Category Archives: Books by the Author

#390: World Facilities

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #390, on the subject of World Facilities.

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 seventeenth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 97 through 102.  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:

  1. #354:  Versers Reorienting, covering chapters 1 through 6;
  2. #355:  Versers Resettling, for chapters 7 through 12.
  3. #357:  Characters Connect, for chapters 13 through 18.
  4. #359:  Characters Engage, for chapters 19 through 24.
  5. #361:  Characters Explore, for chapters 25 through 30.
  6. #364:  Characters Learn, for chapters 31 through 36.
  7. #365:  Characters Travel, for chapters 37 through 42.
  8. #367:  Versers Encounter, for chapters 43 through 48.
  9. #370:  Characters Confront, for chapters 49 through 54.
  10. #373:  Nervous Characters, for chapters 55 through 60.
  11. #376:  Characters Arrive, for chapters 61 through 66.
  12. #379:  Character Conundrums, for chapters 67 through 72.
  13. #381:  World Complications, for chapters 73 through 78.
  14. #383:  Character Departures, for chapters 79 through 84.
  15. #385:  Characters Ascend, for chapters 85 through 90.
  16. #388:  Versers Climb, for chapters 91 through 96.

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 97, Takano 43

The recognition that the girls were going to need a bathroom was the starting point, and the recollection that Tommy was pretty dirty from crawling through the woods suggested showers and laundry, and that turned this into a day in the apartments instead of continued travel.


Chapter 98, Beam 91

I had been teasing the accident for maybe too long, and knew it had to happen despite the fact that I had a long climb ahead and should have more vehicle encounters the closer I got to the top.  I was not certain how to run it, but decided that something Beam couldn’t observe was best.

I realized that this interrupted the ascent, and particularly that Beam was going to have to decide whether to try to climb this link twice or put it off until tomorrow.  I already knew that he was going to have to go all the way back to the lower level to call for medical help, so the decision was going to face him in the next chapter.


Chapter 99, Hastings 217

Grits with strawberries and cream was something I had probably last January (2020) at a Christian Musicians Network breakfast meeting.  I’m also fond of fried eggs on pancakes, and syrup goes well with that, and sausage with syrup.  The notion that she had to pick what kind of sausage made sense in the context.

The conversation arose somewhat naturally.

I’d had the notion of ordering bag lunches, but Tommy is right, it’s easier to stop along the way.  The idea of tipping the driver was abrupt.


Chapter 100, Beam 92

The notion that the medbots would recognize Beam as being in respiratory distress came to me somewhat abruptly, although it may have been inspired in part because I was wondering how soon I could take a respiratory treatment myself, as I was wanting not to take it too soon but recognizing that I needed to do so before I left for a doctor appointment.


Chapter 101, Takano 44

This conversation just sort of happened.  I knew they had to eat, and they were doing big breakfasts and should sit a bit before they exerted themselves.  I remembered that they had camped the night and would have things to pack, so I did that and then settled them in the living room.  They weren’t going to talk about anything immediately, but soon enough I got things started, and then moved them on their journey.


Chapter 102, Beam 93

It struck me that Beam kept finding restaurants that would seat over a hundred people, which was a very improbable capacity.  I thought of seafood restaurants because I had just published something that mentioned The Lobster House and I remembered taking John, on whom Beam is modeled, there once and having him order chicken.  I started the idea of moving everyone in, and realized that this might be smaller, so I set the pizza place down the hall and split the group.

I felt that a memorial service was needed, and I also felt that Beam had no talent for this, so that’s what I got.  I’ve written several articles on the notion that I rarely ever see funerals in role playing games, and that might have impacted my decision to include one here.


This has been the seventeenth 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.

#388: Versers Climb

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #388, on the subject of Versers Climb.

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 sixteenth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 91 through 96.  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:

  1. #354:  Versers Reorienting, covering chapters 1 through 6;
  2. #355:  Versers Resettling, for chapters 7 through 12.
  3. #357:  Characters Connect, for chapters 13 through 18.
  4. #359:  Characters Engage, for chapters 19 through 24.
  5. #361:  Characters Explore, for chapters 25 through 30.
  6. #364:  Characters Learn, for chapters 31 through 36.
  7. #365:  Characters Travel, for chapters 37 through 42.
  8. #367:  Versers Encounter, for chapters 43 through 48.
  9. #370:  Characters Confront, for chapters 49 through 54.
  10. #373:  Nervous Characters, for chapters 55 through 60.
  11. #376:  Characters Arrive, for chapters 61 through 66.
  12. #379:  Character Conundrums, for chapters 67 through 72.
  13. #381:  World Complications, for chapters 73 through 78.
  14. #383:  Character Departures, for chapters 79 through 84.
  15. #385:  Characters Ascend, for chapters 85 through 90.

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 91, Hastings 215

I had gotten as far in my head as the name thing, and was winging it from there.  Perhaps due in part to my recent hospitalization, I had a hard time reconstructing how Lauren got here, and almost completely forgot that she had been with Tiras for that extended time; I had to make a repair to suggest that Tommy assumed Lauren had just come from being hit by the truck but Lauren knew otherwise.


Chapter 92, Beam 88

The truck problem was nagging at me.  It was something that would ultimately have to happen, while at the same time it was obvious enough that Beam should anticipate it and prepare for it.  Yet preparing for it wouldn’t be simple.  So this chapter came to be.

This was the point at which my brain skipped a track and the roughly hundred became a hundred fifty.  I started rewriting as “a hundred some”.


Chapter 93, Takano 42

I needed to figure out, and create, the relationship between Tommy and Lauren; Lauren’s expectation that God was going to show her why she was in each world suggested the teacher-student relationship.


Chapter 94, Beam 89

The notion that the trucks used the middle of the road when there was no traffic occurred to me as a minor setback for Beam’s progress.

The mixed Asian buffet is modeled on one I have been to in Glassboro (New Jersey), and I used it simply because I wanted to have things different on each level.  It also was again something different from anything the people had done before, and so provided a new challenge for Beam.

I made the count for the buffet one hundred twenty because I needed a specific number and I figured Beam would make it more than he guessed he needed so as not to run short.


Chapter 95, Hastings 216

I had to think back to the basics in the martial arts training, which wasn’t simple because although Lauren started there it wasn’t in the books.  I pretty much had to remember where I started, back in ’93 when I first began playing the game, and what my kids learned in their various classes.

Maybe I was hungry when I wrote Lauren’s dinner order, but it sounded good to me.


Chapter 96, Beam 90

I hope I’m building some tension.  I expect to have a disaster of some sort soon, but I have a long way to go to reach the surface.


This has been the sixteenth 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.

#386: An Unsolicited Private Review

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #386, on the subject of An Unsolicited Private Review.

Sunday morning (3/14/2021) I received a private message from a new Patron (from the United Kingdom) on my Patreon page.  He had read Why I Believe, and wrote to thank me.  I wanted to share his comments with you, without exposing his identity; some personal notes have been expunged in what follows, and I’ve done a bit of formatting.

I just finished reading Why I Believe and I am grateful for having been given your name (you may remember our recent correspondence as to how your name came to me–quite mysteriously) and for working through your book.  It was worth the effort.  I feel as though I have attended a masterclass on the subject–not thinking, beforehand, that I had met the criteria needed to be enrolled….[T]his is a humourous comment–anyone with an enquiring mind can read and understand the book if they give it a chance.  I have learned something (things, actually) from you, of great value and importance in my life….I have just taken out a patronage which I will keep going for as long as I can….Before I continue into what could be a major ramble, I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for offering to me an intelligent and extremely well explained reasoning as to why I do believe that which until some months ago I had only ever suspected, i.e., His existence and His purpose.

My best wishes to you, personally, and for your continuing and growing success and recognition.

[Name omitted for privacy] (UK)

I am very pleased and encouraged by these comments, the first independent and unsolicited response I have received to the book, and I hope that more of you are finding the book valuable.  Please feel free to share your thoughts with me, and of course with others who might benefit from reading it.

#385: Characters Ascend

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #385, on the subject of Characters Ascend.

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 fifteenth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 85 through 90.  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:

  1. #354:  Versers Reorienting, covering chapters 1 through 6;
  2. #355:  Versers Resettling, for chapters 7 through 12.
  3. #357:  Characters Connect, for chapters 13 through 18.
  4. #359:  Characters Engage, for chapters 19 through 24.
  5. #361:  Characters Explore, for chapters 25 through 30.
  6. #364:  Characters Learn, for chapters 31 through 36.
  7. #365:  Characters Travel, for chapters 37 through 42.
  8. #367:  Versers Encounter, for chapters 43 through 48.
  9. #370:  Characters Confront, for chapters 49 through 54.
  10. #373:  Nervous Characters, for chapters 55 through 60.
  11. #376:  Characters Arrive, for chapters 61 through 66.
  12. #379:  Character Conundrums, for chapters 67 through 72.
  13. #381:  World Complications, for chapters 73 through 78.
  14. #383:  Character Departures, for chapters 79 through 84.

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 85, Takano 40

I was creeping forward, wanting to move Tommy and Lauren together without disrupting Beam.  They would have different kinds of entrances and use different kinds of skills.


Chapter 86, Beam 85

In a game I would have rolled a general effects roll here, since there is no actual map and I need to know whether Beam is moving toward or away from the ramp he seeks.  I debated whether to do that here, but instead I think I used a technique I got from E. R. Jones I call “invisible dice”.  Often he was asked what he wanted to do, he would reach in a pocket, pretend to draw out a coin, throw nothing in the air, and then catch it and slap it on his wrist.  He would look at the nothing on his wrist and give his answer, as if it had been decided by the flip of an invisible coin.  It actually had not, of course–he once explained to me that the action had function, that while the invisible coin was in the air he found himself hoping it would come down one way or the other, and that was how he knew what he wanted to do.  I realized that I needed to move Beam forward several steps on this chapter, and that to do that I was going to have to get him to the ramp quickly.

I had worked out in my mind that at least once on the climb the people would eat successfully at a restaurant, and given that I was figuring each level was about half a kilometer (about the maximum I could stretch it) and I was starting on level 27, roughly six to seven miles deep, I thought that the first climb would be the toughest for Beam and have the greatest incentive for ordering from the computer.  I was considering what could go wrong, but decided to hold off on that.


Chapter 87, Hastings 214

I was to some degree struggling to produce chapters that were long enough.  However, the Hastings/Takano story was requiring me to shift viewpoints more frequently than I anticipated.  I’m hoping that the next Takano chapter will let me break out a bit.


Chapter 88, Beam 86

I recognized the problems with camping in the halls and restaurant while I was thinking through this chapter–which I did quite a bit, because I was thirteen days hospitalized.  I also gave some thought to the next Takano and Hastings chapters.


Chapter 89, Takano 41

I needed to get Tommy’s equipment upgraded and give Lauren time to find her, and this seemed to do the trick.  After all, Tommy is a bit like Derek, in that her computing skills are her strong suit, and in a world like this I have to make that matter.


Chapter 90, Beam 87

This chapter came from nowhere–I had not thought of any of it before I started writing and realized that Beam had a tendency not to sleep when he wasn’t drinking, and had no means of knowing the time.  I drifted with him in the silence of the compound, and sent him back to bed.


This has been the fifteenth 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.

#383: Character Departures

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #383, on the subject of Character Departures.

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 fourteenth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 79 through 84.  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:

  1. #354:  Versers Reorienting, covering chapters 1 through 6;
  2. #355:  Versers Resettling, for chapters 7 through 12.
  3. #357:  Characters Connect, for chapters 13 through 18.
  4. #359:  Characters Engage, for chapters 19 through 24.
  5. #361:  Characters Explore, for chapters 25 through 30.
  6. #364:  Characters Learn, for chapters 31 through 36.
  7. #365:  Characters Travel, for chapters 37 through 42.
  8. #367:  Versers Encounter, for chapters 43 through 48.
  9. #370:  Characters Confront, for chapters 49 through 54.
  10. #373:  Nervous Characters, for chapters 55 through 60.
  11. #376:  Characters Arrive, for chapters 61 through 66.
  12. #379:  Character Conundrums, for chapters 67 through 72.
  13. #381:  World Complications, for chapters 73 through 78.

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 79, Hastings 212

I honestly did not know what I was going to do at this point, with options including that Serona would know what to say, that the party would pass unmolested, and that there would be a fight after the party began exiting.  I thought of Lauren’s response after I’d written the intervening chapters, and went with that.

I was having the same problem with Lauren that I was having with Tommy:  she was going to verse out now, and I wasn’t ready for her in the final world.  I realized I was just going to have to deal with that as well as I could, because if I didn’t have her die here I would be stuck for how to get her out down the road.


Chapter 80, Beam 82

I realized that I had versed out both Lauren and Tommy in a sense too soon, because I had too much still to do with Beam before I could bring them to him.  It probably took me a day (longer, really, because I saw the trouble coming from several days away) to realize that my answer was to accelerate the Beam chapters against the others.  I didn’t especially like this because the Takano chapters were furthest behind, but it was going to prove to be the best answer.

I also accelerated the dull part to give him a very long stay in this world before the others arrived.

I got hung up in the middle of this chapter, because I knew that I was reaching the critical turning point and had to bring in the berserk mining mole, but it would be such a disruptive event that I couldn’t figure out how to do it smoothly.


Chapter 81, Takano 39

This was definitely a stall world, that is, a place to drop the character temporarily while preparing the next significant world for her.  I was readying Beam’s world for Lauren and Tommy to reach, and it was almost ready but not quite.


Chapter 82, Beam 83

I was pushing Beam out the door so that he would be on the move by the time Lauren arrived.  I had to think through his speech a bit to make sure I had all the necessities, but I wrote it at one shot.


Chapter 83, Hastings 213

This was a bit of a juggling act, but it worked.  I needed Lauren to find Tommy first, which meant that she and Tommy both had to be in this world immediately.


Chapter 84, Beam 84

The question “Left or right” is one that comes from a Game Ideas Unlimited article I wrote about an illusionist technique that puts the next encounter wherever the player character decides to go, so the adventure doesn’t really depend on his choices and he can’t derail it simply by not knowing which way to go.

This chapter did not take me nearly far enough, but it was about to get disjointed if I didn’t stop, so I did.


This has been the fourteenth 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.

#381: World Complications

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #381, on the subject of World Complications.

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 thirteenth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 73 through 78.  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:

  1. #354:  Versers Reorienting, covering chapters 1 through 6;
  2. #355:  Versers Resettling, for chapters 7 through 12.
  3. #357:  Characters Connect, for chapters 13 through 18.
  4. #359:  Characters Engage, for chapters 19 through 24.
  5. #361:  Characters Explore, for chapters 25 through 30.
  6. #364:  Characters Learn, for chapters 31 through 36.
  7. #365:  Characters Travel, for chapters 37 through 42.
  8. #367:  Versers Encounter, for chapters 43 through 48.
  9. #370:  Characters Confront, for chapters 49 through 54.
  10. #373:  Nervous Characters, for chapters 55 through 60.
  11. #376:  Characters Arrive, for chapters 61 through 66.
  12. #379:  Character Conundrums, for chapters 67 through 72.

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 73, Hastings 210

I was beginning to get boxed in with Lauren.  I had promised that she would not get back to the city alive, but at this point she could easily jump over all the dangers ahead.  I had, as it were, too many commitments, and too few options.


Chapter 74, Takano 37

I was getting worried about Tommy’s story, because there wasn’t much else to do with it.  I kept prefiguring a fatal car accident, but it was too soon to put her in her final world.  The answer that struck me was that I needed another world, perhaps a stall world, perhaps something more serious, and then when everything else was ready I would bring her into the final setting.


Chapter 75, Beam 80

This was all routine stuff, and I was trying to get through it quickly without making it more boring than it might be.  There was more boring stuff ahead.

I didn’t name the third leader, partly because I was tired of naming people, partly because doing so would push toward more detail I didn’t want.  That became a bit of a problem when I started writing the next book, and Lauren had to meet the group leaders, because he needed a name then and I had to be certain I hadn’t incidentally given him one somewhere along the way.


Chapter 76, Hastings 211

The darkness occurred to me belatedly.  I had even considered having the light spell be still effected, but that would create a problem for me that the party would have managed to get past all the dangers, and I would be stuck trying to find a way to verse out Lauren before they reached the surface.  However, I had already decided that there was some small amount of light near the entrance to the drow kingdom, because despite their superior dark vision there were some things that not even a drow could see without light.  That gave me a target point and space for more story.

I had discussed the situation with Kyler, who felt that if the actual assassins had fled the scene the nobles would not have been too particular about whom they executed, and there was no climate for negotiation at this time.  Further, he felt that Gojo and Sheegoka would quickly recognize this and agree to depart.


Chapter 77, Takano 38

I really had no idea what to do with this world, other than to have Tommy struggle to survive it.  That, though, was as good a place as any to start.

When I was setting this behind-the-writings section for HTML publication it occurred to me that this snow-filled forest is very like a stall world that has been used in play, originally by Richard Lutz and once by me.  It has happened to Michael di Vars (a.k.a. Roland of the Sar) that he has versed in at the top of a snow-capped mountain more than once, and died trying to get to the bottom.  I used that once in a demo game, including having di Vars there to explain things to a new verser (player character) before they both fell to their deaths.  I was getting tired of the Tropical Island scenario.  This lacks the mountain and the consequent climbing hazard, but it is a survival against the cold scenario.


Chapter 78, Beam 81

Honestly I was caught between trying to move this story forward and recognizing the complexities of what Beam was doing.  I needed the people to learn how to use the technology, but it had to be obvious that this wasn’t happening quickly.  I didn’t really like it much at all.


This has been the thirteenth 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.

#380: Authorial Influences

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #380, on the subject of Authorial Influences.

About half a decade ago I wrote web log post #75:  Musical Influences, attempting to identify those who impacted my musical composing style.  Then the other day I heard an ad for a documentary which included the comment that the speaker could not imagine any author not having been influenced by Ernest Hemmingway.

I cannot imagine that I have been influenced at all by “Papa” Hemmingway, at least, not directly.  I cannot recall having read anything he wrote, although I must have done probably in high school or possibly in college, and simply don’t remember it.  I can’t say he has had no influence–as with music, so many are influenced by others influenced by others that there must be some trickle.  I’ll just say that I don’t think Hemmingway has influenced me more than Hawthorne, or Melville, or London, or Fitzgerald (each of whom I can remember having read at least one work and recall something about it).  At least with Fitzgerald I can name one detail I learned, albeit from a teacher commenting on the book.  Same with Poe, that I can name lessons I learned from him, but wouldn’t say that he had significant influence on my writing.  That, though, got me wondering who has.

C. S. Lewis

I must mention the Gordon College professor who taught Creative Writing:  Fiction.  Embarrassingly, I cannot remember her name, despite the many things I remember about her.  I learned much in that class, and benefited greatly from it in preparation for the career I did not then imagine having.  Yet she is not an author, or if she is I was not aware of anything she wrote apart from the course syllabus.

The obvious person to mention is C. S. Lewis.  He is both the author I have most read and re-read, and the one who has most impacted my own writing, in both style and substance.  I expect that’s obvious.  Like Lewis, I do write Christian books, but I also write what he called “books by Christians”, books that are not specifically Christian but having been written by a Christian author in some ways reflect Christian thought.

Although I could wish I wrote epic adventures like J. R. R. Tolkien or modern supernatural novels like Charles Williams, I’m afraid all I can say of them is that I’ve read several books from each and enjoyed them thoroughly.  I did learn from Tolkien the value of multiple staging, which I also saw in the work of Frank Herbert.  (Multiple staging is the technique of having several main characters in different places and moving from one to another so that the reader always wants to know what happened to the other characters even while learning what happened to one.)  Herbert also taught me the importance of maintaining perspective, but only because he rather jarringly did not do so in one place in his narrative.

The author who has probably placed second in sheer volume of material I’ve read is my wife’s favorite fiction author, Agatha Christie, but although I learned quite a bit thinking about how her mysteries were constructed (and seen the lessons in the work of others, such as J. K. Rowling), my mysteries are not on nearly the same level as hers.

It occurs to me that I have also read many books by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, both when I and when my sons were young, but somehow no matter how many of his books you’ve read it never seems to be a lot.  On the other hand, the poetic structure tends to get into your speech patterns.  I once heard some comedian say that Dr. Seuss was the original and best rapper, and he performed a bit of Green Eggs and Ham to prove it.

On the subject of poets, Ogden Nash is probably my favorite.  I’ve read two of his anthologies and memorized many of his shorts.  I don’t know how much impact that has had on my writing style, though.  I’ve also memorized several Robert Frost poems and a wealth of shorts by other poets, mostly humorous, but including a few long ones such as The Owl and the Pussycat and A Visit from Saint Nicholas, and Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.  For some of these it has helped that I was in choirs and choruses for many years, and have sung settings of quite a few; for others, it was significant that I had children.

I am fond of the writings of Lewis Carroll, but don’t know how much impact he has had on me.  I read a lot of Ray Bradbury in my youth, and smatterings of other science fiction and fantasy writers such as Asimov and Wells, Chricton and Niven, Timothy Zahn and Madeline l’Engle.  The fiction that I write is something of a science fiction/fantasy blend, so I must have been impacted by some of these, but I really can’t point to anyone in particular.  Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson deserve mention, as the invention of Dungeons & Dragons and some of the subsequent role playing games gave me many insights into story construction.  Ed Jones gave me the framework for Multiverser which figures in a central way in most of my fiction.

I started this article with a view to identifying those authors whose work most impacted my own, and I find that I don’t really know the answer to that.  It may be that my eclectic styles are impacted by my eclectic interests, and my exposure to more than just literature, with modern media contributing to aspects of my writing.  It may be that recognizing influences in authorship is something that can be done by the reader better than by the writer.  I could “punt” and say that my writing flows from who I am, but then, who I am is strongly impacted by my reading, so I am back where I began.

#379: Character Conundrums

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #379, on the subject of Character Conundrums.

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 twelfth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 67 through 72.  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:

  1. #354:  Versers Reorienting, covering chapters 1 through 6;
  2. #355:  Versers Resettling, for chapters 7 through 12.
  3. #357:  Characters Connect, for chapters 13 through 18.
  4. #359:  Characters Engage, for chapters 19 through 24.
  5. #361:  Characters Explore, for chapters 25 through 30.
  6. #364:  Characters Learn, for chapters 31 through 36.
  7. #365:  Characters Travel, for chapters 37 through 42.
  8. #367:  Versers Encounter, for chapters 43 through 48.
  9. #370:  Characters Confront, for chapters 49 through 54.
  10. #373:  Nervous Characters, for chapters 55 through 60.
  11. #376:  Characters Arrive, for chapters 61 through 66.

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 67, Hastings 208

I recognized the problem that Lauren describes, and knew there had to be a logical way out of it.  There were a lot of problems, particularly as it meant Lauren was going to attempt to kill a person and take sides in a civil war about which she knew very little, but the fact that the targeted person was going to kill her and the entire group with her tipped the balance on that.


Chapter 68, Takano 35

I was stumped for several days.  Part of it was that I was fighting the corona virus, COVID-19, and was constantly tired.  Part of it was that my brain was trying to piece together where we were going to go for the end of the book.  In the end, I wrote considerably less than I had intended.


Chapter 69, Beam 78

This was mostly busy work, trying to move forward into an organized tribe.


Chapter 70, Hastings 209

I was not entirely well at this time, but I had managed to think through the fight a couple times before writing it.  It was important to me that Lauren not be the one who dealt the fatal blow, and since Lurt was a thief he was perfect for a backstab attack.

In Tiras’ backstory he had done aerial acrobatics as the equivalent of a teenager.  He had lost a partner in an accident, and so retired and took up martial arts training.  Many of Derek’s aerialist tricks were originally created for Tiras and transferred to the sprite world.

I knew it likely that the princess would be unable to protect her escort even as queen, and now was the moment to make Tiras aware of that.


Chapter 71, Takano 36

I had been playing with the identification problem for a while, and I had been delayed by illness, but finally realized that it wasn’t going to go very far.

I was also thinking that Tommy was going to die in an automobile accident, and that I was running out of reasons to keep her in this world, but I didn’t want to put her in the next one yet unless I came up with something interesting to happen next.


Chapter 72, Beam 79

I knew that getting everyone into apartments was going to be a major undertaking, but I didn’t want it to be too irksome, particularly as I was going to have to do something about all the other living arrangements.

I kind of liked the girl I had created, and considered making her single and a problem for Sophia, but then decided that widowed with children was probably better long-term.  I don’t know where that part of the story might be going, but Beam is going to have enough trouble with women in the future and this would not be an effective addition to the pains.  I did decide rather early that she would be the assistant in charge of the main unit.


This has been the twelfth 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.

#376: Characters Arrive

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #376, on the subject of Characters Arrive.

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 eleventh mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 61 through 66.  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:

  1. #354:  Versers Reorienting, covering chapters 1 through 6;
  2. #355:  Versers Resettling, for chapters 7 through 12.
  3. #357:  Characters Connect, for chapters 13 through 18.
  4. #359:  Characters Engage, for chapters 19 through 24.
  5. #361:  Characters Explore, for chapters 25 through 30.
  6. #364:  Characters Learn, for chapters 31 through 36.
  7. #365:  Characters Travel, for chapters 37 through 42.
  8. #367:  Versers Encounter, for chapters 43 through 48.
  9. #370:  Characters Confront, for chapters 49 through 54.
  10. #373:  Nervous Characters, for chapters 55 through 60.

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 61, Hastings 206

I perceived that the driders would upset the mules, so I needed people to calm them.  This would not be Lauren, as it was already established that the spiders made her nervous, but Malacon himself is a magically calming influence and he has members of his squad, such as Apatukwe, who would be good at calming animals.

I wanted to say “male and female drow”, but Lauren wouldn’t talk or think like that so I let her use the more awkward “men and women drow”.

I wanted to give the impression of size in the entry hall without saying it was big, and it struck me that the easy way to do it was to say that the other end was “distant”.

The light level in the room was problematic.  Drow see better in total darkness than in daylight, but I needed the non-drow party members to be able to see something so there had to be some light.  Technically this makes it more difficult for the drow to see, but then there are some creatures that cannot be seen in darkness (the drow vision sees infrared and ultraviolet light, so cold blooded creatures blend into the background) so some light is justified.  I mentioned the marble mostly because I wanted to explain why Lauren wasn’t using it.

I needed names.  I had thought of a good name for the queen while I was writing, but forgot it before I reached the point where it would be used so had to think of another.  I cobbled together Taranelle from Coronelle.  I had thought of a name for the younger sister but failed to record it anywhere, so I had to invent another, and again worked from Coronelle to get Corina.  After I had written it, I thought of using Sabina, the name of the dog of a friend of mine decades back, but decided it was too like Sabrina, a popular television character.  The town came to me as Tarantola; after I had typed it, it struck me that “Tarant” was closely connected to tarantula, which I was pretty sure was a Spanish name for a deadly spider and connected to a Spanish dance.  I thought of changing it to Taranton or Taranburgh, but told myself that it should be a Spanish suffix for town, and I didn’t know one.  It happened that I was writing rather early in the morning, and when I went into the other room to look for my son who has some significant background in Spanish, no one was awake, so I just used Tarantola.

I had known since shortly after the dragon encounter that Coronelle’s younger sister had arranged her disappearance and killed the queen so as to take the throne, and that this confrontation would happen.  I did not know in any detail what would happen, and was creating it as I wrote it.


Chapter 62, Takano 33

I mostly needed to move time forward, but also wanted to continue painting some of the world of the time.


Chapter 63, Beam 76

I knew he wouldn’t want them, but I needed Beam to have a following of indigs for the story ahead, so I had to crowbar them into his life at this point.  The terms dictated by both sides were a bit tricky to produce, but then it was enough to recognize that neither side had imagined this meeting so both were winging it.


Chapter 64, Hastings 207

Again trying to make combat interesting, and particularly in this situation in which I can’t have it resolve too quickly but I can’t let the presumably weaker side lose.


Chapter 65, Takano 34

I had finished the camp supplies, and I kept thinking I wanted to build the relationship between Tommy and Johnny Angel.  Meanwhile, I also had to figure out how she could do something dangerous enough to get versed out.  Traveling to the city probably wasn’t going to do it unless there was a car accident, but it at least put me moving in the right direction.


Chapter 66, Beam 77

At the end of the previous Beam chapter I had to have Beam walk off stage, and the only thing that remotely made sense was for him and Sophia to head for the bedroom.  Now I had to figure out what he was going to do there.

As usual, having my characters talk about their problems helped me figure out how to resolve them.


This has been the eleventh 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.

#373: Nervous Characters

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #373, on the subject of Nervous Characters.

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 tenth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 55 through 60.  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:

  1. #354:  Versers Reorienting, covering chapters 1 through 6;
  2. #355:  Versers Resettling, for chapters 7 through 12.
  3. #357:  Characters Connect, for chapters 13 through 18.
  4. #359:  Characters Engage, for chapters 19 through 24.
  5. #361:  Characters Explore, for chapters 25 through 30.
  6. #364:  Characters Learn, for chapters 31 through 36.
  7. #365:  Characters Travel, for chapters 37 through 42.
  8. #367:  Versers Encounter, for chapters 43 through 48.
  9. #370:  Characters Confront, for chapters 49 through 54.

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 55, Hastings 204

I knew this was going to be a sort of non-encounter situation, but still thought I could bring out some tension through Lauren’s reaction to spiders.  I think this is unlike me, but I’m not entirely comfortable with the larger members of the genus, and would have trouble with giant ones.  I’m not sure whether knowing they were intelligent would make me more comfortable or less.

The hood was a last minute realization, and specifically that it was known that they had one but there was no indication they had more than one.  I thought the mules might have trouble getting through, so I decided that the most skittish of them would have to be gentled.


Chapter 56, Takano 31

My knowledge of camping gear goes back to the mid-to-late sixties, but I remember that some things were thought new by scouts, who weren’t much older than I, so I attempted to extrapolate what would be available at a good camping store.

I actually paused to debate what to call Tommy’s equipment, with “equipment” and “gear” going through my head as words that Clark might use, but settling on “stuff” as much more like Tommy.

It’s been decades since I was camping, and I was trying to remember a lot of stuff from those times.  I hope I managed.  It occurs to me that I might have included water purification tablets, but I never carried them myself and don’t know whether iodine or chlorine was preferred back then.


Chapter 57, Beam 74

I almost removed the attack up the ramp, which had been part of my original notion before I included the grenade, but I wanted more action in this and wanted Bron to be useful.


Chapter 58, Hastings 205

I decided that it was time to end the quest and reach the drow lands; I had begun working on what would happen when they got there.  I also decided that Lauren’s fear of spiders would be useful in a confrontation with the traditional AD&D drow guards, the driders.


Chapter 59, Takano 32

I realized I had set up the beginning of school and couldn’t put it off much longer.  I checked Labor Day on a 1959 calendar to make sure my recollections of the holiday back then were correct, and modelled a lot of the commute on aspects of my own childhood elementary school experience, but extended the escorting several days because this was a girl and I was a boy, and I have the impression that parents were more protective of girls then (unless it was only that I had three younger siblings so my mother thought it safer to let me walk alone than to leave them alone at the house).

I wanted to create stuff for Tommy to do that would justify her being paid to care for Tammy beyond merely that someone had to be there.

The elementary school is very much designed like my own.  We had two or maybe three kindergarten classes in different partitioned sections of a “gymnatorium” with a cafeteria kitchen at the opposite end from the stage.  The band practiced on the stage during the period that the kindergarten was changing from morning to afternoon session, but I made that the school lunch period as I didn’t have to worry about the band.  My own walk to school left the road to follow a wide paved path down a long probably two-block hill to a bridge over a brook, up three steps, and onto the paved playground at the rear of the school, but there was a path to the side which was as described in the story which I only took a few times when I was going to my cousins’ house after school.

The bus thing was how it was when my kids were in school, but I’m not sure how much of that was because the school system had reorganized so that each school building held all the classes for two consecutive years and the busses all did a circuit of picking up all the students in an area then delivering them to each of the schools.


Chapter 60, Beam 75

I spent some time thinking about this chapter, and then when I wrote it I omitted a number of details–mostly where the other members of the group were standing during the talks.  I decided not to bother with them, as they wouldn’t really add anything.

I wanted Beam to feed the entire tribe, separately from the delegation, and I thought a bit about how much he had to order for roughly a hundred people.  It’s not a lot, but it’s enough for everyone to have some.

I ended the chapter mostly because I wasn’t sure how it turned next.  I had spent twelve days in the hospital and in that time had thought only a little about where the story was going, but coming out I wrote the previous Takano chapter and then this one, and I had a fairly solid idea about the next Hastings chapter but opted to go to bed and sleep on it overnight.


This has been the tenth 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.