This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #395, on the subject of Character Obstacles.
With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first six novels, Verse Three, Chapter One: The First Multiverser Novel, Old Verses New, For Better or Verse, Spy Verses, Garden of Versers, and Versers Versus 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 am posting the seventh, Re Verse All, 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 nineteenth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 109 through 114. It was suggested that more shorter posts were a better choice than fewer longer ones, so there will be posts every six chapters, that is, every other week, for this book. Previous entries were:
- #354: Versers Reorienting, covering chapters 1 through 6;
- #355: Versers Resettling, for chapters 7 through 12.
- #357: Characters Connect, for chapters 13 through 18.
- #359: Characters Engage, for chapters 19 through 24.
- #361: Characters Explore, for chapters 25 through 30.
- #364: Characters Learn, for chapters 31 through 36.
- #365: Characters Travel, for chapters 37 through 42.
- #367: Versers Encounter, for chapters 43 through 48.
- #370: Characters Confront, for chapters 49 through 54.
- #373: Nervous Characters, for chapters 55 through 60.
- #376: Characters Arrive, for chapters 61 through 66.
- #379: Character Conundrums, for chapters 67 through 72.
- #381: World Complications, for chapters 73 through 78.
- #383: Character Departures, for chapters 79 through 84.
- #385: Characters Ascend, for chapters 85 through 90.
- #388: Versers Climb, for chapters 91 through 96.
- #390: World Facilities, for chapters 97 through 102.
- #392: Characters Resting, for chapters 103 through 108.
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.
I feel like I’m dragging by trying to tell story. On the other hand, I feel like if I weren’t telling story everything would be the same boring narrative repeated.
I had an idea for an obstacle, and I needed obstacles to keep the story interesting. Yet the obstacle as envisioned should mean that there would be a crashed mining mole, so I couldn’t put the obstacle in place until I had the mole, and that became the focus of this chapter.
I recognized part of my problem at about this point. Way back when I started Verse Three, Chapter One, I put Bob Slade in a dungeon crawl, and I realized fairly quickly that it was not easy to write a dungeon crawl and keep it interesting. Yet in this book I ran Lauren in what was clearly a dungeon crawl, and put Beam in a world in which a dungeon crawl scenario was inevitable, and sort of boxed myself in to bringing Lauren and Tommy into that same world and more dungeon crawl. So I’m struggling to keep it interesting. What made the Tiras story interesting was largely the interactions of the characters, but it’s harder to get that here. Beam’s main characters have all told their stories to this point, and can only really interact with the world; Lauren and Tommy could tell their stories to each other, but those stories have already been told to the reader and the narration says they told them to each other, so there’s not much that can be done there. So I have to try to create interesting events and encounters along the way, and that’s not really simple in this world.
As I finished the chapter, I was reminded of something I was writing a few decades back intended for a grade school audience about the exploits of a knight (his name will probably return to me). What reminded me was that it was rather episodic, that he was headed somewhere (and I’m not sure I knew where even then) but with each chapter he encountered someone or something that created a short story before he moved to the next. I have something of that feel here.
The mole machine trench was my obstacle, and I’d actually considered whether it was going to prove impassible and floated it to Kyler, who had no real suggestions. The bridge was the only idea, and I quickly saw that a simple bridge would slip, but by the time I got to it I’d envisioned a better bridge. The fact that Beam had Bron made a difference.
I had typed the statement that they were going to have to build a bridge, and then stopped and left it open there without closing the chapter overnight. I had thought to continue, to start work on the bridge, but I liked the cliffhanger despite the fact that the chapter seemed short. In the morning I decided to go with the cliffhanger, and so marked the beginning of the Takano chapter, even though I was sure what Beam was doing and not at all sure what Tommy was doing.
As I came to this chapter, I knew in significant detail what I needed to do with Beam, but had no clue where to take Tommy and Lauren next.
The greenhouse was going to be a park, but I decided that it was going to be a bit too hot and humid for comfort, more like a greenhouse garden. That would keep them moving.
I had played this through in my mind more than once, but was surprised at how quickly I reached the place to stop.
This has been the nineteenth behind the writings look at Re Verse All. If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue with another novel and more behind the writings posts for it.