using two guitars and a bass, each in its own octave, and so we have Around a Manger, reprised in a guitar version to close the set.

I offer no lyrics for this set; the songs are all out there somewhere, and the length of the lyrics for nine songs would be daunting.  I hope you know enough of them to enjoy the collection.  Perhaps these will give some of you ideas for your own arrangements.  Or you can burn these to a CD or save them on a thumb drive and play them for pre-service music at an upcoming nativity celebration.

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor” | #433:  The Song “From Job” | #436:  The Song “Trust Him Again” | #438:  The Song “Even You” | #441:  The Song “Fork in the Road” | #442:  The Song “Call to Worship” | #445:  The Song “How Many Times” | #447:  The Song “When I Was Lonely” | #450:  The Song “Rainy Days” | #453:  The Song “Never Alone” | #455:  The Song “King of Glory” | #457:  The Song “Greater Love” | #458:  The Song “All I Need” | #462:  The Song “John Three” | #464:  The Song “The Secret” | #466:  The Song “In a Mirror Dimly” | #468:  The Song “Present Your Bodies” | #471:  The Song “Walkin'” | #473:  The Song “In the Light of His Love” | #477:  The Song “Step by Step” | #479:  The Song “They That Trust” | #481:  The Song “To the Philadelphians” | #483:  The Song “Give Me a Vision” | #485:  The Song “Where Did I Go Wrong?”

#487: A World in Space

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #487, on the subject of A World in Space.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first nine Multiverser novels,

  1. Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel,
  2. Old Verses New,
  3. For Better or Verse,
  4. Spy Verses,
  5. Garden of Versers,
  6. Versers Versus Versers,
  7. Re Verse All,
  8. In Verse Proportion, and
  9. 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 sixth post for this novel, covering chapters 61 through 72.  Previous posts were:

  1. #476:  Versers Deduce, covering chapters 1 through 12;
  2. #478:  Character Conflicts, covering 13 through 24;
  3. #480:  Versers Think, 25 through 36
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.
  5. #484:  Characters Maneuver, 49 through 60.

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.

Return to Top

Quick links to discussions in this page:
Chapter 61, Beam 176
Chapter 62, Slade 229
Chapter 63, Kondor 236
Chapter 64, Brown 260
Chapter 65, Beam 177
Chapter 66, Slade 230
Chapter 67, Brown 261
Chapter 68, Kondor 237
Chapter 69, Slade 231
Chapter 70, Brown 262
Chapter 71, Slade 232
Chapter 72, Brown 263

Chapter 61, Beam 176

Although I drafted this chapter, Eric had contributed some of the ideas for it in discussion.  We were considering the bears as an ironic exit from this world.  Eric kept using the word “chimera” in a sense unfamiliar to me, but which apparently suggested some genetic manipulation of some sort, so I stopped with the appearance of the bears and suggested Eric revise it as desired.

Return to Top


Chapter 62, Slade 229

Eric drafted this originally as chapter 60, but I inserted two chapters mostly to give a credible feeling that they had prepared for it.  At the end, Eric had the ships separating for two separate landing sites, but my previous descriptions of the ship suggested that launch bays were near the bottom and the bridge and simulator near the top and elevators in the center, so it made the most sense for them to use the same bay even if there were more than one, and do at least part of the journey together.

Return to Top


Chapter 63, Kondor 236

Eric drafted this, and it went with only minor editing.

Return to Top


Chapter 64, Brown 260

Eric drafted this.  We had discussed such issues as whether they would find a vehicle of some sort, and Eric wanted to have a lot of combat aboard the ship; even so I was surprised that they disembarked directly into a firefight.

Return to Top


Chapter 65, Beam 177

I chose not to start this chapter because I thought Eric had some ideas about the bear(s).  Eric eventually wrote the attack.

At this point, we were both fairly certain that at least two and possibly all four of our viewpoint characters would be versing out within the next few chapters.  Our biggest problem was that we were quite uncertain where to send any of them.

Return to Top


Chapter 66, Slade 230

I was waiting to see what Eric would do with Beam’s bear “chimera”, but I decided to jump ahead on the Slade and Brown threads.  One reason I jumped into that was that I realized that the robot had been an animal capture bot, and could probably appear to be so if it were carrying them, which would let them be insignificant in a different way.

The cliffhanger was intended to set up the next Brown chapter with Slade killing an alien.  I envisioned it as an alien with a clipboard, recalling his first kill in the first book.

Return to Top


Chapter 67, Brown 261

Having set up the fight, I came back and wrote it, mostly because I liked the image of Slade being ignored by the alien until the attack fell.  This delivered Derek to the right floor and sent Slade into his big combat.

I had Derek learn the Insignificancy spell without any notion of when or whether he would use it.

Return to Top


Chapter 68, Kondor 237

Eric wrote this mostly to let the reader know that we hadn’t forgotten Kondor.  He included seeing a flash in space, but I removed that because first I thought it too soon and second I didn’t think Slade could produce any explosion large enough to be seen from the ground without somehow destroying the ship.

Return to Top


Chapter 69, Slade 231

Eric wrote this, in which there was a great deal of combat and Slade was barely hanging on to life from the sound of it.  I thought it too long, and so at the point where the former captain robot produces blades I decided it was time to catch up with Derek, and broke the chapter into two.

Return to Top


Chapter 70, Brown 262

I inserted this chapter to break the extended Slade battle and catch up with what Derek was doing taking over the ship.

Return to Top


Chapter 71, Slade 232

This was the end of Eric’s original Slade 231, which I pushed by inserting the Brown chapter.

Return to Top


Chapter 72, Brown 263

I wrote this as the endgame for Seeker’s attack on the parakeets.

Return to Top


This has been the sixth 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.

#486: Bernice Wurst: Impressions of an Impressionist

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #486, on the subject of Bernice Wurst:  Impressions of an Impressionist.

This is about a twentieth century impressionist painter who lived in, of all places, Scotch Plains, New Jersey.  I am surprised that she does not have a page on Wikipedia, particularly since I do (or at least at one point did; I don’t generally check on such things), and I somehow suspect that more people own or have owned her paintings than my books.  I, however, am not the person to create that page.  I knew her, but only in the way children know the friends of their parents.  Still, I will share a few recollections here, in case someone decides to create that page.

Mrs. Wurst–for so I was taught to call her–lived around the corner from our Brookside Drive house, on the corner of Seward Drive right where it terminates (or perhaps begins) at Golf Street.  My mother would sometimes walk down there with the four of us in tow to visit her and her husband Frank.  More often she would come to our house to have coffee with my mother, and they were one of the couples who came to my parents’ bridge parties when I was in elementary school.  When we left Scotch Plains in 1967 my parents stayed in touch, but I saw much less of them; I believe they came to my wedding in 1976, but that reception of over a hundred people was something of a blur, and honestly greeting old acquaintances was not in the forefront of my mind.  I suspect her hair must have been blond when I was younger; I remember it as white.  She was a few years older than my mother, but then, my mother always looked young for her age and now in her nineties still does.

I suspect my mother must have several of her paintings; she has on display artwork by a number of friends and relatives, and I never learned who created what.  However, we have two.  The first was a wedding present, and I wrote a bit about it and posted a photo of it to the web in an article entitled Game Ideas Unlimited:  My North Wall, about stimulating creative ideas from ordinary surroundings, back in 2000.  That site has since vanished, but the article was republished with the image as RPG-ology #39:  My North Wall by the Christian Gamers Guild, and preserved in print in the book RPG-ology Volume I:  The First Five Years, with the photo of the painting featured on the back cover.  It is a still life, flowers in a vase or pot, although the article mentions something we saw in it which might not have been intended by the artist.

The other, pictured here, was a graduation present when I earned my doctorate.  I’m told that she was going to give me a different still life, but my mother suggested, undoubtedly correctly, that I would prefer this landscape.  I know nothing else about either picture.  I had always assumed they were oils, but I am not a painter and comments on E-bay suggest that she preferred to work in acrylics.

I remember one Halloween in what must have been the mid sixties when I had returned from trick-or-treating and was manning the door.  Someone I took to be a teenaged boy, oriental (I would not have been able to distinguish Japanese at the time, but I suspect that was the garb), was at the door.  He did not want candy, and he kept saying to go get my mother, although he spoke as if there were something impeding his speech.  I reluctantly summoned her, and she somewhat impatiently came to the door and asked him what he wanted–at which point he revealed that he was Mrs. Wurst in disguise.  I don’t feel bad about not having recognized her–my mother laughed in astonishment and I believe invited her in, although that’s as much as my young memory retains all these decades later.  She seemed a light, fun-loving, perhaps playful sort of person in my perhaps limited experience.

I wish I could tell you more; I must have encountered her more than a hundred times over the years, but most of those would have been her drinking coffee with my mother at the kitchen table as I was passing through.  It’s funny how we can know significant people and not recognize their significance.  I knew she painted pictures; I did not know she was one of the state’s recognized artists.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Wurst, and thank you for the paintings.

#485: The Song “Where Did I Go Wrong?”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #485, on the subject of The Song “Where Did I Go Wrong?”.

Last month I gave you a song that had never been performed, a recording of a choral arrangement with midi vocals and a midi piano, along with lyrics and an image of the hymn setting for it.  This month again the recording is midi instruments and midi vocals, with a lyric sheet–but this time the song isn’t finished.  I have not managed to write the lyrics for the bridge.  It’s also very different, a progressive or new wave rock sound.

I told you I was scraping they bottom of the barrel.  I hope to be able to record a few more songs in the months ahead, because indeed there are more songs, I just need to be able to record them.

People ask what you write first, the words or the music, and the answer is not only no, it’s more complicated than that.  The music has at least two parts, and the lyrics similarly have at least two parts.  For the music, there is the musical progression–chords, baselines, rhythms, everything that goes in the background–and the melody; sometimes, as in this song, there are two melodies, or more than two if it turns out contrapuntal.  Then the lyrics involve figuring out the subject, working out the rhyme scheme, and fitting words to the music that tell the subject and fit the rhyme and meter scheme.

If I remember aright, this song began with the background, which I pieced together on a midi program which for a while Scorio provided free online.  This included the intro, verses, and bridge, and the tag at the end.  Once I had the background I wrote the melodies–two parts, but no words.  I then must have started on the words–I know this because I have a document containing the words that first contains a lot of scraps of possible lyrics some of which were used, or modified, or discarded.  Eventually I carefully constructed two verses with a rhyme and meter scheme that fit the melody, and used one of the lines as the tag line after the bridge.

But I never came up with lyrics for the bridge.  Obviously I had a meter pattern and line length, because I’d written the melodies.  I couldn’t figure out what the words should be, even quite exactly what they should express.  I tossed it at a couple people with whom I had collaborated in the past, but they indicated no interest in helping this time.  I come back to it a few times each year and try to figure out what to do with it, but it seems unlikely that I’m going to come up with anything any time soon.

Feel free to suggest something if you’ve got any ideas.

This is the original midi recording.  It is again very different from anything else I remember writing, and I regret that it is not a song I can perform.  Markings on the page tell me that I had envisioned Collision performing this when Sara joined us but before Kyle left, which puts it in the early months of 2013.  I think I had actually set it up for two bass guitars, but changed one of them to a keyboard because I had Jonathan on keys and didn’t have a second bass at that time.

Where Did I Go Wrong?.

So here are the lyrics.

Where did I go,
Where did I go,
Where did I go wrong, to reach such misery?
Why’d it take so long for me to see?
Oh that someone strong would come along and rescue me!

How can I be,
How can I be,
How can I be spared from this calamity?
I was unprepared for what would be!
Oh that someone cared and dared to come and rescue me!

(Bridge lyrics not written)

La-di-da-da-lah-di-da-da-lah-di-da-da-lah;
La-di-da-da-lah-di-da-da-lah-di-da-da-lah;

La-di-da-da-lah-di-da-da-lah-di-da-da-lah;
La-di-da-da-lah-di-da-da-lah-di-da-da-lah;

Oh that someone cared and dared to come and rescue me!

*****

Previous web log song posts:

#301:  The Song “Holocaust” | #307:  The Song “Time Bomb” | #311:  The Song “Passing Through the Portal” | #314:  The Song “Walkin’ In the Woods” | #317:  The Song “That’s When I’ll Believe” | #320:  The Song “Free” | #322:  The Song “Voices” | #326:  The Song “Mountain, Mountain” | #328:  The Song “Still Small Voice” | #334:  The Song “Convinced” | #337:  The Song “Selfish Love” | #340:  The Song “A Man Like Paul” | #341:  The Song “Joined Together” | #346:  The Song “If We Don’t Tell Them” | #349: The Song “I Can’t Resist You’re Love” | #353:  The Song “I Use to Think” | #356:  The Song “God Said It Is Good” | #362:  The Song “My Life to You” | #366:  The Song “Sometimes” | #372:  The Song “Heavenly Kingdom” | #378:  The Song “A Song of Joy” | #382:  The Song “Not Going to Notice” | #387:  The Song “Our God Is Good” | #393:  The Song “Why” | #399:  The Song “Look Around You” | #404:  The Song “Love’s the Only Command” | #408:  The Song “Given You My Name” | #412:  The Song “When I Think” | #414:  The Song “You Should Have Thanked Me” | #428:  The Song “To the Victor” | #433:  The Song “From Job” | #436:  The Song “Trust Him Again” | #438:  The Song “Even You” | #441:  The Song “Fork in the Road” | #442:  The Song “Call to Worship” | #445:  The Song “How Many Times” | #447:  The Song “When I Was Lonely” | #450:  The Song “Rainy Days” | #453:  The Song “Never Alone” | #455:  The Song “King of Glory” | #457:  The Song “Greater Love” | #458:  The Song “All I Need” | #462:  The Song “John Three” | #464:  The Song “The Secret” | #466:  The Song “In a Mirror Dimly” | #468:  The Song “Present Your Bodies” | #471:  The Song “Walkin'” | #473:  The Song “In the Light of His Love” | #477:  The Song “Step by Step” | #479:  The Song “They That Trust” | #481:  The Song “To the Philadelphians” | #483:  The Song “Give Me a Vision” |

Next song: The Songs of “Christmas Quick”

#484: Characters Maneuver

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #484, on the subject of Characters Maneuver.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first nine Multiverser novels,

  1. Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel,
  2. Old Verses New,
  3. For Better or Verse,
  4. Spy Verses,
  5. Garden of Versers,
  6. Versers Versus Versers,
  7. Re Verse All,
  8. In Verse Proportion, and
  9. 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 fifth post for this novel, covering chapters 49 through 60.  Previous posts were:

  1. #476:  Versers Deduce, covering chapters 1 through 12;
  2. #478:  Character Conflicts, covering 13 through 24;
  3. #480:  Versers Think, 25 through 36; and
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.

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.

Return to Top

Quick links to discussions in this page:
Chapter 49, Beam 173
Chapter 50, Slade 226
Chapter 51, Kondor 233
Chapter 52, Beam 174
Chapter 53, Brown 257
Chapter 54, Slade 227
Chapter 55, Kondor 234
Chapter 56, Beam 175
Chapter 57, Slade 228
Chapter 58, Brown 258
Chapter 59, Kondor 235
Chapter 60, Brown 259

Chapter 49, Beam 173

The idea that Beam would move to the master bedroom and Ashleigh would join him while Sophia vented her anger may have been one reason I delayed the completion of the body removal until the next day–although in truth it was too big a job to be completed at one go.  Having her light up the night with fire spells seemed an appropriate way for her to vent, and also would give a reason why in the short-term future more zombies would arrive.

Return to Top


Chapter 50, Slade 226

I had a lot of problems with Eric’s original draft of this, including that he had Slade smashing a delicate advanced electronic device with a hammer on the excuse that part of it was broken, and that he wanted Derek to fly the saucer to a distant location to bring back just parts essentially broken off another saucer.  I felt that Kondor would want to preserve everything salvageable, including any undamaged circuits in the engine.  That impacted the upcoming battle.  Also, Eric had originally made Slade the divine spokesperson who had to communicate to the world via shortwave, and had the others teasing him about being a god, which didn’t really work because Slade almost thinks himself one and wouldn’t be upset by it, and Kondor would find the idea so offensive he wouldn’t even tease about it.  Besides, Slade is the one verser who actually whistles the Parakeet language, everyone else singing it, so he would not be entirely recognizable as an alien voice on the radio.  So Eric managed to reverse it.

Return to Top


Chapter 51, Kondor 233

Some of the problems with Eric’s first draft stemmed from the idea that Derek and Slade would be gone and would have left Vashti and Shella behind, and I had nixed the flight largely because Derek’s saucer would immediately be a target if he overflew parakeet defenses any distance at all from the university.  Also, I thought the hangar at least a quarter of a mile from the houses and Eric thought it was fairly close.  That led to the suggestion that the battle be split, that there be a second attacking force over by the hangar repelled by Derek and Slade.  After I made a bunch of suggestions, Eric did substantial rewriting to make it work.

Return to Top


Chapter 52, Beam 174

After we had moved the bodies to the yard–and we never contemplated moving them anywhere other than the yard, it was just a long debate about how to do that–I realized that Sophia probably wouldn’t be less unhappy with a pile of corpses in the back yard than she was with them in the basement, but there really wasn’t another option.  Further, it satisfied her requirement, so she was going to have to acquiesce to joining Beam and Ashleigh in the same bed.

Return to Top


Chapter 53, Brown 257

Eric surprised me with the funeral, but it was well done and was kept with only minor style and grammar fixes.

Return to Top


Chapter 54, Slade 227

Again Eric surprised with this.  I had a few objections and changes, but in the main it went as written.  We had some discussion of how many people were on campus after it was evacuated, and so had to reduce the number of casualties some.

Return to Top


Chapter 55, Kondor 234

Eric started this, with the rest up through the suggestion that the rain was making it possible to move the saucer from the train to the hangar.  I then took over, suggesting what repairs and adjustments had to be made, and that Joe would be needed for some of that.  Then I interrupted, and in essence drafted a suggested section in which Derek prays for Joe to be healed, and it works.  Eric agreed that it worked, but pointed out that I had accidentally changed the location, so that had to be shifted to make it work.

Return to Top


Chapter 56, Beam 175

I put this together.  Several of the ideas had been discussed previously, and it was time to do something with Beam and more living zombies.  Although the chapter could easily have continued to cover more, it seemed a good place to break and go back to the others.

Return to Top


Chapter 57, Slade 228

I drafted this mostly to move forward on getting the spaceships flight ready.  I wrote enough to give the impression that everything was being done, and decided to sleep on whatever else might happen next.

Return to Top


Chapter 58, Brown 258

This was Eric’s work, although I had suggested there would be another Gatling gun, probably a prototype, in engineering, and so Eric was figuring out where to put it.

Return to Top


Chapter 59, Kondor 235

More of Eric’s work, setting up for a ground battle.

Return to Top


Chapter 60, Brown 259

Eric had gone directly into Slade 229 with the launching of the shuttles, but I thought it vital that there be a place where Shella teaches Derek the teleport spell, and probably important that there be something about Derek teaching Bob and Shella to fly the ship, so I inserted this chapter, and then the next Beam chapter to shift the focus.

Return to Top


This has been the fifth 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.