This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #323, on the subject of Verser Crises.
With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first five novels, Verse Three, Chapter One: The First Multiverser Novel, Old Verses New, For Better or Verse, Spy Verses, and Garden of Versers, 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 have posted the sixth, Versers Versus Versers, 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.
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.
This is the second mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 12 through 22. Previous entries in this series include:
- 319: Quiet Worlds, convering chapters 1 through 11.
History of the series, including the reason it started, the origins of character names and details, and many of the ideas, are in earlier posts, and won’t be repeated here.
Quick links to discussions in this page:
Chapter 12, Beam 44
Chapter 13, Brown 180
Chapter 14, Slade 157
Chapter 15, Beam 45
Chapter 16, Hastings 175
Chapter 17, Takano 3
Chapter 18, Kondor 157
Chapter 19, Brown 181
Chapter 20, Beam 46
Chapter 21, Hastings 176
Chapter 22, Takano 4
The notion that the Amir would feed them brains and eyeballs came from a vague recollection of a documentary mentioning that the Queen of England was often served such delicacies when she visited Commonwealth countries, and had not only to eat them but to appear to enjoy doing so. The conversation drifted from that. I almost forgot to mention the beer and wine, but had thought previously that these should be included in the first discussion of the meal.
This was chapter 10 before the Takano chapters were integrated.
Pieces of the story were beginning to coalesce. I had already established that Derek, as Morach, would be doing aerial recon over Beam’s party and be shot out of the air by Dawn. I also knew that somehow Beam would become involved in helping Amir Laban Fassad find a way to bring down the Caliph of the Twin Rivers. Now I realized that the way to approach this would be to have Beam confront the Amir concerning what he wants, the Amir express his hope to overthrow the Caliph and his efforts through using bandits to harass the border, Beam mentioning the definition of insanity, and suggesting that the way to bring down the Caliph is first to take out those Amirs who are supporting him. He would then decide to begin by doing recon of the most distant one, the downstream Amirate belonging to Vashti’s father. This puts Beam’s team in position for Derek to investigate.
That, though, meant that quite a bit had to happen on Beam’s thread for very little on Derek’s, and I was going to have to find a way to move Derek forward slowly while accelerating Beam. Thus the trip down the river was the right place to start. I discussed all this with Kyler, and we agreed on that much.
This was chapter 11 before the Takano chapters were integrated.
Mostly I was moving time a bit so I could get back to Beam and set up the next move, but I also thought it would be interesting to show that Slade is worrying about the wrong end of the problem here.
This was chapter 12 before the Takano chapters were integrated.
I had now worked out the first significant bit of action, and was moving the characters into that confrontation. The difficult part was figuring out how to motivate Beam into fighting for Laban, but Beam has his greed working for me.
This was chapter 13 before the Takano chapters were integrated.
The idea that Derek could call home was mentioned when he was a sprite, but he didn’t do it then. (He did do it later in that book.) It seemed appropriate now, and I wanted to mention the idea that when he returned Lauren would teach him magic, because no one expects he’ll be versed out before he can return, and I wanted to set that idea in the reader’s mind, that he is expected back at the Caliphate.
This was chapter 14 before the Takano chapters were integrated.
I kept intending to include her effort to get signal on the cell phone and then forgetting it, so I used it to open this chapter, hoping that the fact that she had been otherwise occupied would distract the reader from the fact that this would probably have been the first thing she tried.
The decision to go find a centaur was partly inspired by the need to visit the Sorns in Out of the Silent Planet, probably partly by the notion of centaurs being wise in the Harry Potter books, and partly by the fact that being part horse they would travel more than satyrs and so would have to know geography better.
Again, although this was the right insertion point by count, it seemed good to break up the interacting chapters of the other characters by diverting to Tomiko here.
When I finished writing Hastings 175, I glanced at the outline of chapters and put Kondor’s name at the top of this one. I think when I wrote that I had a rough idea what was going to happen in it, but it was late and I went to bed. I could not think of what I was going to write the entire next day, and finally settled on something different, a direction I had always hinted but hesitated to follow–letting Lauren teach everyone some psionics. The hesitation is because the more similar the characters are to each other the harder it is to write good different stories for them. Yet it is obvious that they would teach each other, and particularly Lauren, so it has to be made possible.
Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 15.
I faced a difficult construction problem at this point. I needed to have interaction between Derek and Beam, and it was going to require that I bring both of them to the same place, have Beam take action that affects Derek, and have Derek describe the effect. That, though, seemed to require two Brown chapters with a short Beam chapter between them, and I didn’t like that; it also didn’t make that much sense, and I was having trouble figuring out how to avoid several short chapters switching between Beam and Brown. Finally I decided that whichever of them I moved first, the reader would realize that the other had already moved, so I would start with Brown and then do Beam. It was already part of the concept that Derek would telepathically contact someone to give information about the situation, and in discussing it with Kyler he suggested that Lauren would be the person he most naturally contacted, and I realized he was right–in a panic situation, he would go for the contact that was easiest, and that would be her.
Most of the castle material was fill so the chapter wouldn’t seem to be overly focused on having Derek fly out for this investigation. However, I knew that I was going to need to have Derek able to contact Vashti telepathically, and included that at this point.
Kyler thought this three-chapter stretch (19-20-21) was the best part of the book to date, although he confesses to being fond of Dawn.
Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 16.
I knew most of what was going to happen in this chapter for quite a while. I did not know it was going to happen this soon. I also expanded it a bit by compressing the events that brought Beam here instead of putting them in their own chapter.
Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 20.
Originally I was going to narrate this from Derek’s perspective, but as mentioned I was having trouble figuring out how to integrate Derek with Beam here, and the notion that Derek was going to contact Lauren telepathically gave me an alternative and an opportunity for some dramatic uncertainty.
Before the Takano chapters were integrated this was chapter 18.
I was not sure where this was going, but was at this point experimenting with the milieu. I was going to have to find out whether people can digest the oats eaten by horses. The answer seems to be yes, provided that the oats are soaked, and a good warm mash is generally oats with molasses soaked in warm water.
This chapter was inserted here to disconnect the preparations for departure of the team in the previous chapter from the arrival in the next. It was the first time I broke from the regular pattern of every six chapters.
This has been the second behind the writings look at Versers Versus Versers. If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with more behind the writings posts for it.