Tag Archives: Writing

#493: Verser Engagements

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #493, on the subject of Verser Engagements.

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 ninth post for this novel, covering chapters 97 through 108.  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;
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.
  5. #484:  Characters Maneuver, 49 through 60.
  6. #487:  A World in Space, 61 through 72.
  7. #489:  Battle Worlds, 73 through 84; and
  8. #491:  Verser Ventures, 85 through 96.

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 97, Kondor 244
Chapter 98, Slade 238
Chapter 99, Beam 185
Chapter 100, Brown 270
Chapter 101, Kondor 245
Chapter 102, Slade 239
Chapter 103, Beam 186
Chapter 104, Brown 271
Chapter 105, Kondor 246
Chapter 106, Slade 240
Chapter 107, Beam 187
Chapter 108, Brown 272

Chapter 97, Kondor 244

Eric wrote more of this relief effort, and set up a cliffhanger in which Kondor was beginning to use psionics to address the problems.

I noted after the fact that the railroad company would have equipment to clear tracks of such debris, but they could get away with two such blockages.  I also suggested that we could use a broken train trestle and a hike across a valley, with memories of the log crossing in the first novel, which Eric agreed would be good.

Return to Top


Chapter 98, Slade 238

Eric marked this for Slade, and I decided that it should start with Derek describing the experience of visiting the Ichthoi, and Slade rejecting the notion that it would be at all desirable to feel at peace like that.  That led to the notion of what happens after Ragnorak, and perhaps the first doubts Slade has ever had about his faith.  Having the robot cook Chlorophyte food just seemed obvious.

Quite a few of the aliens had essentially cameo appearances; the Ichthoi were among these.

Return to Top


Chapter 99, Beam 185

Some of this was discussed before I drafted it.  Eric had suggested that on the way Beam should bless a child and have a lock of its hair turn white, but I objected that it is part of the team dynamic that Beam doesn’t do anything magical or indeed have any special abilities other than organizing the others.  Still, some sort of “magical” display seemed to be appropriate, and I decided that Beam could have Bob snatch the arresting officer and levitate him, and no one would know that Beam wasn’t doing that.

Return to Top


Chapter 100, Brown 270

Eric wrote this with a view to moving Derek toward my hope that he would obtain a trumpet.  I changed the ending because I thought the Brown chapter should have Derek raise Slade’s notion about gladiator games meaning that there was war somewhere, but it was fine to delay that.

The ‘Iorg was a name that Eric wrote because he liked the look, but I took issue based on the fact that I don’t like words in sci fi and fantasy books that the reader couldn’t pronounce.  We discussed the opening symbol and whether the letter I was a vowel or a consonant, and came up with a click followed by two syllables, as described in the text.

Return to Top


Chapter 101, Kondor 245

Eric had set up the situation in which a bird was trapped under the center of a very large debris pile, and I assumed he intended for them to use psionics to rescue him, so I wrote this.  I was as it were interrupted by the realization that this was going to attract attention, so I covered that, and then decided that for story purposes it would be better to complete the rescue in Kondor’s next chapter.

Return to Top


Chapter 102, Slade 239

I struggled a bit to write this from Slade’s viewpoint; I was going to start with Derek talking to 1942 in the limo, but realized Slade wouldn’t see that part.  Gradually, though, it came together.

Eric’s backstory for the universe includes that there is a threat of intergalactic war, and the emperor in this galaxy has been trying to prepare for it.  Part of that included building this huge artificial planet and relocating all sentient beings to it; part of it was initiating the gladiator games to help identify and prepare great fighters.

Return to Top


Chapter 103, Beam 186

We discussed several of the ideas in this chapter.  It was Eric’s suggestion that Ashleigh would offer to assassinate Norax, and mine that Beam would choose a propaganda campaign.  Eric put it together and brought it to the point where Beam had hacked the system and was ready to speak, when I realized that Beam couldn’t speak alien, so we had a cliffhanger into his next episode.

Return to Top


Chapter 104, Brown 271

Eric wrote all of this with only a bit of input from me.  After this first shot at the preliminary we discussed a bit about how the main competition would go.

Return to Top


Chapter 105, Kondor 246

I picked up the story of rescuing the parakeet with telekinesis and finished it.

Return to Top


Chapter 106, Slade 240

I started this chapter, but realized Eric and I hadn’t discussed how big this contest was so I wasn’t sure of how to rank the versers.  I made a rough suggestion, and Eric agreed with it; it assumes there are between forty and fifty thousand fighters in each division.

Eric took over and wrote the arrival and the fight.

This is the cameo appearance of the Tso race, and everything decided about it appears in this section.

Return to Top


Chapter 107, Beam 187

I started this chapter with three proposed solutions to the language barrier problem, but then suspended it to get Eric’s input on how to do it and jumped down to write the propaganda speech and the court martial of Norax.  When I thought of the step of removing Norax from authority by delisting him from the computer roster it seemed he should do that before he made the speech, but since I didn’t think of it until he was writing the speech I decided Beam didn’t, either.

Eric punted, putting the decision back with me, and I returned to make the choice.  Although Bob’s solutions had been reliable, I decided that there was a story advantage to having Sophia solve this one, so figured out why Beam would go that way.

At this point we gave some serious discussion to where the book was headed and what would be in the next one.

Return to Top


Chapter 108, Brown 272

The question coming into this chapter is whether to have Derek watch Slade’s fight against the Tso or fight his own primitive weapons battle and come back to Slade later.  I suggested that if Derek were to face a Parakeet he might feel the suppressed anger of the battle he fought against the spy.

I had also realized that Derek had several psionic skills which could be used in combat if needed.  I checked, and was disappointed to find no force shield, but decided that the telekinesis would be useful.

Return to Top


This has been the ninth 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.

#491: Verser Ventures

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #491, on the subject of Verser Ventures.

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 eighth post for this novel, covering chapters 85 through 96.  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
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.
  5. #484:  Characters Maneuver, 49 through 60.
  6. #487:  A World in Space, 61 through 72.
  7. #489:  Battle Worlds, 73 through 84.

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 85, Kondor 241
Chapter 86, Slade 235
Chapter 87, Brown 267
Chapter 88, Beam 182
Chapter 89, Slade 236
Chapter 90, Kondor 242
Chapter 91, Beam 183
Chapter 92, Brown 268
Chapter 93, Kondor 243
Chapter 94, Slade 237
Chapter 95, Beam 184
Chapter 96, Brown 269

Chapter 85, Kondor 241

This was a pivotal chapter serving two functions, one of making sense of the relief efforts to come, the other of delaying Derek’s fight a bit so the action would be more spread.

Return to Top


Chapter 86, Slade 235

I thought it best to tell this fight from the viewer’s perspective.  I had no idea how to run it, beyond that Derek would start with the frying pan and the butcher knife, with the chain around his waist.  I forgot that Derek was left-handed until the middle of the fight when I decided that the spear shaft would injure him.  The moment of closing his eyes was him using his psionic pain repression skill, which probably doesn’t come through.

Return to Top


Chapter 87, Brown 267

Eric wrote this, taking a quick trip to their new apartments and turning it into a short tour of the atmosphere.

Return to Top


Chapter 88, Beam 182

We had discussed whether the aliens would surrender to Beam or attempt to arrest him, and as Eric wrote he managed to capture both attitudes.

Within an hour of posting this chapter, I realized a mistake.  When Eric had included my little green men as one of the races in Throne World Empire, I had suggested that they are called “chlorophytes”.  He liked the name–but then he started using it for the aliens on The Seeker in this other universe.  I said that that didn’t fly, partly because the two worlds had diverged too far in the past, partly because a race that is the only intelligence it knows doesn’t refer to itself by a distinguishing name; “chlorophyte” was clearly the sort of name created to distinguish one intelligent creature from some other one, and so would exist in the Throne World Empire world, but not in this one.  Still, the word slipped into this chapter at least twice, and several more times in later Beam chapters, and I spent a bit of time tracking them all down and rewording them.

Return to Top


Chapter 89, Slade 236

After the Brown fight, I commented that Derek had used his psionic pain reducer when he was hit with the spear, but I wasn’t sure whether that was apparent.  Eric replied that it was once it was mentioned, but since it hadn’t been mentioned I wanted a conversation in which it was.  That, plus the need to fill some space and feel our way forward on the story, was my impetus for drafting this chapter.

Return to Top


Chapter 90, Kondor 242

I had made the note that this Kondor chapter would either be arriving at the end of the rail line or riding the train, and on reflection decided it would be a mistake to skip the trip, so I looked for something to make the ride interesting.

Return to Top


Chapter 91, Beam 183

Eric started this chapter, and I picked it up just past the middle.  It was truncated because I didn’t want to put too much thought into where the third officer was headquartered or what the trip was like, and wanted the next Beam chapter to pick up with a confrontation between Beam and the third officer Norax.

Originally we had written that there were a billion something untranslatable in the apartments, and that the officer was in charge of a thousand; on edit, I realized that we use these names because in base ten they’re round numbers, but they wouldn’t be in base eight, so I deduced that the aliens would have specific number names for each of the powers of eight which in Bob’s mind would translate to their exact values.  To reverse it for example, if Beam were to say one thousand, Bob would render it into Chlorophyte as whatever they would call their number 1750, and the Chlorophytes would wonder why the humans used such random-seeming numbers.  512 is eight cubed, and 1,073,741,824 is eight to the tenth.  Originally what I had changed to “something untranslatable” Eric had made “Chlorophytes”, a name for the race that otherwise only appeared in the other universe many centuries later and I was both reluctant to use in this setting and uncertain whether the alien word for that would translate.  On edit, I decided that what the officer was reporting would be the number of civilian colonists, and so used that.

The officer names all came from a D&D game I ran in the 1980s.

Return to Top


Chapter 92, Brown 268

Not sure where this should be going, I decided to do a bit of domestic orientation.  We hadn’t discussed things like whether there was an internet or some kind of communication system for ordering food, but I thought there must be something so I went simple.  Cassandra was the first name I considered for the device, but I was really looking for Pandora because I wanted the joke that it could open all kinds of trouble.

Return to Top


Chapter 93, Kondor 243

Eric wrote this chapter, with only a few minor edits from me.  It was the beginning of the disaster relief effort.

Return to Top


Chapter 94, Slade 237

Eric wrote this as well.

I had concerns about the knife.  Under Multiverser rules when a character achieves a 3@ expert level of skill in a weapon, his skill is specific to the one he always uses, and the concern was that Derek would be better with his old knife than his new one.  However, a check of the character sheet showed him to be only a 2@ professional level with a knife, at which level the skill should be effectively the same across all sufficiently similar iterations of the type.

Return to Top


Chapter 95, Beam 184

This scene was discussed some, and I pieced it together.  We had agreed that Lieutenant Commander Norax would not surrender, and that we were going to have a civil war aboard the ship.

Return to Top


Chapter 96, Brown 269

Eric wrote this, fleshing out more of the alien peoples of the world.  I wasn’t certain of Eric’s suggestion that humans could not be comfortable in a state of total peace for long, but since it was the Chombito’s extrapolation from its own experience I decided that what the alien thought about humans wasn’t necessarily true.

The Chombito Ystrang becomes a regular character in the remainder of the book, with information about him and his people coming out through time.

Return to Top


This has been the eighth 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.

#490: Looking Back

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #490, on the subject of Looking Back.

Once again, as we did last year in web log post #461:  2022 in Review and in previous years linked successively back from there, we are recapping everything published in the past year–sort of.

I say “sort of” because once again some material is being omitted.  There have been a few hundred posts to the Christian Gamers Guild Bible Study which can be accessed there but aren’t really fully indexed anywhere.  Meanwhile, the dozen articles in the Faith in Play series and the similar dozen in the RPG-ology series were just indexed on the Christian Gamers Guild site in 2023 At the Christian Gamers Guild Reviewed, and won’t be repeated here.  The RPG-ology and Faith in Play series were both released in book form this year, along with two other books, RPG Theory 101 and Other Essays in Role Playing Games and An Analytical Commentary on The Book of Romans.  These are all available in paperback and Kindle format; follow the links for more information about them.

I also posted several days a week on my Patreon web log, which announces almost everything I publish elsewhere on the same day it’s published, but again omitting the Bible study posts.  There is also a bi-monthly review of my work at Goodreads under the title The Ides of Mark, now at sixty-two installments, which does include some information about those Bible Study materials.

This year saw the last of the web log song posts, at least as an ongoing series.  These included:

I continued posting the ninth Multiverser novel Con Verse Lea, featuring Lauren Hastings, Tomiko Takano, and James Beam, from chapter 27 to the end (chapter 85), which are indexed there along with several behind-the-writings posts about it, and after posting a few character papers to the support site I continued with the tenth novel, In Version, featuring Robert Slade, James Beam, Joseph Kondor, and Derek Brown, through chapter 91.  Behind-the-writings posts on these two books included web log posts:

Collaborator Eric R. Ashley and I have managed to finish the twelfth novel, A Dozen Verses, and the thirteenth, Multiverser:  The Thirteenth Story, and are working on one called Verse a Tile.  Separately, I picked up the horror book I dropped, Corpoises, and wrote a bit more, and will probably finish it shortly.  I’m also continuing setup work on the analytical commentary series.

I think the rest of everything is a bit miscellaneous and disorganized, but here’s what I find.

Mark Joseph “young” web log post #465:  Believing in Ghosts considers whether ghosts exist and what attitude Christians should have about them.  It was an answer to a question from a friend.

Another question from the same friend led to post #469:  Church History, rather narrowly focused on distinguishing Reformation Protestants from later Evangelicals and both from Pentecostals and Charismatics.

Responding to a question from a time travel fan, #474:  Preliminary Temporal Thoughts on Paper Girls looked at the description of a television series and the time travel implications.

In our Christian Gamers Guild Chaplain’s Bible Study the accout of the healings of Jairus’ daughter and the woman who touched the hem of his garment arose, and when I suggested the woman was the girl’s mother I was asked why I thought this.  That seemed too big a question for the Bible study, so it became web log post #475:  The Mother of Jairus’ Daughter.

A few years ago someone had written to ask me what I knew about Bernice Wurst, an artist who was a friend of my mother who gave me two of her paintings.  I had featured one of them in an article in the Game Ideas Unlimited series.  It bothered me that when I looked for information about her on the web, there wasn’t much, so I decided to record the few reminiscences I could recall in post #486:  Bernice Wurst:  Impressions of an Impressionist.

In other news, I made it to AnimeNEXT this year, and expect to be invited coming up in June once again; I edited and subsequently reviewed two books for a friend–the BeautyAndTheBell trilogy–and expect to start on the third soon; and I posted a few recipes and some other images to Instagram.

I think that summarizes the year; the new year has already gotten started, but you can keep up by following my social media sites including Patreon.  I’ve already started something new this year, but maybe I’ll tell you about it next year once I see how it goes.

#489: Battle Worlds

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #489, on the subject of Battle Worlds.

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 seventh post for this novel, covering chapters 73 through 84.  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
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.
  5. #484:  Characters Maneuver, 49 through 60.
  6. #487:  A World in Space, 61 through 72.

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 73, Beam 178
Chapter 74, Kondor 238
Chapter 75, Brown 264
Chapter 76, Slade 233
Chapter 77, Beam 179
Chapter 78, Kondor 239
Chapter 79, Brown 265
Chapter 80, Slade 234
Chapter 81, Beam 180
Chapter 82, Kondor 240
Chapter 83, Brown 266
Chapter 84, Beam 181

Chapter 73, Beam 178

Eric had expressed concern that there be continuity to the story after we versed people out, and I proposed that just as Derek is crashing the ship into the ocean Beam would arrive.  I put him on the observation deck so he would understand where he was and to some degree what was happening.  It was then only a matter of figuring out what he would see.

Return to Top


Chapter 74, Kondor 238

I decided that having Joe and Zeke see the descent of the ship would help move the story forward; also, at this point I figured that Derek would have left the ship, but since Beam was on it Kondor would detect the scriff sense of a verser and not know it wasn’t Derek.

Return to Top


Chapter 75, Brown 264

We discussed this transition extensively before Eric put it together in this chapter.  The idea was to bring them to a place similar enough to the university they left behind that it would make sense that they could arrive there on a botch, and to build a future universe parallel to the one they left but with the two races and several others living in some kind of harmony in an interstellar empire.

Eric provided information concerning several of the races included in this book.

In this chapter Derek meets Kelp 1942, which becomes a significant character as the book continues.  Of the Kelp, Eric says those who go a-wandering and leave the great seas live in apartments filled with water.  This gives them space to move about.  However, if they want to be in public, they have to curl up and get in a floating diamondpane floater ball aquarium.  They are curious.  They also look for advantages in betting.

He also sees the Bilitate, which Eric describes as the Blue aliens from his earlier Multiverser book Beach with Dinosaurs.  They 1. Have no long bones, only vertebrae and joints.  2. In order to stand, they have to continually stress their muscles so they are considerably stronger than they look.  3.  They have airholes on the sides of their chests.  4.  They can only see Blue and Black.  They can see many more separate colors of blue than other races.  A piece of paper to them would look just blue to us, but they could read the Shade 124 Blue letters on the Shade 256 Blue paper background.  5. They are low grade empathic with each other.  6, They will be seen in groups of four or multiples thereof. 7, Their reflexes are considerably slower than human, so much so that a fast moving human might appear to teleport to them. 8, In this setting, they are definitely one of the non-warrior races.

He also sees a Parakeet and a little green man, finally given the name Chlorophyte by me, both described earlier in this book and previous books in the series.

Return to Top


Chapter 76, Slade 233

Eric carried this forward, gathering or creating four of the seven races–Parakeet (from my Verse Three, Chapter One), Chlorophyte (little green men from The Wanderer, in my Versers Versus Versers), Bilitate (from Eric’s previous Multiverser book Beach with Dinosaurs), Kelp, Dvander, and Dracorex–and then discussing the seventh with me, which led to the “second best at everything” race, which he named the Anders, pulling the name from the Greek.  More detail is given about each race in the chapters in which they first appear.

Eric also wanted to introduce the gladiator games theme for Slade.

In this chapter Slade sees a Volungas balloon, which Eric describes as intelligent, indeed very highly so.  But they rest, absorb sunlight, and at night lay on dirt to absorb minerals.  Because of their vast size, they think very deep, very slow thoughts with massive memories.  Most of them are older than the empire.  If you have a week to talk to one, you can get some very great knowledge.  Each of the hundred thousand of them is under the personal protection of the Emperor.  They have only a passing presence in this book.

There is also a confrontation with a Dvander, for which Eric offered information:  1. Claws at ends of fingertips.  2. Very good at counterpunching.  3. Faster than human reflexes.  4. Let’s go with muscular.  5. Fan-like ears make it hard to sneak up on them, and they can hear heartbeats so once they understand their foe, they can predict moves by hearing heartbeats.  6. The ears have talons to defend themselves automatically.  7. Most Dvandar have a technological ear guard which keeps them from being sonically overwhelmed.  8. Ears also serve as cooling fans as a Dvandar can overheat. 9. Dvandar sometimes strike before they think, that is the reflexive bit.  10. 5 feet tall, say.  11. Thin skin.  12. Amphibians, sure.  That adds interest.  [Amphibian–frogs, newts?]

Return to Top


Chapter 77, Beam 179

This was by way of orienting Beam to his new world and making it clear to the reader where he was.  Although at some point he was going to encounter the little green men whom we were elsewhere calling Chlorophytes, I didn’t want too much to happen all at once, and was still contemplating whether when the Chlorophytes recognized these as the same creatures as the versers they would capture them or surrender to them.

Return to Top


Chapter 78, Kondor 239

Eric suggested that Turbirb’durpa would be able to find Kondor’s mind and communicate with him; I agreed that while this would be irregular, because Turb hears all thoughts around him and Kondor’s telepathic efforts to find Derek would be like shouting, it could be done.  I also suggested the discussion about why Turb doesn’t teach Beam telepathy.

Return to Top


Chapter 79, Brown 265

Eric constructed this chapter both to provide resources for the versers and to bring them into the challenge fight.  We had to go back to clarify that “factory seconds” was a unit of currency based on the standard output of a factory per second, and that it did not refer to defective merchandise.

Return to Top


Chapter 80, Slade 234

I decided that the opponent should be a Dvandar, not their best fighter but one of the top choices.  Part of that was that I thought the Kelp wouldn’t have the influence to risk the life of a Dracorex, and although the Anders were the obvious second choice they were too like humans to make for an interesting fight.  A quick chat with Eric brought us to agreement on a lot of the details of the appearance and abilities, although I took the amphibian aspect combined with the muscular physique to suggest the ability to make long fast jumps.

Return to Top


Chapter 81, Beam 180

I suggested that we have Beam camp, and was uncertain whether it would get as far as them being discovered; it apparently didn’t.  I also suggested that there should be a Kondor chapter and then Derek should watch Slade’s fight.

Return to Top


Chapter 82, Kondor 240

I was writing, but it was Eric’s suggestion that Kondor head to the coast to help with disaster relief.  Since the world only recently got telegraphs and even trains were relatively new, it seemed this would be the first such disaster relief effort, although it was unclear what obstacles they might face.

Return to Top


Chapter 83, Brown 266

I wanted to show this combat from Derek’s viewpoint, and it worked fairly well that way.  It was a quick battle, but it was important to show Slade’s superiority.

Return to Top


Chapter 84, Beam 181

It was obvious that Beam’s story wouldn’t really move forward until he was interacting with the aliens, but just as obvious that those same aliens had no reason to look for him, and particularly none to look for him in what was essentially a wilderness preserve.  Thus the best option I could see was a chance encounter, and I had to find a way to create one.  The notion of an alien coming to the lake before dawn to fish made sense, and the fact that both Beam and Dawn have white hair would be significant.

Return to Top


This has been the seventh 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.

#487: A World in Space

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #487, on the subject of A World in Space.

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 sixth post for this novel, covering chapters 61 through 72.  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
  4. #482:  Versers Engage, 37 through 48.
  5. #484:  Characters Maneuver, 49 through 60.

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 61, Beam 176
Chapter 62, Slade 229
Chapter 63, Kondor 236
Chapter 64, Brown 260
Chapter 65, Beam 177
Chapter 66, Slade 230
Chapter 67, Brown 261
Chapter 68, Kondor 237
Chapter 69, Slade 231
Chapter 70, Brown 262
Chapter 71, Slade 232
Chapter 72, Brown 263

Chapter 61, Beam 176

Although I drafted this chapter, Eric had contributed some of the ideas for it in discussion.  We were considering the bears as an ironic exit from this world.  Eric kept using the word “chimera” in a sense unfamiliar to me, but which apparently suggested some genetic manipulation of some sort, so I stopped with the appearance of the bears and suggested Eric revise it as desired.

Return to Top


Chapter 62, Slade 229

Eric drafted this originally as chapter 60, but I inserted two chapters mostly to give a credible feeling that they had prepared for it.  At the end, Eric had the ships separating for two separate landing sites, but my previous descriptions of the ship suggested that launch bays were near the bottom and the bridge and simulator near the top and elevators in the center, so it made the most sense for them to use the same bay even if there were more than one, and do at least part of the journey together.

Return to Top


Chapter 63, Kondor 236

Eric drafted this, and it went with only minor editing.

Return to Top


Chapter 64, Brown 260

Eric drafted this.  We had discussed such issues as whether they would find a vehicle of some sort, and Eric wanted to have a lot of combat aboard the ship; even so I was surprised that they disembarked directly into a firefight.

Return to Top


Chapter 65, Beam 177

I chose not to start this chapter because I thought Eric had some ideas about the bear(s).  Eric eventually wrote the attack.

At this point, we were both fairly certain that at least two and possibly all four of our viewpoint characters would be versing out within the next few chapters.  Our biggest problem was that we were quite uncertain where to send any of them.

Return to Top


Chapter 66, Slade 230

I was waiting to see what Eric would do with Beam’s bear “chimera”, but I decided to jump ahead on the Slade and Brown threads.  One reason I jumped into that was that I realized that the robot had been an animal capture bot, and could probably appear to be so if it were carrying them, which would let them be insignificant in a different way.

The cliffhanger was intended to set up the next Brown chapter with Slade killing an alien.  I envisioned it as an alien with a clipboard, recalling his first kill in the first book.

Return to Top


Chapter 67, Brown 261

Having set up the fight, I came back and wrote it, mostly because I liked the image of Slade being ignored by the alien until the attack fell.  This delivered Derek to the right floor and sent Slade into his big combat.

I had Derek learn the Insignificancy spell without any notion of when or whether he would use it.

Return to Top


Chapter 68, Kondor 237

Eric wrote this mostly to let the reader know that we hadn’t forgotten Kondor.  He included seeing a flash in space, but I removed that because first I thought it too soon and second I didn’t think Slade could produce any explosion large enough to be seen from the ground without somehow destroying the ship.

Return to Top


Chapter 69, Slade 231

Eric wrote this, in which there was a great deal of combat and Slade was barely hanging on to life from the sound of it.  I thought it too long, and so at the point where the former captain robot produces blades I decided it was time to catch up with Derek, and broke the chapter into two.

Return to Top


Chapter 70, Brown 262

I inserted this chapter to break the extended Slade battle and catch up with what Derek was doing taking over the ship.

Return to Top


Chapter 71, Slade 232

This was the end of Eric’s original Slade 231, which I pushed by inserting the Brown chapter.

Return to Top


Chapter 72, Brown 263

I wrote this as the endgame for Seeker’s attack on the parakeets.

Return to Top


This has been the sixth 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.

#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.

Return to Top

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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


Chapter 59, Kondor 235

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

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top

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.

Return to Top


Chapter 38, Brown 253

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

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top

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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top

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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.

Return to Top


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.