All posts by M.J.

464: The Song “The Secret”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #464, on the subject of The Song “The Secret”.

I sing this song from time to time in my solo concerts, but not that often–people just don’t seem to get it.

I remember that the first person for whom I sang it was Jeff Zurheide, in Evans Hall at Gordon College, so it must have been 1975 or 6, not later than 78.  He stared at me, and said that he thought I was going to end by saying that if you couldn’t do all those things just ask Jesus and he’ll help you do them.  That, of course, is not how it ends.  I played it some time later for Phil Keaggy, who was not really expecting someone to walk up to him after a concert carrying a guitar and singing a song, and all he said was it was interesting.

It comes from a silly saying, that there are two ways to get to heaven.  One was to be sinlessly perfect your entire life, and the other was the right way.  That’s what I wanted to capture with this.

This is another vocals-over-midi-instruments recording.  Although it sounds as if the eleventh and twelfth commandments are the two given as the most important by Jesus, they were references to two commandments I’d heard in my teens, Thou shalt not hassle and Thou shalt not sweat.  There actually were scripture references to support those, but I’m not sure what they were.  The point was to make the requirements seem as impossible to keep as they are.  Someone commented that they appreciated the shift near the end from the “never” rules to the “always” rules, that more was required than simply refraining from evil, that some positive good was part of it.

The Secret.

So here are the lyrics.

Everybody wants to know the secret;
Ev’ryone is looking for a way.
People tell us how to get to heaven,
But they disagree in what they say.

Some men say sincerity
Will pay the price of liberty,
But people make mistakes when they’re sincere.
Some men tell you to believe
Anything you do believe,
But that doesn’t seem to be quite clear.

I’ve waded through the answers;
I’ve found the one that’s true,
So if you’ll stop and listen,
I’ll pass it on to you.

God expects perfection from your birth until your death.
This is all you really have to do:
Keep your whole life perfect with your ev’ry passing breath.
This is what the Lord expects of you:

Keep the ten commandments, the eleventh, and the twelfth;
Love the Lord above all else,
And love your neighbor as yourself,
Show kindness to your enemy,
And give to all abundantly.
Never hate a man, never tell a lie,
Never doubt the truth, never question why,
Always bear the pain, always take the time,
Always keep the law, always stay in line.
Then perhaps you’ll make it to his throne;
Then perhaps you’ll make it on your own.

But if you’ve any trouble, there’s a better way:
Turn around and give your life to Christ,
And God will touch you with His power, and starting from that day
He’ll give to you a brand new kind of life.

Yes, if you’ve any trouble, there’s a better way:
Turn around and give your life to Christ,
And God will touch you with His power, and starting from that day
He’ll give to you a brand new kind of life.

*****

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”

463: Characters Unsettled

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #463, on the subject of Characters Unsettled.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first eight 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, and
  8. In Verse Proportion,

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 ninth, Con Verse Lea,  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 18 through 34.  The first, covering chapters 1 through 17, appeared as web log post #460:  Versers Reorganize.

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.

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Quick links to discussions in this page:
Chapter 18, Beam 126
Chapter 19, Takano 64
Chapter 20, Beam 127
Chapter 21, Hastings 238
Chapter 22, Beam 128
Chapter 23, Takano 65
Chapter 24, Beam 129
Chapter 25, Hastings 239
Chapter 26, Beam 130
Chapter 27, Takano 66
Chapter 28, Beam 131
Chapter 29, Hastings 240
Chapter 30, Beam 132
Chapter 31, Takano 67
Chapter 32, Beam 133
Chapter 33, Hastings 241
Chapter 34, Beam 134

Chapter 18, Beam 126

I was figuring out a lot of detail for this world.  I had run it at least thrice before, but never with a group and only once with an adult character and usually in the “alpha” setting (medieval).  At this point I did not know where Beam was going to stay or what he would do.  Returning to Ashleigh’s home was the best option.

The original of this chapter contained this text:

“Did you make your own sword?”

“My sword was made by the blacksmith we visited earlier.”

“I didn’t see any swords in his shop.”

“Of course not.  The soldiers would arrest him if they knew he made swords for anyone other than them.  When someone needs a sword, they save up the rice for it and then visit the smith to ask him to make it.  In a day or two they pick it up.”

On a re-read it struck me that the ninja-to was a feature in the medieval version of this world, but absent from the modern one, and so since it hadn’t been mentioned I deleted the reference.

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Chapter 19, Takano 64

I had spent some time trying to figure out what the scouting teams would see and what they would report.  I realized that I needed them all to return quickly, and one excellent way to do that would be to terrify them with some machine.  Ploughs were the first and simplest choice.

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Chapter 20, Beam 127

I was very much delayed on this, partly because I was working on other projects including that web log series about the credibility of the Exodus account, but partly because I was inching forward.  I had had a mental breakthrough on Lauren and Tommy’s story, but was still trying to work out how Beam and Ashleigh manage to get moving forward.  The idea that she would go on a mission without telling him seemed the right first step.

I was also working through the right level of technology for peasant homes in this world, and decided on cold running water and plumbed outhouses.

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Chapter 21, Hastings 238

I wanted to bring back the third team, but I didn’t want it to seem either as if the three teams all came back at once, or on the other hand that one of them was out longer than was reasonable.  Thus I wound up with this chapter about Lauren and Tommy waiting.

I had expected to describe what Boronir’s team found in more detail, but thought that it was time to transition back to Beam and that I should delay it for the next chapter.  It also gave me a sort of cliffhanger, which I liked.

I had spent quite a long time thinking about what this third scouting team would have found and how Lauren would proceed from here.  There was going to be a place to camp, and I considered having Boronir describe it, but the more I considered it the less sense it made.  Ultimately I decided that the brave former tennan would have to be stopped by something he didn’t understand how to pass, and that Lauren could find the campground by magic.  I also worked out how the technologically-oriented deity of that world could answer her prayer, but that’s for the next chapter.

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Chapter 22, Beam 128

I was still unsure how Beam was going to become integrated into this world.  I didn’t see him apprenticing to an herbalist, which several players have done, but his style was not terribly consistent with the ninja program.  He was going to need a place to live, food, and something to do, none of which seemed obvious at this point.

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Chapter 23, Takano 65

I had expected to have Boronir describe the fence, but decided that this wouldn’t be terribly interesting and I needed to get the people on the road, so I rushed through that and went as directly to Lauren’s spell as I could.

The idea of the direction coming as a map on Tommy’s cell phone had occurred to me a few nights before as I was driving and mentally trying to unravel how to move all the stories forward.  I remembered that Lauren had that direction spell, and that it had worked before in this world, but I needed a technological way for the magic to work.  Tommy had both a laptop and a cell phone, but cell phone map programs made more sense, being designed to work as GPS systems.

I have also mentally worked out the destination, but I’m still working on how to present the journey.

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Chapter 24, Beam 129

I struck on the idea of attacking villas pretty much incidentally.  I had envisioned most of the nobles living in cities, with peasant servants, but realized that attacking homes in the cities would mean needing a place to hide.  I’m beginning to form a plan.

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Chapter 25, Hastings 239

I had intended this to take them to the gate, but I realized that I needed to stop for lunch, and when I did I realized I needed water, and the best way to do that was by tapping an irrigation pipe.  However, as I invented how those pipes worked, I realized that Lauren and Tommy weren’t going to be able to open it by physical means.  I decided that opening a valve magically would be a release lock or hold spell, within the bias, and that calling for water could use Moses as an example, so I built all of that.  However, it took long enough that my chapter ended there.

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Chapter 26, Beam 130

Again I expected to move further forward in this chapter, which was going to be about making the map, but I first had to figure out the camping arrangements which took more ink than I anticipated.  Still, I wasn’t really sure how to write the mapmaking section, so I’m not complaining.

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Chapter 27, Takano 66

Getting this organized was the trick.  I needed Lauren to kill the turkeys, but I also needed her to examine the gate and talk about setting camp on this side of it.  I had been thinking about Tommy’s concern about dangerous animals for a while, and needed to get that in here as well.  Thus piecing it together in a sensible sequence was the challenge, and I cut off the story before becoming too involved in everything else.

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Chapter 28, Beam 131

The map had been on my mind for a while, a necessary step to Beam starting his actions.  I also decided that they should sleep in the woods, because he was not going to be comfortable celebrating his honeymoon in his bride’s mother’s common room.

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Chapter 29, Hastings 240

I had expected to come to this sooner, and had anticipated the difficulty of conveying everything Lauren had to teach these people and the challenges of working without the best tools.

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Chapter 30, Beam 132

Life stalled this chapter at least a week, and although I knew the essential story elements, I wasn’t sure how to compose them.  The plot has a few chapters to it, but the execution still promises to be challenging.

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Chapter 31, Takano 67

Starting this chapter, I only knew that it began with entering the woods, and that I couldn’t have them reach the campsite until the next chapter because I needed the hike to seem long.  The dialogue arose to give a sense of the passage of time, but it raised important issues.

I wondered about what they would be able to find for food, particularly as Lauren is the only one who has any experience hunting.  I pondered if there were any crops that might be grown in patches in the woods, and wondered about cranberry bogs, but a quick check determined these were not harvested until late fall.  I also considered other berries, which often grow in wild patches, but for a hundred people this would require rather large fields of them.  I thought of my solution, which should come in the next chapter.

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Chapter 32, Beam 133

I had spent quite a while trying to decide how Beam could take over a villa.  The moving in did not seem to be a problem; it was avoiding being evicted.  What I decided was that he had to make the commanders reluctant to attack.  I thus knew before Beam took over the villa that he would be leaving it early in the morning and demolishing it when the soldiers arrived to retake it.

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Chapter 33, Hastings 241

I long pondered how to make the shooting work.  I tried to imagine how the buck would fail to notice or react to the arrival of a crowd of people, or how Lauren could manage to be carrying her bow and pulling her cart.  That pressed me to finding a reason for Lauren to scout ahead, and Tommy’s fear of predators gave me something.

I had looked up the amount of meat on a buck, and whether a bow hunter could bring one down with one shot, just to be certain I wasn’t being unreasonable.  It turns out forty percent of the weight of a one hundred fifty pound buck (large) is edible meat.  It also occurred to me that deer is kosher (cleaves the hoof and chews the cud) so it would probably be fairly safe.

The water spout was one of the first features I’d envisioned for the campsite.  It occurs to me that I’ve got a couple more, and I’m going to have to consider why Lauren has not yet seen them, but she hasn’t explored far yet.

I wanted Lauren to say, or think, “Hi, honey, I’m home”, and even returned to the chapter looking for how to fit it into what I’d written, but it wouldn’t work with what I had.

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Chapter 34, Beam 134

Beam’s expectation is that after what he did to the soldiers who came to retake the first villa, the military will be a bit less rash in their response this time.  In game he would need a good general effects roll for that, but I’m giving it to him here, partly because I think it likely despite the attitudes of the soldier nobility.

What I don’t have is a next step for him.

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This has been the second behind-the-writings look at Con Verse Lea.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with more behind-the-writings posts and another novel.

#462: The Song “John Three”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #462, on the subject of The Song “John Three”.

Sometime around 1969-70 I wrote a song entitled I Die At the Dawn–I wrote a lot of songs about death and dying back then.  It had rather vapid but sad lyrics and long instrumental stretches.  Then in 1973 when BLT Down morphed into The Last Psalm, I rewrote the words, created melodies over the instrumental sections, and created Saturday’s Song, about the despair the disciples must have felt between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  It was one of the rockier songs in the repertoire, and a crowd pleaser.

This is not that song.

However, that song was the impetus for something.  My lead guitarist Jeffrey Robert Zurheide subsequently wrote a duet, a conversation in which a soldier orders a cross from a carpenter, and we were off and running on a rock opera about Passion Week, every song told with Jesus off stage by people who had been there.  We eventually had about a dozen songs in the series, and this was one of them.

I have not recorded many of these, partly because there are several on which I would not be able to sing the soprano part, partly because I never finished writing the massive finale.  There will be another that I recorded mostly because when I wrote it I had no one to perform it and wanted to preserve the intricate music.  This one I wrote because it was co-written with David D. Oldham (and his friend Stephen Fredette), who insisted I make these recordings, so I included it on the first disk I made for him.

It follows the crucifixion, and sees Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus sitting outside the tomb in which they have just sealed the body of Jesus, talking about their own despair and lack of direction.  The “three angry men” section is a musical variant of the original theme from Saturday’s Song (it’s in 3/4 in the original, developing into a fugue, while here it is in a syncopated 4 with harmony).  The two characters sing it as a duet, and we performed it with The Last Psalm, another of the rockier songs in the repertoire.  The vocals-over-midi-instruments recording of it is one of the better ones.

John Three.

So here are the lyrics.

Oh, Nicodemus, I’m asking you,
Where do we go from here?  What do we do?
Joseph, I’m horrified–my hopes are crucified.
He died on a cross for three angry men,
None of whom will be blamed.
He died all alone, the cross was His throne–
The world must have gone insane.
Where do we go when we know that our hopes have been crucified?

Now that we’ve buried Him, where do we go?
I’d like to tell you, but I just don’t know.
If He had made it clear,
Then we would not be here.
He died on a cross for three angry men,
None of whom will be blamed.
He died like a man, with nails in his hand.
How could he stand the pain?
Where do we go when we know that our hopes have been crucified?

Oh, how could one day, so brief and grim,
Bring such distress to us, and death to Him?
So now we stand for Him against our fears,
But since we rose too late, we’re standing here.

We’ve gone too far my friend to turn back now.
We should go on ahead, but don’t know how.
We can’t forget Him friend.
Have we been born again?
He died on a cross for three angry men,
He died on a cross for three angry men,
He died on a cross for three angry men–
Where do we go when we know that our hopes have been crucified?

*****

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”

Next song: The Secret

#461: 2022 In Review

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #461, on the subject of 2022 In Review.

Each year I try to post an index of everything I published in the previous year.  I’ve done it before, obviously, so working backwards you can find previous years (and in the early days of the web log, partial years) at:

It has been an unusually productive year–in the sense that it has been productive in unusual ways.  In the wake of the release last year of my comprehensive apologetics book Why I Believe from Dimensionfold Publishing, they put to print my summary of time travel theory, The Essential Guide to Time Travel:  Temporal Anomalies & Replacement Theory, and republished three earlier books, Do You Trust Me? summarizing salvation by faith as the only way of salvation ever, What Does God Expect?  A Gospel-based Approach to Christian Conduct about living a Christian life without following rules, and About the Fruit, a study of the famous passage in Galatians and its place in that book and in the history of the first century church.  There is a long list of pending titles moving toward publication next year, beginning with a printed collection of the Faith in Play series–more on that later.

There were twelve entries in that series this year, including several on archetypes, a few on bringing divine acts into the game, some about spirits and the afterlife, and a couple about Christianity and role playing games.  The companion series, RPG-ology, also slated to be compiled and released in book form next year, gave us eight recovered Game Ideas Unlimited articles from the old Gaming Outpost series, plus one more originally in the e-zine Daedalus, and a few new suggestions for running games.  All of those are indexed at the Christian Gamers Guild, 2022 At the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, along with a few other articles at that site.

There were also many posts on the Chaplain’s Bible Study, which finished the Gospel According to John and began working on Mark, along with several Musings posts.

The Multiverser novels continued in serialized form, finishing the eighth, In Verse Proportion, featuring Joe Kondor, Bob Slade, and Derek Brown, and starting the ninth, Con Verse Lea, with the return of Lauren Hastings, Tomiko Takano, and James Beam.  These were accompanied by behind-the-writings peeks as mark Joseph “young” web log posts:

In collaboration with author Eric R. Ashley, I’ve got the tenth and eleventh books fully drafted, and we have started on the twelfth.  I also posted updated character sheets for Joseph Kondor, Robert Slade, Derek Brown, Lady Shella, Ezekiel Smith, and Amira Vashti, and am working on the next set of these.

The web log also posted eleven songs–not twelve, because due to government red tape tangles I was off line for a full month, but it only cost us a bit.  We saw, and heard (there are audio files linked from the pages which contain the lyrics and a story behind the song) including:

  1. #436:  The Song “Trust Him Again”;
  2. #438:  The Song “Even You”;
  3. #441:  The Song “Fork in the Road”;
  4. #442:  The Song “Call to Worship”;
  5. #445:  The Song “How Many Times”;
  6. #447:  The Song “When I Was Lonely”;
  7. #450:  The Song “Rainy Days”;
  8. #453:  The Song “Never Alone”;
  9. #455:  The Song “King of Glory”;
  10. #457:  The Song “Greater Love”;
  11. #458:  The Song “All I Need”;

Other web log posts included:

There was a new analysis added to the Temporal Anomalies site, Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies unravels The History of Time Travel, a clever mockumentary in which time travel was never invented because its inventor prevented it.

Those upcoming books include compilations of the first five years of articles in the Faith in Play and RPG-ology series, plus a book of collected essays on role playing games, and then I hope to see a series of commentaries on the New Testament, one book at a time.  I began with Romans a decade and a half ago, worked my way through the end of Revelation, then doubled back to do John, Mark, and Matthew, and am currently working on Luke.  after that, I will be going through Acts, which will complete the New Testament hopefully within my lifetime.

On the web, I have a few Faith in Play and RPG-ology entries queued to post and a couple more waiting for me to set them up.  There will be more web log posts, and hopefully I’ll get to some of the time travel movies I’ve noted are available on various web streaming services.  Of course, the novels continue, and the Bible Study will be around for a while yet.

I have an Instagram account, and early in the year I decided to post some of my Gazebos in the Wild photos to it, along with some other things there.  They are mostly in the categories of nonsense or personal, but you’re welcome to look.

Those who wish to stay current on what is being posted can get that from my social media outlets, but particularly Patreon, where I announce everything that posts on the day it posts, other than the Bible Study; and the Goodreads web log The Ides of Mark which publishes twice a month and includes the Bible Study posts.

There are also still more songs to come, and one should be released later today.

#460: Versers Reorganize

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #460, on the subject of Versers Reorganize.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first eight 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, and
  8. In Verse Proportion,

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 ninth, Con Verse Lea,  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 first post for this novel, covering chapters 1 through 17.

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.

Chapter 1, Hastings 233

I decided to start with Lauren primarily because I already knew quite a few things she was going to do, and I had left her and Tommy on a cliffhanger with Tommy having the last chapter back in Re Verse All.  Besides, I had not yet written as much as a dozen chapters of the eighth novel and had not decided whether there would be three or four characters in this book, or who the other one or two would be.  There was a strong argument for including Beam, because he was not in book 8, but although I had vague ideas for where he would go, I didn’t have anything solid.  I sort of wanted to see where book 8 took me before I got too far on book 9.

Lauren has I suppose four problems.  The first is that she is inheriting the organizational structure from Beam, but doesn’t know anything about it.  The second is there is very little food here, the third that she has to open the door, and the fourth that once they are outside they are going to need all the basics for life–food, shelter, water.  For the first problem, she has to meet the three leaders and explain the situation to them and figure out what they want to do.  For the second, although the computer won’t let Tommy order food delivery to the garage, I figure if Lauren casts the feast spell it should override the limitation–the god of this world doesn’t want to create food by magic, but will respond to a spell within the bias (although I’ll have to check whether creating food and drink is within the bias).  For the third, she has a spell that opens doors, and I’m sure that’s within the bias.  Finally, she spent the equivalent of a year with the parakeet people, learning to make their wigwam-like nests, hunting, fishing, and foraging, and living by the lake.  She just has to find a suitable place and teach these skills to a hundred people–and of course she’s a teacher, so that’s covered.

I was not certain whether I had ever named all three of the indigenous leaders, so I had to search book 7 for anything on that.  It appears that I had named Varlax, the leader of the first group.  The second leader was never named, and the third was Tennan Tanis, who stayed behind with part of the group.  He was replaced by a nameless fourth, and floating somewhere in the mix there is a tennan from the group that joined them a couple levels before the end who has no official status but leadership experience.  There were also two unnamed ners.

My names were mostly variants of real names or character names I remembered from other games.


Chapter 2, Beam 118

I was uncertain about where to send Beam, but I knew that at some point I wanted him to pick up a young female ninja as a second wife–one of the complications of Beam’s life.  I wondered how I could do it, but then remembered that in The Third Book of Worlds I had a twin scenario called Dark Honor Empire (it was Jim Denaxas’ idea), in which I had an ancient and a modern version of a world entirely modeled on the myths of feudal Japan.  Gradually my mind constructed a chain of events that would bring about what I wanted.

This was again one of those awkward moments in which I had to introduce characters and concepts to new readers without boring established ones.  I don’t think my description of Turbirb’durpa is adequate, but there was too much to cover to do better.


Chapter 3, Takano 60

I had envisioned Lauren casting her food creation spell and having it answered by the arrival of robots bearing breakfast; I also guessed that that was what she would have expected.  However, I looked up the biases on this world, and while magic was moderately high, food creation was very high and wouldn’t be possible.  That gave me two problems.  The big one was that somehow Lauren had to feed all these people.  The lesser one was that she wouldn’t know the spell wouldn’t work, as she hadn’t really tried much magic.  The answer to the second problem was that she was going to have to perform the ritual, and in a context in which it was clear she expected to be able to feed the entire group.

The answer to the first problem would await the next chapter.


Chapter 4, Beam 119

The plan was that Beam would clear out the soldiers from the warehouse, and discover that there was nothing he would consider valuable.  I realized that it was an ambitious plan, given that he was up against a few modern samurai and a batch of modern bushi, all with rifles, katanas, and wakisashis.  However, he had Dawn, and of course Bron’s shotgun and his own pistol.  They were a potent contingent.

The problem is that wealth in this world is measured entirely in rice, and he doesn’t know that.


Chapter 5, Hastings 234

The answer to the first problem was a bit easier.  The magic to open the door was certainly within the world bias, so she did that and got the people outside.  The world beyond was going to be filled with agriculture and wilderness and some manufacturing such as slaughterhouses.  The notion that the garage itself would be surrounded by cultivated fields made good sense.  I looked up crop schedules for New Jersey, and established that early spinach, broccoli, and peas were harvested in mid to late May, the earliest crops for the region, and so I put them there.  Lauren wouldn’t know that, but she would know that corn appears by the beginning of July, and probably that strawberries are available by early June and pumpkins by early September.  Those will give her some idea of seasons.


Chapter 6, Beam 120

This chapter covered a lot more ground than I expected.  I thought that I would have breaks when he was kidnapped and when his team appeared, but everything happened in short bursts so I kept it all together.

For the support site character sheet for Ashleigh, I was working from my copy of Dark Honor Empire, which was written for but never published in The Third Book of Worlds, so I copied attribute, skill, and some equipment information directly from there to my working document, and then modified it as the story suggested.

Dark Honor Empire is what in-house we called a “twin scenario”, of which we always had one in each book.  The concept was that there were two settings which were in some sense substantially the same, but that we only had to explain the differences between them.  In The First Book of Worlds the twin scenario was The Mary Piper, which was either an early gunpowder sailing ship or an interstellar cargo vessel, similarly crewed running trade routes with the same names and similar products (demonstrating that you could use the same concepts in different settings).  The Second Book of Worlds had The Farmland, in which two nearly identical pre-gunpowder rural settings differed in that one had magic which was feared and the player character could be burned as a witch, while the other had no magic but would embrace advances in technology; the ending of the second scenario was that aliens attacked the planet, and it was up to the player character to defend it.  Jim Denaxas had suggested the concept of a ninja world in two versions, one pre-gunpowder medieval and the other with modern technology, and with a bit of effort I produced this world.

I had given myself a complication, though.  Because the “outlaws” were modeled on the ninja, the medieval version included the ninja-to, the katana, and the daikyu.  I removed the daikyu from the modern version and replaced it with a rifle modeled on the British WW2 issue Enfield, suggested by John Cross, for the soldiers, and to keep things on par I gave the outlaws pairs of semi-automatic pistols using the same bullets.  I kept the katana for the soldiers, but eliminated the ninja-to, which meant that my ninja didn’t carry blades (although they did carry shurikens and a couple other ninja-type weapons).  I kept forgetting that, and in the original text of this chapter Dawn arrives holding her own knife and a sword taken from someone who impeded her.  Realizing my mistake as I was doing setup for publication, I changed it to a knife, also a weapon that was not standard issue but reasonable as there was a skill in improvised weapons and a knife could be anything.


Chapter 7, Takano 61

The song Then the Quail Came was sung by Noel Paul Stookey on his album Band and Bodyworks.  I was tempted to include more of the lyrics, but had concerns about copyright issues.


Chapter 8, Beam 121

My challenges here were that I needed to introduce and indeed name the new bride.  I picked Ashleigh because a particular Irish comedienne came to mind as I was looking for a name, and I decided that in using the modern version of Dark Honor Empire I was abandoning most of the Japanese titles and words so I shouldn’t knock myself out looking for a decent Japanese name; I even deleted the reference to the notion that she was an “Asian” teen.  I gave her the outlaw name Viper because her introduction to the story had her surreptitiously murder Sophia, and I decided that her skills were those of the stealth assassin.

It was somewhat later that I bounced the names off Kyler, who thought Viper was exactly right but was unsure about Ashleigh.  I subsequently realized that with that name she would undoubtedly eventually be called Ashes.

I also had to have enough story to make a chapter without having Beam tell her about being a verser (for the reasons he considers at the beginning of the chapter) but without actually getting to the consummation of the marriage.  That meant generating enough of a conversation interspersed with Beam’s thoughts that it would fill at least a page or two.


Chapter 9, Hastings 235

The fact that Lauren had never fought nor even sparred against a flex weapon suddenly struck me.  As I was writing I wondered whether she had ever sparred against Derek’s chain, but since I had no notions in my mind how that would work I decided that I must not have written such a scene.  I might do some research to see if I can find videos of combatants using flex weapons against each other, so I can have the girls develop some techniques in that.

I had decided that Tommy should mark the garage because it needed to be unique in a way that people could recognize.

It occurred to me as I was writing that the people would never have seen martial arts combat, and that in our world that’s done for entertainment, so it was likely it would attract attention.

I have a lot to do for these people, but I can’t do it quickly and I can’t make it feel like it’s happening quickly.


Chapter 10, Beam 122

I realized that the departure of Sophia would mean they had no food, as she had it all.  They had eaten supper just before Beam was kidnapped, but were going to want breakfast.  That gave me a problem to solve, and the solution gave me a new direction.


Chapter 11, Takano 62

I had this in mind for a while–long enough that I was able to see a lot of the problems in sending people who had never before been outside to scout the area for anything useful.  Lauren wants to find a lake with an open space adjacent, and I need her to find that, but it’s not something she can describe and not something she can seek herself.


Chapter 12, Beam 123

I needed to feed Beam and Bron, and decided that the best way to do that was to have them meet Ashleigh’s mother.  The idea that ninja keep their outfits and gear hidden in the wilderness so they won’t have them at home if their place is searched has been part of the way I run the game for some time.

I invented the breakfast.  I started with the notion of fried rice with honey as being something like breakfast cereal, and then I remembered that fried rice always had egg in it.  That caused me to think that with a bit more egg in it you could add bacon which would flavor the fat/oil in which the rice was fried and add more protein.  My last thought was that there were always vegetables in fried rice, but I was unsure what vegetables would be appropriate.  I hit on onions, but decided that scallions were something that grew wild commonly enough that peasant families would be able to use it readily for flavor at least.

The idea of blacksmithing was easy and obvious, but I don’t know where it’s going to go.


Chapter 13, Hastings 236

I was working on preparing chapters of In Verse Proportion for publication while this percolated in my head, and interrupted that to put my thoughts to paper here.

The ideas of Lauren scouting the area and pacing nervously sort of grew independently and then came together.


Chapter 14, Beam 124

I had thought of the bit about Beam having become accustomed to climbing, but forgot it before I’d finished typing the first paragraph.  I came back and added it after I’d finished the chapter.

I mentioned this scene to Kyler, and he suggested that the future holds an image of Beam dressed as a samurai (the commanders are the modern samurai) riding one of the vehicles.

I had been playing with what to call the vehicles, and motricycle kept coming to mind, a compound (obviously) of motor tricycle.


Chapter 15, Takano 63

This was delayed partly because I couldn’t figure out how to move it forward credibly, but partly because I was busily setting up chapters of In Verse Proportion for publication online.  All I could think at the beginning was that a bored Tomiko could practice her physical skills.  Leaping from the boredom, I decided she would want to work on her graffiti designs, and from that the idea of images that would mark trails to different important places.  The use of different colors of paint to blaze trails was something actually done at a small nature park somewhere in or near the Watchung mountains that I visited a few times as a schoolboy.  (It may have been called Trailside Park.)

I almost pushed the reunion with Lauren to the next chapter, but decided it wouldn’t be long and would fit well here.


Chapter 16, Beam 125

Partly because life was coming at me sideways, partly because I was focused on setting up In Verse Proportion for the web, but partly because I was still struggling to focus on how to move the story forward, I was long delayed getting to this chapter.  In that time, I decided that what mattered was that Beam discover the existence of gunsmiths and the expanded role of blacksmiths.  I am still uncertain what happens next, but that I don’t see Bron and Beam going into blacksmithing at this point.

I was writing chapter 51 when I needed a name for Ashleigh’s father, and because of story developments since I decided that he should be a gunsmith.  That meant coming back here and changing Ashleigh’s statement that the gunsmith she knew was several villages away to saying that he’s not always easy to find.  I left it at that.


Chapter 17, Hastings 237

There was a long delay before I wrote this chapter.  Part of that was that I wrote an eleven-part web log miniseries about whether the biblical account of the Exodus from Egypt was credible, and at the same time I was preparing In Verse Proportion for serialized publication on the web.  However, I was also very uncertain about several aspects of this book, including where it was going to go ultimately, and perhaps more pointedly how I was going to manage the next steps in the story.  For Lauren and Tommy, I had to find a way to get them to a suitable campground with water and food and little threat of machine involvement.  The limitations made this awkward.

My mind kept coming back to what the scouting groups would report, and I recognized three things.  One was that what Lauren needed to find they weren’t going to understand, and indeed she probably would not think to seek it.  One was that these people would recognize nothing–not a lake, not a tree, not hills or mountains–and so their reports would be nearly useless.  Finally, I decided Lauren was going to have to rely on her direction finding magic, which should work.  Of course, I don’t know how it will manifest in this strange world, but she used it once already, I think.


This has been the first behind-the-writings look at Con Verse Lea.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with more behind-the-writings posts and another novel.

#459: Publication Anticipation

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #459, on the subject of Publication Anticipation.

Because of a computer hiccough I lost a few files, including the index of this web log; my backup copy was almost three years old, so I have been rebuilding it.  In the process, I stumbled upon a post I wrote in anticipation of the release of The Essential Guide to Time Travel, and realized that at this moment I am anticipating the release of several books and should mention them here.

Before I look forward, I should look back.  The past year or so has seen the release of the apologetics book on which I was working for well over a decade, Why I Believe, the aforementioned time travel book, and new editions of Do You Trust Me?, What Does God Expect?, and About the Fruit.  Meanwhile, I continue to post chapter-by-chapter the Multiverser novels, currently publishing the ninth, Con Verse Lea, and having collaborated with Eric R. Ashley to finish the tenth, In Version, and make significant progress on the eleventh, Con Version.  There will be fiction coming out for quite a while.

There will also be more books in print.  Dimensionfold Publishing has decided to release the first five years of the Faith in Play series in book form–it is difficult to believe, but the sixtieth article posted in November, and there are more to come.  The book will feature a foreword by “Geek Preacher” Derek White, and also includes two articles from The Way, the Truth, and the Dice, Magic:  Essential to Faith, Essential to Fantasy, and Real and Imaginary Violence, plus two posts on the Christian Gamers Guild site that were never part of a series, Christmas and A Christian Game.  The publisher is planning to put it together in January.

Coupled with that, but scheduled to follow it, I am currently editing a companion volume covering the first five years of the companion series, RPG-ology.  Because many of those articles are reproductions of entries in the lost Game Ideas Unlimited series at Gaming Outpost, they are on average longer, but I plan to include two other essays, one the recovered original introduction to the Game Ideas Unlimited series as a reference point for recovered articles from that series, the other the first article of mine ever published on someone else’s web site, which happens also to have been Gaming Outpost, Morality and Consequences:  Overlooked Gaming Essentials.

I realized as I was compiling that book that there were quite a few articles that might be included–enough that Ken Goudsward agreed they should form their own book.  Thus I am also working on a collection of such essays under the tentative title Theory 101 and Other Essays on Role Playing Games.  Tentatively it will open with the three-part Theory 101 series from Places to Go, People to Be, System and the Shared Imagined Space, The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast, and Creative Agenda, followed by my contribution at The Forge, Applied Theory, then recover the earlier three-part series Law and Enforcement in Imaginary Realms, also from Places to Go, People to Be, The Source of Law, The Course of Law, and The Force of Law, followed by my RPGnet article I’m Not a Lawyer But I Play One in a Game, and also from RPGnet Intuition and Surprise.  Also included is Re-educating the Power Gamer, which I wrote for Wounds Unlimited and wound up at RoleplayingTips.com, and three entries from the mark Joseph “young” web log, Writing Horror, A Christian View of Horror, and A Departing Member of the Christian Gamers Guild.

I’ve written quite a bit more for various sites.  Some of those articles are lost to web sites that ceased to exist; some have been preserved either in the books already mentioned or in Faith and Gaming Revised and Expanded Edition.  I have a couple months before I’m in a position to finalize this book, so if you’re aware of something I wrote that I might have missed, let me know.  Also, I’ll be looking for people to write forewords to these two books, and I’d rather avoid the embarrassment of asking people I think I know in the RPG world, so I’ll start by saying if you’re interested in doing that let me know.

I suggested that I have a lot of books on the drafting table at the moment, and three hardly seems like a lot–and indeed there are more.  I have for the past decade plus been writing in depth Bible studies for the Christian Gamers Guild Chaplain’s Bible Study, and my publisher likes the look of the short one I sent him so I’ll be starting on setting up an analytical commentary on Romans once I’ve got these under my belt, after which I will proceed through all the epistles through Revelation and then bounce back to the beginning.  I have three Gospels completed and am working on Luke, leaving only Acts as the last book to tackle.  That’s twenty-three commentaries if we do them all individually, which I think likely, and a lot of work for me to set them up.  I hope that they find an audience.

I’ll continue writing here, of course, and at the Christian Gamers Guild, and in other places as they arise, so stay in touch.

#458: The Song “All I Need”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #458, on the subject of The Song “All I Need”.

I had a dream.

In my dream, I was sitting in our apartment in Massachusetts with an acoustic guitar, and I started fingerpicking on an A chord and singing a song.  It was not a song I’d ever heard, but in the dream I knew the song, all the words, all the chords, the fingerpicking.

Then as I reached the end of the first verse, suddenly I was sitting across from me with another guitar, and as the first me continued playing the fingerpicking chords and singing the second verse, the second me started playing a frilly lead over it.

This continued through the bridge and into a third verse.

Then I awoke, and wrote it all down.  This vocals-over-midi-instruments recording is essentially the song as I dreamed it.

I don’t know whether I have ever performed it, because I feel like the second guitar is a necessity and I can’t play both at once, but it’s a good song.  Paul McCartney wrote one of his songs in a dream once; I can only hope that mine is as good as his.

All I Need.

So here are the lyrics.

I lived a life of lonely misery,
Thinking that things were fine.
That’s when a door sprang open unto me:
Joy could be truly mine.
Jesus had come and died to set me free,
If I would leave my life behind.
He healed my eyes, and now they truly see–
Eyes which were once so blind.

Give me this life, so I can truly know
What life is meant to be.
Give me this joy, and then just let me go
Living so selfishly.
Surely I heard Him gently saying, no,
You’ve got to give your life to me.
Die to yourself, and then you’ll start to grow
Slowly and painfully.

Growing daily in His word,
Serving Jesus as my Lord,
Doing all the things I’ve heard,
Loving–Jesus is adored.

Now I have found that Jesus knows the way
To make my life complete,
And I am growing, changing ev’ry day
He makes my life so sweet.
Jesus, I’ll try to do the things you say,
As on your word I daily feed.
He came and took my misery away;
Jesus is all I need.

*****

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”

Next Song: John Three

#457: The Song “Greater Love”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #457, on the subject of The Song “Greater Love”.

I included this in the nostalgic collection of Last Psalm songs recorded for Jes Oldham, although I’m not certain it was ever performed at a Last Psalm concert.  It was, however, written during that period.

In the summer of 1974, after my first year at Luther College, I landed a job working security at nearby Fairleigh Dickenson University (Teaneck/Hackensack Campus).  I was on the evening shift, and often given an area on the less congested Hackensack side of the river where there were, as I recall, five buildings, the College of Dentistry as one assignment and four others as the other, including what I think was called Barrington College.  One guard watched the Dentistry college and the other toured the other four buildings–at least two of which had pianos in them and no people after suppertime, so since my obligations were essentially to tour the four buildings once an hour I often practiced, if you can use that word for my tinkering, at one of the pianos.  I kept the job well into my sophomore year, and one night pulled these words from I Peter and used them to launch a song by including some thoughts from John as well.  I think I might have written a few songs in that setting, but this is the only one I can place there that I recorded.

It’s another vocals-over-midi-instruments recording, and I’m not sure why I wrote the vocals quite that low, but I managed it.

Greater Love.

So here are the lyrics.

If you address as Father the one impartial judge,
Conduct yourself in fear,
For He redeemed your life with his holy precious blood,
So live a life of love while you are here.

Love is more than friendly smiles.
Love always walks an extra mile.
Love isn’t feeling giddy inside:
Greater love hath no man than he who died.

If you address as Father the one impartial judge,
Conduct yourself in fear,
For He redeemed your life with his holy precious blood,
So live a life of love while you are here.

And if we call on Jesus’ name,
He doesn’t listen if we’re playing games.

Love will want to spread the word,
Tell ev’ryone who hasn’t heard.
Don’t keep the joy of God inside:
Greater love hath no man than He who died
Greater love hath no man than He who died

*****

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”

Next song:  All I Need.

#456: Versers Prepare

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #456, on the subject of Versers Prepare.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first seven 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, and
  7. Re Verse All,

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 eighth, In Verse Proportion,  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.

It was suggested in connection with Re Verse All that shorter more frequent behind-the-writings posts would work better; they proved to be considerably more work in several ways.  Thus this time I am preferring longer, less frequent posts.  Previous posts for this novel include:

  1. #432:  Whole New Worlds, covering chapters 1 through 21;
  2. #437:  Characters Relate, chapters 22 through 42;
  3. #440:  Changing Worlds, chapters 43 through 63.
  4. #443:  Versers Acclimate, chapters 64 through 84.
  5. #448:  Inventive Versers, chapters 85 through 105.
  6. #452:  Versers Ready, chapters 106 through 126.

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.

Chapter 127, Slade 208

I came into this with no particular direction other than the idea that if Joe was building aircraft Slade would think about anti-aircraft guns.  Everything else came from the flow of the story, including the new engineering building and the consideration of rockets.


Chapter 128, Brown 237

Life kept me from writing for a couple days, so I had thought through bits of this several times.  Still, a lot of it was innovation along the way, particularly in the details of the dialogue.  I wanted it to go down in one chapter, but at the same time to feel like it was a slow process.


Chapter 129, Kondor 217

It occurred to me that two of the most important inventions of the industrial age were interchangeable parts and assembly lines–neither of them consumer goods but both critical to the production of consumer goods.  I was uncertain at what point interchangeable parts had come into existence, and guessed that they would have been developed for the steam engine industry, but was certain that assembly lines would not yet have been created.  It gave me something else for Kondor to contribute.


Chapter 130, Brown 238

I had a next step for Derek and Vashti, but I couldn’t rush it, so I needed to create a chapter that would suggest the passage of a significant stretch of time during which they had to remain aboard the ship.  That wasn’t difficult–after all, the automated systems have a lot of work to do before there will be a place for people to live.


Chapter 131, Slade 209

I began with the notion that Joe’s house would be ready, snow would come, and I had to fill a chapter before I returned to Derek.  Turning on the heat pointed me to the storm windows, and from there to the wealth of little inventions that made a difference, and from there to the fact that they all needed electricity.


Chapter 132, Brown 239

The asteroid was my exit plan for Derek and Vashti, and I knew what they were going to attempt.  At the same time I did not want to make it seem as if this were my plan, so I had to come up with alternatives.  I had one in mind by the time I finished writing the chapter, so at that point either they were going to take one of the auxiliary ships and attempt to move it off course, or they were going to attempt to recall as much of the settlement action as possible and get Wanderer in orbit to keep the people safe for a few more decades.  I hoped to come up with another proposal before I wrote that chapter, which would probably be a couple days given the complexities of life at this juncture.


Chapter 133, Kondor 218

I had set this up in the previous Slade chapter, and had had some time to consider it.  I originally thought that solar would be the method of choice, but recognized that even though Joe had extensive education and experience to support something like that, the early systems would be crude and it would take considerably longer to develop electrical power than I hoped.  Wind is not as effective, but could be brought online more quickly.


Chapter 134, Brown 240

This was the setup.  I knew for quite a while that Derek and Vashti would be killed at the helm of an auxiliary ship, and just needed to find a way to make that happen.  That led to the concept of trying to change the trajectory of a large asteroid.  To get there, though, I had to come up with alternative proposals for dealing with that asteroid, and have the final decision make sense.


Chapter 135, Slade 210

I wrote three paragraphs for this, and between being stymied on how to proceed and having life complications I left it for several days.  When I returned, I figured I would have to make it a very short chapter and get back to Derek, so I wrote two more paragraphs and ended there.


Chapter 136, Brown 241

I was not certain how much to include, from at what point to start to where to break.  I decided to leap across all the prep and get them to the critical point quickly, and then to go to the transitional moment and stop there.


Chapter 137, Kondor 219

This chapter had been delayed several days, partly because life was in the way, but also because I didn’t know what to write.  I commented by e-mail to a writer friend that I didn’t know what to write for Joe, and immediately realized that his work was keeping his mind off his grief, and that needed to resurface.  That made this a significant chapter, more than just filler to delay the next event for Derek.


Chapter 138, Brown 242

This was about bringing Derek into the new world with a damaged spaceship.  I also brought the robot with him.  This is mostly to show the birds what the future might hold.


Chapter 139, Slade 211

I knew that Derek’s arrival would create a stir, but the only way to show that was to do it from the outside, to have the birds react and have one of those already present see that reaction.  I could have done more, such as have them bring the Gatling gun onto the field, but I decided I could resolve things more quickly than that.

Of course, one of the problems with these reunions is that the characters are certainly going to be telling each other things that the reader already knows, so it has to be done in such a way that the reader understands that what he has already read is being shared among them.


Chapter 140, Kondor 220

I knew I had to do a couple things here.  One was give the impression that everyone had shared their adventures since their last meeting and gotten Derek and Vashti oriented to the new world.  The other was to continue unpacking Joe’s grief, particularly given that Vashti would remind him of Leah.  At the same time, I had to keep it from being a dull retelling of events the reader already knows.


Chapter 141, Brown 243

I was stuck on this for several days, partly because I couldn’t figure out how to move forward, partly because I was still struggling with how the book would end, and partly because life was in the way.

The Babbage Engine was the inspiration for moving Derek into inventing something, but I realized he could do better than that thanks to Joe’s progress.

Figuring out what they can eat is tricky in this world.  It struck me as I was thinking about sandwiches that they don’t have butter, and since margarine was created as a cheap substitute for butter they wouldn’t have that, either.


Chapter 142, Slade 212

This was delayed several days partly because of life difficulties and partly because of difficulty focusing on the scene.  I changed the setting several times in my mind, at one point having Joe present, then just Slade and Shella in the living room, then in the bedroom, then finally over dinner.  I realized after I wrote it that Derek and Vashti should be there, but given that they just arrived it’s not unreasonable that they would be on a different sleep schedule and need to get acclimated to the new days.

The idea that a gathering of versers meant a serious problem approaching was something Slade had noted in Garden of Versers, and although it has something of a feeling of breaking the fourth wall, that the characters perceive something that is anticipating the plot, given Slade’s beliefs it is not unreasonable.


Chapter 143, Kondor 221

I would estimate that this chapter was delayed a couple weeks.

Part of that was that as I was posting the last week’s worth of chapters of Re Verse All I discovered that I had not completed setting up the character sheets for the support site, which I thought I had accomplished, so my attention was to some degree diverted to that.  However, part of it was that I could see I was maybe three chapters from the end of the book, and had no idea how to construct those three chapters to get there, what had to happen, how much time to burn, how to burn it, and how to set up the climax.  I’m still not certain how to do any of that, but I’ve fixed the character sheet problem and need to finish this book and get it set up for publication, as well as get started on the next, currently bearing the working title Con Verse Lea, because readers of Re Verse All are eager to know what happens to everyone next.

I overcame some difficulties by putting them together.  I had been trying to decide what to do with Kondor’s chapter and really had nothing, and at the same time I could foresee struggling with how to make Derek’s chapter work in covering the unveiling of the computer.  The fix was to take what I was planning for Derek’s chapter and giving it to Joe, which worked better with him as an observer than with Derek as participant.  It also gave me a different direction for the boy.


Chapter 144, Brown 244

I had expected this chapter to cover what I had covered in the previous chapter, the unveiling of the Babbage machine, but having done that I had to push past it.  It occurred to me that there were a few things in our education that came from Newton, and if they didn’t have him they might be missing some, which Derek could provide, and I went from there.


Chapter 145, Slade 213

My impetus for this chapter was to bring back into focus that Slade was expecting trouble, and so anticipate it just a bit.  In real life, I’m posting the character sheets for In Verse Proportion and need to get this finished so it’s ready to go and I can focus on writing Con Verse Lea.


Chapter 146, Kondor 222

I decided abruptly that I could have the alien sighting in this chapter, and then in the next have a verser meeting in which they discuss what to do about it, and end the book.  For one thing, I realized that 147 chapters divided unexpectedly nicely into 3x7x7, which would make good structure for publishing the book and the behind-the-writings posts.  For another, there was no reason to drag it further; they were going to have to face the situation with what they now had.

I couldn’t just leap into the sighting, but it gave me more opportunity to explore Kondor’s grief, and in this case to connect it to his atheism.


Chapter 147, Brown 245

I was faced with the possibility that this was not preparation for war, and that Slade would assume it was and Kondor would hesitate to make that assumption, but it gave me the need for a meeting, and the ability to put forward possibilities and work from there.


This has been the seventh and final behind-the-writings look at In Verse Proportion.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with more behind-the-writings posts and another novel.

#455: The Song “King of Glory”

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #455, on the subject of The Song “King of Glory”.

I’m going to state up front that I would put this at the bottom of just about every list.

It is one of the weakest songs I ever wrote, musically and lyrically.  I actually wrote it in eighth or ninth grade, and it was intended originally to be part of a rock opera (they were a big deal then) about a depressed teenager, and was supposed to tell of an encounter with the Jesus People (also a big thing then).

It’s also a pretty bad recording.  It’s another vocals-over-midi-instruments one I did as part of the nostalgic collection of Last Psalm songs recorded for Jes Oldham.  I was struggling to squeak out Ruthanne Mekita’s soprano, and I don’t know whether that was the problem but the intonation of the vocals I just couldn’t get right.  I’m never that bad on my intonation, and it’s embarrassing.

But I recorded it, as I suggested, because Jes wanted a collection of Last Psalm songs, and this is one on which she sang once upon a time.  I won’t be at all offended if you skip it, but here it is if you want to hear just how badly I can do this sometimes.  I assure you that The Last Psalm sounded considerably better on this–I once had tapes, but they’re long gone, so this is the best I can offer.

King of Glory.

So here are the lyrics.

Won’t you try my Jesus?
He is everything.
He’s the King of Glory,
The Eternal King.

When I need someone beside me,
He is always there.
When nobody else will hide me
He makes me take the dare.

Won’t you try my Jesus?
He is everything.
He’s the King of Glory,
The Eternal King.

When you need an answer, man,
He’s the place to go.
He drew up the master plan,
You know he’s gotta know.

Won’t you try my Jesus?
He is everything.
He’s the King of Glory,
The Eternal King.

Won’t you try my Jesus?
He is everything.
He’s the King of Glory,
The Eternal King.

Won’t you try my Jesus?
He is everything.
He’s the King of Glory,
The Eternal King.

Won’t you try my Jesus?
He is everything.
He’s the King of Glory,
The Eternal King.

*****

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”

Next song:  Greater Love