Tag Archives: Fiction

#484: Characters Maneuver

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #484, on the subject of Characters Maneuver.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first nine 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,
  8. In Verse Proportion, and
  9. Con Verse Lea,

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 tenth, In Version,  written in collaboration with Eric R. Ashley, 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 fifth post for this novel, covering chapters 49 through 60.  Previous posts were:

  1. #476:  Versers Deduce, covering chapters 1 through 12;
  2. #478:  Character Conflicts, covering 13 through 24;
  3. #480:  Versers Think, 25 through 36; and
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.

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 49, Beam 173
Chapter 50, Slade 226
Chapter 51, Kondor 233
Chapter 52, Beam 174
Chapter 53, Brown 257
Chapter 54, Slade 227
Chapter 55, Kondor 234
Chapter 56, Beam 175
Chapter 57, Slade 228
Chapter 58, Brown 258
Chapter 59, Kondor 235
Chapter 60, Brown 259

Chapter 49, Beam 173

The idea that Beam would move to the master bedroom and Ashleigh would join him while Sophia vented her anger may have been one reason I delayed the completion of the body removal until the next day–although in truth it was too big a job to be completed at one go.  Having her light up the night with fire spells seemed an appropriate way for her to vent, and also would give a reason why in the short-term future more zombies would arrive.

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Chapter 50, Slade 226

I had a lot of problems with Eric’s original draft of this, including that he had Slade smashing a delicate advanced electronic device with a hammer on the excuse that part of it was broken, and that he wanted Derek to fly the saucer to a distant location to bring back just parts essentially broken off another saucer.  I felt that Kondor would want to preserve everything salvageable, including any undamaged circuits in the engine.  That impacted the upcoming battle.  Also, Eric had originally made Slade the divine spokesperson who had to communicate to the world via shortwave, and had the others teasing him about being a god, which didn’t really work because Slade almost thinks himself one and wouldn’t be upset by it, and Kondor would find the idea so offensive he wouldn’t even tease about it.  Besides, Slade is the one verser who actually whistles the Parakeet language, everyone else singing it, so he would not be entirely recognizable as an alien voice on the radio.  So Eric managed to reverse it.

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Chapter 51, Kondor 233

Some of the problems with Eric’s first draft stemmed from the idea that Derek and Slade would be gone and would have left Vashti and Shella behind, and I had nixed the flight largely because Derek’s saucer would immediately be a target if he overflew parakeet defenses any distance at all from the university.  Also, I thought the hangar at least a quarter of a mile from the houses and Eric thought it was fairly close.  That led to the suggestion that the battle be split, that there be a second attacking force over by the hangar repelled by Derek and Slade.  After I made a bunch of suggestions, Eric did substantial rewriting to make it work.

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Chapter 52, Beam 174

After we had moved the bodies to the yard–and we never contemplated moving them anywhere other than the yard, it was just a long debate about how to do that–I realized that Sophia probably wouldn’t be less unhappy with a pile of corpses in the back yard than she was with them in the basement, but there really wasn’t another option.  Further, it satisfied her requirement, so she was going to have to acquiesce to joining Beam and Ashleigh in the same bed.

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Chapter 53, Brown 257

Eric surprised me with the funeral, but it was well done and was kept with only minor style and grammar fixes.

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Chapter 54, Slade 227

Again Eric surprised with this.  I had a few objections and changes, but in the main it went as written.  We had some discussion of how many people were on campus after it was evacuated, and so had to reduce the number of casualties some.

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Chapter 55, Kondor 234

Eric started this, with the rest up through the suggestion that the rain was making it possible to move the saucer from the train to the hangar.  I then took over, suggesting what repairs and adjustments had to be made, and that Joe would be needed for some of that.  Then I interrupted, and in essence drafted a suggested section in which Derek prays for Joe to be healed, and it works.  Eric agreed that it worked, but pointed out that I had accidentally changed the location, so that had to be shifted to make it work.

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Chapter 56, Beam 175

I put this together.  Several of the ideas had been discussed previously, and it was time to do something with Beam and more living zombies.  Although the chapter could easily have continued to cover more, it seemed a good place to break and go back to the others.

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Chapter 57, Slade 228

I drafted this mostly to move forward on getting the spaceships flight ready.  I wrote enough to give the impression that everything was being done, and decided to sleep on whatever else might happen next.

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Chapter 58, Brown 258

This was Eric’s work, although I had suggested there would be another Gatling gun, probably a prototype, in engineering, and so Eric was figuring out where to put it.

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Chapter 59, Kondor 235

More of Eric’s work, setting up for a ground battle.

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Chapter 60, Brown 259

Eric had gone directly into Slade 229 with the launching of the shuttles, but I thought it vital that there be a place where Shella teaches Derek the teleport spell, and probably important that there be something about Derek teaching Bob and Shella to fly the ship, so I inserted this chapter, and then the next Beam chapter to shift the focus.

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

#482: Versers Engage

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #482, on the subject of Versers Engage.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first nine 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,
  8. In Verse Proportion, and
  9. Con Verse Lea,

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 tenth, In Version,  written in collaboration with Eric R. Ashley, 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 fourth post for this novel, covering chapters 37 through 48.  Previous posts were:

  1. #476:  Versers Deduce, covering chapters 1 through 12;
  2. #478:  Character Conflicts, covering 13 through 24; and
  3. #480:  Versers Think, 25 through 36.

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 37, Slade 223
Chapter 38, Brown 253
Chapter 39, Beam 170
Chapter 40, Brown 254
Chapter 41, Kondor 231
Chapter 42, Beam 171
Chapter 43, Slade 224
Chapter 44, Brown 255
Chapter 45, Slade 225
Chapter 46, Beam 172
Chapter 47, Kondor 232
Chapter 48, Brown 256

Chapter 37, Slade 223

I made this a Slade chapter because I needed to continue the aftermath of the confrontation with the foreign ambassador.  I cut it short, and invited Eric to expand it, which he did.

The material with the drink and bread, and the entire dream sequence, was Eric’s, with minor editing.

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Chapter 38, Brown 253

Eric wrote this, again with minor editing, to advance the expectations of combat.

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Chapter 39, Beam 170

I said that I wanted to move to a place where Beam managed to persuade Sophia and Ashleigh to share the larger bed in the other room with him.  Eric ran with that, as Sophia uses it as a bargaining chip to force him to destroy and remove the zombies from the basement.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of a way to do that, but after some discussion it was agreed that Beam would challenge Sophie to come up with a way, and shoot down all the obvious suggestions.  That leaves the problem standing for future resolution.

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Chapter 40, Brown 254

We discussed this quite a bit, and had a rough sketch of what happens in the next few steps of this story.  The first step was to have the aliens communicate with Derek, whom they think is one of them, and confirm their intent to attack.

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Chapter 41, Kondor 231

Having written the preceding Brown chapter, I plowed on into this one, and then felt like it needed to break.  It could have gone to Slade and continued with the meeting, but I wasn’t sure it shouldn’t go to Beam.

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Chapter 42, Beam 171

The animosity between Sophia and Ashleigh seems a significant theme, and the facts that Beam both can’t fix the basement zombie problem and doesn’t actually care lead to something else.  I suggested that Beam force the issue by simply moving into the other bedroom and inviting them to join him, and Eric that Sophie play some games to show her displeasure before capitulating.

I wrote the discussion between Beam and Ashleigh, and left it hanging with Beam thinking it was a bad idea.  Eric picked up the chapter and wrote the rest.  He invented the notion that the zombie parasites could be drowned at this point, which was accepted because there didn’t seem to be many alternatives.

There were a lot of little problems with this chapter, and several more chapters were drafted by one or the other of us; at this point work was suspended as my wife was hospitalized with cardiac issues and I was spending much of my time in the hospital with her.  The problems were resolved a week later when things returned to operable.

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Chapter 43, Slade 224

We had already agreed that this meeting would happen, and that during the battle Slade would be standing on the green (what I want to call the Quad after a similar space on my own college campus, but have refrained from doing so), and that Derek would take the ship into the stratosphere to protect it.  I wanted to write this chapter because there were a few minor points I wanted to include, such as that it would be Joe who suggested taking the ship to the stratosphere, and that the houses were at risk so their possessions should be packed and moved.  Eric had suggested that the defenders on the ground were going to shoot at the attacking ships, but I realized that bullets weren’t going to be significant against the hulls of spaceships designed for surface to orbit use, and thus suggested that there had to be weak points, and that the kinetic emitters would be the obvious ones.

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Chapter 44, Brown 255

Eric wrote most of this, with only a few minor edits from me.  It does give the feeling that it happened quickly, but hopefully that will be mitigated by a future chapter in which one of the other characters sees the ship launch.

One aspect of this is that the readers know the versers make a point of having their possessions near them if there is a significant danger that they will verse out.  Thus having them pack creates a level of expectation that this might happen, and raises the tension some.

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Chapter 45, Slade 225

Eric drafted this chapter as well; I added the part where Derek was observed launching, but otherwise just tweaked a few minor points.

Joe damaging one of the drive engines with his rifle was probably an important part of the story, as it meant that the birds wouldn’t need better than the gatling guns to damage the ships.

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Chapter 46, Beam 172

I drafted this; the notion of using the robotic cart was an abrupt realization, as was the recollection that Ashleigh had a grappling hook.  Ideas for a few upcoming chapters were sketched briefly at this point.

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Chapter 47, Kondor 232

I put Kondor’s name on this chapter, and made some preliminary suggestions concerning what it should contain.  Then I returned and drafted it, moving the destruction of Kondor’s nest here because I didn’t think it was something they could have seen from the dorms.

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Chapter 48, Brown 256

Eric drafted this, creating the objects in response to my suggestion that there might be something interesting there.

The antigravity grenade would appear several times in this book and in the next, and so proved more important than it seemed in this scene.

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

#480: Versers Think

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #480, on the subject of Versers Think.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first nine 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,
  8. In Verse Proportion, and
  9. Con Verse Lea,

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 tenth, In Version,  written in collaboration with Eric R. Ashley, 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 third post for this novel, covering chapters 25 through 36.  The first post, #476:  Versers Deduce, covered chapters 1 through 12, and the second, #478:  Character Conflicts, covered 13 through 24.  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 25, Kondor 227
Chapter 26, Brown 251
Chapter 27, Slade 220
Chapter 28, Beam 167
Chapter 29, Kondor 228
Chapter 30, Beam 168
Chapter 31, Slade 221
Chapter 32, Brown 252
Chapter 33, Kondor 229
Chapter 34, Beam 169
Chapter 35, Slade 222
Chapter 36, Kondor 230

Chapter 25, Kondor 227

MJ opened this chapter putting forward the notion that Joe was going to question the spy, and the suggestion that Zeke would do the language link/mind reading combination to tell whether the bird was telling the truth.

Eric made some suggestions which made sense.  MJ decided that the prisoners would be locked in cages in the on-campus zoo that had been mentioned in the previous book, as the easiest place to secure them.

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Chapter 26, Brown 251

This chapter may have gone through a dozen rewrites, because we couldn’t make sense of Derek cracking the language.  Eric headed in the direction of building a database of words used by the aliens, and trying to make sense of their communications based on matching words to the movements of the ship.  MJ, meanwhile, thought this didn’t really fit the known facts, that the ship had departed from the same original location as The Wanderer from which Derek and his spaceship and robot had just come–the languages would have been the same then, and any change would be strictly in pronunciation.  That, though, proved the key:  the computer would still be spelling everything the same way, but as with English the pronunciation would have changed, and that meant that Derek’s computer could communicate with the visitors’ computers because they would be sending encoded text messages to each other, and generational changes in pronunciation wouldn’t matter.

Eric came up with the idea for the EMP, but used it to give Derek more vocabulary.  MJ adapted it to identify the coordinates of the university on the visitors’ grid, and so begin to put together the latitude/longitude system being used by the visitors.

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Chapter 27, Slade 220

This surprise came from Eric, and we probably don’t know where it’s going.  After all, all his current opponents are either avians or little green men, so he would be guessing concerning where their nerve junctions are.  However, there’s a reasonable chance this will come to something in the future.

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Chapter 28, Beam 167

MJ realized that Sophia was going to be very uncomfortable trying to sleep with the knowledge of those monsters in the basement, and so would want to sleep with Beam; he then realized that the opportunistic Beam would use this to get both wives in the same bed with him.

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Chapter 29, Kondor 228

Eric’s original vision of this Wheel of Trade was that he was reading about the world of Mary Piper Alpha, the primitive sailing vessel, and he made it a religious object with the suggestion of some kind of god of commerce.  The big problem MJ observed was that although Kondor had that tablet when he arrived at that world, that world didn’t have any computers so he couldn’t have gotten a data version of the history, and any history of that world he did have he would have written himself.  The passage was recast to suggest that this was in Mary Piper Beta, and the religious aspects blunted since there is no hint of religion in the original world descriptions or Kondor’s visits there.

We hit a minor snag, because although Zeke has had some training with primitive weapons and is a below average amateur, he doesn’t actually own any such weapons.  A bit of rewrite arranged for him to borrow swords from others.

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Chapter 30, Beam 168

Eric had suggested that Beam would fight another batch of zombies, but MJ actually finds it difficult to write interesting combat scenes and thought it more interesting to have them arrive and eat their own dead.

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Chapter 31, Slade 221

At this point MJ outlined a plan for the next four chapters which would bring the parakeet world story to a turning point.  It was important as a first step that we create the feeling of a bit of time passing.

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Chapter 32, Brown 252

This chapter was intended to cover a lot more, but it was getting cumbersome so MJ ended it at a point at which it made some sense to switch to Kondor; the cliffhanger at the end of the next chapter was supposed to be the end of this one.  Then the outline called for Beam and then Kondor, but that Kondor chapter was really about observing Derek’s communication with the aliens, so it was simple enough to change it to Slade.

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Chapter 33, Kondor 229

This was the second half of what was going to be in the previous Brown chapter, expanded a bit.  As mentioned, the cliffhanger message was supposed to end the Brown chapter, but MJ needed to make it two chapters to prevent the feeling that it was rushed.

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Chapter 34, Beam 169

This was a joint effort.  MJ suggested that Bob would levitate a cow over and drop it, and that Sophia, the fire mage, might have some spells to cook it and to preserve it.  Eric wrote the first draft of the chapter and created most of the detail, although MJ edited some of it out and made a few minor changes.

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Chapter 35, Slade 222

We had discussed this and considered it for quite a while before we reached this point, and so had been working toward it, but it was pretty much a last minute decision to make it a Slade chapter, mostly because we hadn’t had one for a while.  MJ thought that contact from someone claiming to be an officer of a sister ship would at least stall the visitors, but as this was written we had not figured out what would happen next.

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Chapter 36, Kondor 230

Eric had suggested a confrontation with an ambassador upset about the versers revealing the location of some secret facility, and MJ had said if it was going to happen it had to be here.  Over the course of a day that went from MJ recommending an outline to expanding it to a chapter that spilled over into the next chapter.

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

472: Versers Vanish

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #472, on the subject of Versers Vanish.

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 fifth and final post for this novel, covering chapters 66 through 85.  Previous behind-the-writings posts for Con Verse Lea include web log posts:

  1. #460:  Versers Reorganize, covering chapters 1 through 17;
  2. #463:  Characters Unsettled, covering chapters 18 through 34;
  3. #365:  Characters Wander, covering chapters 35 through 51.
  4. #470:  Verser Turnings, covering chapters 52 through 68.

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.

Return to Top

Quick links to discussions in this page:
Chapter 69, Takano 78
Chapter 70, Beam 151
Chapter 71, Hastings 250
Chapter 72, Beam 152
Chapter 73, Takano 79
Chapter 74, Beam 153
Chapter 75, Hastings 251
Chapter 76, Takano 80
Chapter 77, Beam 154
Chapter 78, Takano 81
Chapter 79, Hastings 252
Chapter 80, Beam 155
Chapter 81, Hastings 253
Chapter 82, Beam 156
Chapter 83, Takano 82
Chapter 84, Beam 157
Chapter 85, Takano 83

Chapter 69, Takano 78

I was very uncertain how to handle this, but I began at the beginning and let it unfold as I went.  The song is one I learned as a child, elementary school aged, which eventually enabled me to recall the order of the books before I reached college.

I decided to give a fair amount of the sermon, but to spread it over a few chapters.  I have not yet decided whether the next part will be from Lauren’s perspective or again Tommy’s.

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Chapter 70, Beam 151

I came to this with a complication.  In my mind I had played out the key events of the rescue, but I realized that it was all very much from Ashleigh’s perspective, and Beam wasn’t there.  It took some work to figure out how to tell the rescue from Beam’s perspective and make it interesting.

I gave serious consideration to writing up the rescue from Ashleigh’s perspective and posting it for my Patreon patrons; I put off doing so because of concerns that I finish the book in a reasonable timeframe.

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Chapter 71, Hastings 250

I was going to write the Genesis passage from memory, as I had the John passage, but decided that since Lauren was reading it and I was to some degree relying on the idea that God had provided the same translation to her as to all the others, I went with the updated New American Standard Bible, which I have generally treated as Lauren’s preferred translation, and copied it from my copy.

I also copied the John passage; although I didn’t need to, having memorized it in Greek since having memorized the English in an earlier edition of that translation, I thought I’d better be careful to have it right.

In doing this, I really had very little idea what I was going to cover in this first sermon, and as I proceeded I recognized the technical problems, like the system of chapters and verses.

On my first pass I consciously chose not to use secondary quotes for the passages she was reading aloud, as it would be a tremendous amount, I thought, of clutter.  However, on a read-through edit I decided that when she cites the first words of Genesis as matching John, “in the beginning”, the flow of the text was confusing enough that the reader would be unlikely to realize that it was a quote instead of a statement about the text, so I used the inner quotes for it, but only for it, to clarify.

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Chapter 72, Beam 152

When I started this chapter I had no more idea of where it was going than that Warren would be awaiting them at the cave.  The rest of it was filling in answers to questions that were rattling in my head, and moving the story forward.  It is almost unfortunate that I can’t follow Warren and Amanda, because I’ve a pretty good idea where they’re going and no clue what Beam does next.

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Chapter 73, Takano 79

Again, I came to this chapter with nothing, and as I started to write I decided to segue out of the sermon with Tommy’s reaction to it.  From there I just filled in details of ordinary life and wrapped back around to the significant change.  It was short, but I think it was worth including.

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Chapter 74, Beam 153

The part about having disowned the gem and so being unable to track it was pretty much all I had when I started this chapter, but as I started to type I thought of how to lead up to that, and went from there.

I figured out the trick to figuring out which way Warren and Amanda went–or rather, didn’t go–while writing it.

I originally had said Beam fried up some eggs to go with the rice, but on the read-through I deleted that, because again they didn’t do any cooking in the cave, and although I hadn’t said they were there that was the stated meeting place so I was assuming as much, and thought the reader would also assume that.

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Chapter 75, Hastings 251

For a couple days I was more focused on finishing the setup for In Verse Proportion, and indeed I more than once forgot whose chapter was next–I had been thinking that it was Tommy, and I would do Tommy and then Lauren to make it feel like a longer time before Beam arrived at his destination.  Still, when I got to it, I was pressed for time and wrote the first paragraph, and ran off to other chores.

I still had trouble figuring out what to write, and wound up with a rather short chapter.

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Chapter 76, Takano 80

I had started this chapter, but was stumbling forward, so I went back to re-read everything from the beginning.  As I reached chapter 10, I realized I had a continuity problem:  at that point, there were battery-powered electric lights in the outlaw caves, and they built no fires and did no cooking there.  Yet after Beam rescued Warren they retreated to the cave, where they ate and slept, and there was an oil lamp in the bedroom.  I was going to have to fix that.

I made a couple decisions about the book by the time I’d finished the re-read.  One was that this was going to be a short book, that I was rapidly approaching the end.  I decided that Beam was going to be ambushed, and worked out some details about how that might work; I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a world in which Ashley and Sophia would find it difficult to kill each other, but which also would create an interesting place and restore some of Turbirb’durpa’s abilities.  I am currently thinking about a zombie apocalypse world, and of course there are multiple kinds of zombies.  I was trying to decide whether these would be magic or tech, and Kyler suggested bod-based, some kind of parasite, which is probably what I will choose.

Meanwhile, I am more and more thinking that Lauren will get in a fight with a bear.  I had a player do that once.  The problem is that Lauren probably could defeat a bear–but I think I’ve got the answers to that.  I also gave some consideration to formally retiring her, having her enter heaven–but decided instead to leave her out of the next several books and have the other characters wonder what happened to her.  That way I could still bring her back in some future book if I wished.

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Chapter 77, Beam 154

I realized I had to have a Beam chapter in which they were traveling, and this, although short, accomplished that.  I expected to have one more chapter in this world, and then probably would need to have the first chapter of the next world before the end of the book, but I wanted several more chapters in total, so I was going to have to stretch things.

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Chapter 78, Takano 81

I knew I was bringing the book to an end, and needed to figure out how to bring all three stories to a reasonable resting point.  This was mostly an effort to convey that Lauren had taught Tommy pretty much everything else she could about wilderness survival.

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Chapter 79, Hastings 252

Again I needed to draw the story to a close without it being abrupt, and so I focused on Lauren’s concerns for the days ahead.

I made sassafras tea as a boy.  I used the roots, and although I drank it, I never much cared for it because it had no sugar.  After I wrote the chapter I checked and learned that sassafras is no longer commercially available because it contains low levels of some poison, but I decided Lauren didn’t know that.

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Chapter 80, Beam 155

This was my exit strategy for Beam.  I decided that if the soldiers were thinking that they had to kill the demons, Bob wouldn’t recognize that as a threat to them and wouldn’t give the alert until too late, and enough individual soldiers shooting at Bob and Dawn would kill them both.  Bron was an afterthought, since he was there and I wasn’t certain how to handle him.

The important thing was that Beam should be killed.  I included the discussion about sparing Ashley mostly to give a bit of tinge of evil to the soldier.

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Chapter 81, Hastings 253

I had been sitting on this as a Takano chapter for a few days, unable to move forward.  I was struggling with the fact that I wanted to verse out Lauren and Beam, establish the new world for Beam but not for Lauren, and close with Tommy leading the Bible teaching.  I couldn’t find a way to write an interesting chapter here that was about Tommy.

I once had a player’s character pick a fight with a bear, and he fancied himself an excellent martial artist but realized after the fact that he had severely underestimated the bear.  I don’t remember how that came out.  I did recognize that a few things had to go against Lauren for her to lose, but stripping her of armor and weapons and having her fail to get the shield up in time were enough to tip the balance, I thought.

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Chapter 82, Beam 156

I was trying to get as much of the new world into this as I could without making it feel contrived.  In some ways I succeeded, but I didn’t get as far as the confrontation between Sophia and Ashley.  I thought I was going to have to bounce that to the next book, but then I had similar trouble covering everything I wanted to cover in the next Takano chapter, so I needed another Beam chapter so I could have another Takano chapter after that.

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Chapter 83, Takano 82

I knew I needed to start with Tommy noticing that Lauren was gone, and I wanted to get as far as the Sunday morning meeting—but I realized I couldn’t reasonably include that unless I kept Tommy awake all night or somehow covered the night, so I needed another chapter to complete it.

I had to look up Clark’s name.  I’m a bit uneasy about exactly what equipment Tommy has collected while here (particularly whether she has a bow, a quiver, or arrows), but I’ll piece that together when I do the character sheet updates so I’ll have it ready before she returns, which I think will be book eleven, although I haven’t decided whether she or Beam will be in book ten.

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Chapter 84, Beam 157

I managed to get quite a bit of what I wanted into this chapter.

I have been struggling with the fact that Beam really ought to curse, but I won’t have it in the book; but I decided that I could give Sophia the ability to curse by creating inventive invective for her.  Thus I decided that she could say “in the dregs” as an insult.

This is a zombie apocalypse, and it’s still taking shape in my mind, but I’ve decided that there is a parasite that takes over the body and kills the brain.

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Chapter 85, Takano 83

This end came together in pieces while I was writing the previous several chapters.  I knew that I was going to have Tommy pick up with something from the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus.  I also knew that she was going to have to say something about Lauren’s disappearance, and that she was going to want to meet with the leaders.  It took a bit of coalescing to get that in the right sequence, and I thought it an excellent conclusion to finish with the quote from John.

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This has been the fifth and final 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.

470: Verser Turnings

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #470, on the subject of Verser Turnings.

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 fourth post for this novel, covering chapters 52 through 68.  Previous behind-the-writings posts for Con Verse Lea include web log posts:

  1. #460:  Versers Reorganize, covering chapters 1 through 17;
  2. #463:  Characters Unsettled, covering chapters 18 through 34;
  3. #468:  Characters Wander, covering chapters 35 through 51.

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 52, Takano 73
Chapter 53, Beam 143
Chapter 54, Hastings 246
Chapter 55, Takano 74
Chapter 56, Beam 144
Chapter 57, Takano 75
Chapter 58, Beam 145
Chapter 59, Hastings 247
Chapter 60, Beam 146
Chapter 61, Takano 76
Chapter 62, Beam 147
Chapter 63, Hastings 248
Chapter 64, Beam 148
Chapter 65, Takano 77
Chapter 66, Beam 149
Chapter 67, Hastings 249
Chapter 68, Beam 150

Chapter 52, Takano 73

This was marked for a Hastings chapter, and I was at least several days trying to decide how to proceed.  The problem was that meticulous coverage of everything Lauren needed to teach them would be dull, but at the same time skimming over it in Lauren’s viewpoint would have to be detailed.  I then realized that Lauren would also be setting aside prayer time, which I would prefer were covered third-person.  So I changed the heading to Tommy.

Most of it was thought of as I finally got around to typing something, again several days after I changed it to Tommy’s viewpoint.  I’m contemplating how to get a Bible to her, and have been considering a sort of magic technological solution.

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Chapter 53, Beam 143

I had known for a while that I needed this to be a trap, but couldn’t decide how it would work.  My first thought was some kind of portcullis dropping to block the exit, but it seemed too primitive and ineffective.  My second thought was that the enemy would have rigged the first room to explode and collapse, but that would be complicated and possibly beyond what they were able to do.  I discussed it with Kyler, who reminded me that when he was in this world, the thing that ultimately took him out of it was an ambush, so I went with that.

I am not certain whether Beam will survive the ambush.  It was obvious that Beam has more assets than Kyler had, most notably the early warning system of Bob.  The upside of surviving the ambush is that this world still offers numerous opportunities for action, and I’m not at all certain where I might send him next.  The downside is if this doesn’t kill him I’m not sure what will.  But I don’t have to make that decision yet.

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Chapter 54, Hastings 246

I was pondering what to do with Lauren at this point.  However, I had just had Tommy thinking about getting a Bible somehow, and realized that at some point Lauren has to deliver the gospel to these people.  It was still a few days on top of the previous few days in which I pondered what to do, but once I started writing the chapter came fairly smoothly.

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Chapter 55, Takano 74

I was going to make this a Beam chapter, but my brain was engaged in the next step for the Hastings/Takano story, and I still had not quite worked through what Beam was going to do, so I went with Tommy.  Besides, Tommy’s chapter count was significantly lower than the others, and I sort of felt she needed to catch up a bit.

This chapter sort of moved from one thing to another, but it covered a lot of important parts.  I know what happens next for Tommy, but I needed a break before that could happen.

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Chapter 56, Beam 144

It struck me that Beam’s best strategy would be to take out the leadership, but that he had no way of knowing who or where that was.  Then I realized that Turbirb’durpa could hear the thoughts of the leaders, and so know what the leader was thinking—but would that enable him to locate the leader?  I decided that yes, he did know whence the thoughts came, and as I started writing I recalled his actions back in his first appearance, where he was aware of the location of those whose thoughts he heard.  That enabled Beam to target the leader, because Bob could point him in the right direction.

I always thought that a rocket was the best choice here.  I had often considered using rockets, but always saved them, and after I had fired the rocket I looked up Dawn’s equipment list to find that there were half a dozen, which meant five left.  I wasn’t going to use them all here, but it also said several crates of grenades, and I remembered her grenade launcher, so I used that to blow holes in the enemy line.

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Chapter 57, Takano 75

I had already written several chapters at one sitting, but I had this, and Lauren’s speech, in mind since I started with Lauren being told it was time.  I knew that somehow Tommy was going to manage to get Bibles delivered despite the fact that they couldn’t get anything delivered, and this was that.  The rest was for continuity.

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Chapter 58, Beam 145

I wasn’t sure how this would work, but pieced it together on the fly.  Every paragraph was devised as I reached it, from the marching order to the fight to the decision to follow Warren’s lead.

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Chapter 59, Hastings 247

When I wrote that God had already given her the words, I had this opening in mind.  I’m not an evangelist, either, but I tried to piece together enough of a message for her to deliver.  I also decided early that the truck would arrive with the Bibles during her speech, and it made sense for that to end her speech, but to do so once she had said everything she needed to say.

The embossed Bible was a last-minute decision.  I knew she would get a new Bible at this point, but since they were being distributed to the mass of people I wanted a reason why this one wasn’t also given away, and making it different and putting her name on it would do that for me.

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Chapter 60, Beam 146

At this point I was trying to figure out how to wrap up Beam’s story here, and Lauren’s also, and where to send either of them next.  I wasn’t coming up with any decent ideas.

The chapter was short, because I actually had not solved the problems it posed.

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Chapter 61, Takano 76

I had been contemplating what direction to take with this chapter, and it struck me that Tommy had just had a prayer answered rather dramatically.  It struck me that she had technically worked a miracle, and she might wonder about that.

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Chapter 62, Beam 147

I had decided after I wrote the previous Beam chapter that the best place for Warren was going to be the caves, and that would be an acceptable temporary camp for the others.  I also realized that Warren and Ashleigh ought to be dressed in their outlaw garb, and that they did not store these in the same location, and it would be rude for Beam to ask where Warren kept his.  So I would have to split the party.

Once I knew that I would be separating Warren from the others, it struck me that Beam should give him one of those unimportant pieces of equipment so he could track him by scriff sense.  I wondered what he had, and all I could think of was that he had packed gems in The Dancing Princess; still, I checked his character sheet, and although there were other things such as pencils, I decided the gem was the best choice.  That caused me to think that he should also give one to Ashleigh, because even though I wasn’t expecting them to be separated, he wouldn’t know that with certainty and would decide it a good idea to have a backup plan.  I might have been influenced by the fact that I had within the last week posted Brown 208 (In Verse Proportion Chapter 41), in which Derek says, “one thing I’ve learned is that it’s better to have a backup plan than to wish you had one, even if it’s not a very good backup plan,” which I thought was an excellent quotable statement, even though I don’t think I ever mentioned that anywhere.

I had expected this chapter to take me to the caves, and possibly beyond, but the part about the gems filled it sufficiently that I didn’t want to overstretch it.

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Chapter 63, Hastings 248

I really only had the starting point, that Lauren would be asked questions about the Bible that people were now reading, and that Tommy would kill and cook something.  I decided on rabbit because I wanted it not to be fish and I thought deer was a bit too big.

The meal gave me the start into expanding the diet.  I’ve had some survival training, so I know a fair amount about what you can forage in the woods, but Lauren does not have that benefit, so I had to think a lot about what she would know was edible.

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Chapter 64, Beam 148

I had been ignoring Beam’s most disabling weakness, and as I began with thoughts of returning to the honeymoon suite I realized that he was going to have to eat, and that meant drink, and that with the need to wash down the rice and his weakness for alcohol, he was going to consume a lot of sake and effectively derail his romantic intentions.  But that wasn’t going to appear quite so obvious unless I had him awaken in the bed.  Once I did that, it struck me that I needed a reason for him to get out of the bed, and there was a somewhat obvious one, but there were also obstacles.  And so this chapter took shape.  I’m not certain what happens when he returns.

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Chapter 65, Takano 77

I sort of stumbled through this chapter, knowing only that at some point I wanted Lauren to bring back another, smaller, deer, and that she was going to initiate Bible teaching meetings.  I didn’t even expect the latter to be in this chapter, but as I was writing it arose naturally, so I included it.

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Chapter 66, Beam 149

I decided after I sent Beam to the latrine that when he returned Ashleigh would be awake and awaiting, and much of this was sketched in my mind before I wrote the previous Takano chapter–but I had to pad it a bit, because what I had was too short.

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Chapter 67, Hastings 249

I had no idea what I was going to do with this chapter, and slept on it.  I came to the idea that Lauren was going to realize she had committed herself to lead church, which she had never done nor felt called to do.  It was after I had started writing that I remembered she had taught Bible in the mutant earth world where she met Derek.  Then I gave her margins in the Bible to make notes, but realized that although she had paper she didn’t actually have a pen–she didn’t bring a quill or ink from the fantasy Arabia world.  I also checked Tommy equipment, confirming that she didn’t have anything of that sort, either.  That meant I had to explain Lauren’s notes in the margins of the Bible she gave to Tommy, but that was easy enough.

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Chapter 68, Beam 150

I started this chapter with nothing more than the first line and a few vague notions of what had to be done in the short term.  I developed as much as I could of the plan from there.

I had to look up Amanda’s name, and also what it was that she called Beam, because she had been off stage for so long.

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This has been the fourth 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.

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.

#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.

#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.