This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #338, on the subject of Verser Missteps.
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 fifth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 45 through 55. Previous entries in this series include:
- #319: Quiet Worlds, convering chapters 1 through 11.
- #323: Verser Crises, covering chapters 12 through 22.
- #327: Verser Separations, covering chapters 23 through 33.
- #333: Uncertain Worlds, covering chapters 34 through 44.
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 45, Slade 161
Chapter 46, Brown 187
Chapter 47, Hastings 179
Chapter 48, Kondor 162
Chapter 49, Takano 8
Chapter 50, Brown 188
Chapter 51, Slade 162
Chapter 52, Hastings 180
Chapter 53, Brown 189
Chapter 54, Kondor 163
Chapter 55, Takano 9
Once again I wasn’t sure what was going to happen here–I had even thought it should be a Hastings chapter–but as I thought about it, I decided it might be fun to suggest that Slade was worried about worrying, and I went with it.
Of course, we had already decided that Sch’hery wasn’t interested in an alliance against the Caliph, and the reader had undoubtedly understood that as well, but Slade can’t know that, so it’s a real possibility in his mind.
Prior to the incorporation of the Takano chapters this was chapter 38.
I walked away from the previous chapter and somehow was locked into the idea of Shella contacting Lauren, and so when I came back I was all ready to start a Hastings chapter–only to realize that I had marked this as for Derek, and that I needed to keep Derek’s story moving if it was to get anywhere. I had the additional long-term problem that Derek had been in every book since I launched him in the second so he would be top of the list to drop for the next book–but he was also the only character for whom I could clearly see a viable story coming out of this one. I was more struggling with the short term.
This was chapter 39 before the Takano chapters were added.
I had previously thought through the opening of this chapter a couple times, because I had forgotten I would be writing a Derek chapter first, but it still took some thought to get through the whole thing. I’ve also set up a problem for Joe, which I figured I would tackle in the next chapter.
This had been chapter 40 before the Takano chapters were inserted.
I had set up Joe for the language barrier problem, but had not decided how to resolve it until I had him discuss it with Lauren.
I’m delaying the Beam story because I want the emissary to return to him before he makes the next move. It’s also giving me the opportunity to move the Brown story forward, and I keep thinking of complications for that.
This was chapter 41 before the Takano chapters were inserted.
When I finished Takano chapter 7, I had vague notions of dropping Tomiko in modern Tokyo. The notions, though, were too vague–I knew too little about modern Tokyo, and had no notion of the resources or the dangers. I changed it to pre-bombing Nagasaki, mostly for character reasons.
There was a clear challenge here, because the reader, having followed the other characters, knows exactly what is happening to Tomiko, but she herself does not, and I needed to convey to the reader that this would be frightening to her.
When I was doing the first edit and inserting the Takano chapters again I felt that a character’s chapters were too close together–this time Derek’s–so again I pushed the Takano chapter sooner than I would have otherwise.
Originally the buildings she saw were made of “stone or cement or something like that”, because I had looked at some photos of pre-war Nagasaki and it looked rather modern. Further research, though, said most of the buildings were wood, so I changed it.
I had been going to do what I’m calling the door trick next, but realized that Derek could get in trouble if he got separated from his computer, and that he had an easy fix for that, so I did this chapter instead.
This was originally chapter 42 before the Takano chapters were included.
I wasn’t sure what to do with this chapter other than to hold the next Beam chapter off a bit longer, but I realized that there were fragments to the situation that had not yet been mentioned, and that there was something else Lauren and Joe ought to do while the emissary was there.
This was chapter 43 before we added the Takano chapters.
This was a late decision, and it was tricky to negotiate, but I had decided to have Lauren turn the tables on the emissary and learn something about Beam. What was more complicated was figuring out what the emissary might actually know.
Before the Takano chapters were inserted this was chapter 44.
I had double-numbered this Hastings 179, which I discovered on the final edit, and had to renumber all the Hastings chapters from here forward.
I had been musing on this door trick for a while. It was partly inspired by the elevator trick he did in Spy Verses, but it was so different, really, that I decided not to mention that. I haven’t reached a firm conclusion regarding what the indigs are going to do, but for the moment they’re stymied.
This was chapter 45 before the Takano chapters were included.
I had noticed that it was the right time for a Kondor chapter, and that he could be the last person to see the emissary. It developed in my mind that he would try to read the mind of the man over breakfast, but wouldn’t learn much. Then it struck me that I have far too few botches in the stories, and it would be a good time for one, and that I could then involve Lauren in trying to heal the mental damage, which I confirmed from checking her character sheet was something she had never done.
This had been chapter 46 before the Takano chapters were included.
I had to get to a place where someone would speak to her in English, but not too quickly, and so this chapter is mostly there to give the impression of waiting and to delay the arrival of the English-speaking interrogator.
It is also in this position because I needed to delay both Bob and Derek, and it had been half a dozen chapters since Tommy’s last, so it was a good spot.
This has been the fifth 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.