Tag Archives: Writing

#498: Characters Restart

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #498, on the subject of Characters Restart.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first ten 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,
  9. Con Verse Lea, and
  10. In Version, in collaboration with Eric R. Ashley,

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 eleventh, Con Version,  again 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 first post for this novel, covering chapters 1 through 12.  There is also a section of the site, Multiverser Novel Support Pages, in which I have begun to place materials related to the novels beginning with character papers for the major characters, giving them at different stages as they move through the books.  This is also the longest book to date, and has quite a few long chapters in it, so there will be quite a few of these background articles.

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 1, Takano 84
Chapter 2, Brown 282
Chapter 3, Cooper 1
Chapter 4, Takano 85
Chapter 5, Brown 283
Chapter 6, Cooper 2
Chapter 7, Takano 86
Chapter 8, Brown 284
Chapter 9, Cooper 3
Chapter 10, Takano 87
Chapter 11, Brown 285
Chapter 12, Cooper 4

Chapter 1, Takano 284

We had just finished the final readthrough edit of In Version, and although we weren’t in a hurry to continue we had agreed to work together on the next probably two books, this one picking up Tomiko’s story and continuing Derek’s, and the next one returning to Slade and Beam.  We had agreed that the second chapter would be the continuation of Derek’s spooky New Orleans world, but the first would bring Tommy back, so I wrote this to recall the end of Tommy’s story in Con Verse Lea and did a quick edit to a chapter Eric had written, part of which had been included in In Version, to make this a continuation of that.

Titles are always a conundrum for me, and my suggestion for this one came from a long chain of reasoning.  In Versers Versus Versers there were five versers in the same world and they were at war against each other, and nearly all of them were versed out by the end of the book.  That was the inspiration for the title Re Verse All, that almost everyone had versed once again.  That book, though, only covered Lauren Hastings, Tommy Takano, and James Beam, and so when it ended and the next one dropped all three of them and picked up Joe Kondor, Bob Slade, and Derek Brown, it made sense to call it In Verse Proportion.  I then swapped back to the other three characters and had much of the action centered around a lake in a meadow, which logically fit the title Con Verse Lea.  The tenth book returned to Kondor, Slade, and Brown, but they were all in the same universe and this was continuing the story from In Verse Proportion, so I named it In Version.  Pondering a title for this book, I realized that readers have been waiting to hear what happens to Tommy, so this is in one sense a continuation of Con Verse Lea, and it would probably be the only time that the title Con Version made sense.

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Chapter 2, Brown 282

Eric had written a chapter as a proposed New Orleans world where Derek could get the trumpet I wanted him to have eventually.  I had thought it sounded like an excellent and very different setting, but wanted to split it so that a short part of it would be a cliffhanger ending for In Version and the story would continue in a subsequent book.  Because there were good arguments for interrupting most of the other stories, we put the continuation here.

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Chapter 3, Cooper 1

There was a fair amount of uncertainty about who should be the third character in this book.  Slade’s story would be continuing the alien empire where he and Derek had been involved in the very intense combat tournament, and because it had so many ties to both the parakeet world and the space traveling aliens of the previous books we wanted to break away from that and return later.  We weren’t sure what to do with Beam but that he had been a viewpoint character in several recent books so we thought he should be out for a while.  I had wanted to shelve Lauren for a few books, mostly because I needed a break from her.  Kondor was continuing the story Slade had started in an earlier book, and it felt like the parakeet world needed a break.  The suggestion was made that we launch a new character, and there was a player who reportedly hoped we would base a character on him.  At the same time we thought the best solution to Tommy’s problems would be to bring a character into her world who could bring survival skills they didn’t have.  That could be Kondor, but we had set him up for an interesting and challenging storyline where he was, so he would be arriving somewhat later.  Johnny Angel was a possibility, because his background was at this point vague enough with enough of a suggestion of a long history in the verse that we could fill in a lot of skills.  Or it could be the new verser.  I was hesitant to create another new verser, because the six presently in use already meant a lot more skipping.  But it was an option, and in the end we designed a character loosely on a player who had been in games with both of us and had suggested to Eric that he be included.

Even so, there were a lot of points to debate.  We changed the name, but the original player used an English translation of his German name, and we wanted to retain that as well–but we made this decision before we decided to introduce him in Switzerland, which complicated the name use very early.  I suggested that he would be black, mostly for racial diversity, but also because his very conservative Evangelical Christian faith fit with a black man.  Eric agreed, but said he was also part German, which seemed good.  There was a discussion concerning whether he might maintain his physical shape by participating in a martial art; the original player did not do so, but taught himself to fight in one of his early worlds.  There are several advantages in game terms to having such skills, but we decided he was a strong enough character without them.  At first I had given him a Bible, but the player provided notes in which he suggested that he didn’t use books, instead relying on his laptop, so that was changed.

I had long thought that having a character meet William Tell and learn the use of the crossbow from him was as promising as having someone learn the longbow from Robin Hood.  The player had been in Sherwood Forest as one of his first worlds, but I had used Sherwood in Verse Three, Chapter One, and even though no one learned to use the bow I was reluctant to use the same world for a different character.  Still, I had mentioned this, along with several others, and Eric decided to run with this one, partly because it had religious issues alongside the political ones.

We also decided that Barrelmaster would have seen Slade verse out, and then followed the scriff sense to Umak Tek, where he would have stayed for some time before being versed out; we did not decide on anything he did there, or what killed him.

I was a bit bothered by the notion that Barrelmaster was already at Stage Two, the stage at which versers have weird dreams when versing, but decided to let it slip, as it was possible.

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Chapter 4, Takano 85

We had some trouble getting the Takano story moving.  I was short on ideas, and while Eric made up for this he was not on top of either the geography and environment of an unspoiled southern New Jersey area where this was set, or the specifics of Tommy’s skills and equipment and those of her companions.  There were a lot of rewrites in the early chapters.

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Chapter 5, Brown 283

Eric created the confrontation with the bull and the damage to the robot.  The development of the new telepathy to animals skill was a good extrapolation from what he knew.

For a long time I was very bothered by the notion that a bull could gore the outer shell of a robot made of Duralloy, one of those super hard science fiction materials that can withstand bullets and meteoroids, but I let it stand.  Ultimately it appears that the bull is supernaturally gifted.  I was still vexed by the problem of how Derek could repair it.  Ultimately I undid the goring.

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Chapter 6, Cooper 2

Eric had launched Cooper, and wrote this as well.  The use of German was an unusual touch, but made sense in the setting.

Eric had envisioned Cooper going for a short walk outside the confines of Umak Tek and being killed (presumably by a coral bush?), and thus being separated from his possessions and needing to recover them.  That meant some wandering in the mountain, but it was something already in the character’s backstory.

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Chapter 7, Takano 86

The mountain lion story was Eric’s idea.  The animal was plausible; there are such lions in the northern mountains, and they could spread south.  However, we had to hammer out a lot of details related to where it would be and how Tommy would find it.

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Chapter 8, Brown 284

I wrote this.  We had agreed that Derek would get his trumpet in this world, and that it would be integral to the story, given to him by a person who seemed ordinary but at the same time was mysterious.  At this point I created Pierre Hunter as an old black man who had been the protector of New Orleans and was retiring as Derek would be the one to face and hopefully defeat the devil.  He would be expecting them, and would have the trumpet for Derek.

I have never actually seen a four-valve trumpet, but they make four-valve brass instruments and I understand the use of the fourth valve from playing a four-valve tuba; I wanted this to be recognizably special and yet for practical purposes a regular trumpet, so I went with that.

Our discussions about this world, while we were still working on In Version, included that part of the battle would have Derek leading a Dixieland band in the song When the Saints Go Marching In.  It struck me that a Dixieland band usually has a woodwind player, a clarinet or saxophone most typically, that plays what in a Sousa march would be called the descant and would be played on flutes and piccolos, and so I did some quick research into ancient Persian woodwinds.  That gave me the Ney, very like a recorder but made in multiple sizes so it can play in different keys.  It seemed the sort of thing a young Arabian princess would be expected to learn, and this would enable Vashti to play along with Derek.

I also decided to give them the house as a base of operations.

We also sketched several points still to come, including the members of the band and some of the events at the story’s climax.

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Chapter 9, Cooper 3

Trying to pick up where Eric was headed with the William Tell story, I wrote enough of this to gather the equipment and bring Cooper within sight of the Tell homestead.  My description was limited to the fact that there was a house, a stable for the donkey, and the wagon parked outside.  At that point I stopped to raise a question about the setting.  Traditions surrounding Tell disagree as to whether he was a peasant with a crossbow (presumably for hunting) or a gentleman living outside the city.  That had to be decided before his residence could be further described, so I waited for input from Eric on it.  We agreed on the nobleman status, and I continued.

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Chapter 10, Takano 87

Eric wrote this, with conflicting plans and the odd result that the opinion of the three team leaders outvoted the separate opinions of the three group leaders, and the consequent outcome that they were going to attempt to trap a mountain lion.

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Chapter 11, Brown 285

I was moving the music side of the Brown story forward, and wanted to build the foundation for a Dixieland band.  Sousa March trios and Dixieland standards have very similar structure, and I don’t remember much of either repertoire, but it was a start.

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Chapter 12, Cooper 4

Eric picked up the dinner.

At one point I commented that I was relying on an online translation program to give me the German for Cooper 3; Eric responded that he was also using that translation program.  We could only hope that our snippets of German are close enough for the purpose.

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

#496: Character Setbacks

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #496, on the subject of Character Setbacks.

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 twelfth and final post for this novel, covering chapters 133 through 144.  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;
  8. #491:  Verser Ventures, 85 through 96;
  9. #493:  Verser Engagements, 97 through 108;
  10. #494:  Warring Worlds, 109 through 120; and
  11. #495:  World Crises, 121 through 132.

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 133, Brown 278
Chapter 134, Kondor 253
Chapter 135, Slade 247
Chapter 136, Beam 195
Chapter 137, Brown 279
Chapter 138, Slade 248
Chapter 139, Kondor 254
Chapter 140, Brown 280
Chapter 141, Slade 249
Chapter 142, Kondor 255
Chapter 143, Slade 250
Chapter 144, Brown 281

Chapter 133, Brown 278

Eric drafted this, inventing the park and the mountains.  The description of where the park was within the mountain range was the last issue we had to clarify between the two of us during the readthrough edits.

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Chapter 134, Kondor 253

This was my idea, that the best Parakeet to develop a way for Parakeets and Little Green Men to speak with each other would be that same language professor who created the Morse Code.

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Chapter 135, Slade 247

I wrote this mostly for the opening, in which Slade is asked not to shape change during the fight.  I created the snake-like alien because I wanted an opponent who would appear to have excellent dodging abilities, so Slade could suggest banning them for the fight and so win the argument on behalf of Derek.

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Chapter 136, Beam 195

Eric had said he wanted to verse Beam out in this confrontation with Norax, so I left this chapter for him.  Then overnight Eric wrote it, outlined the remainder of the book, and drafted several other discontinuous chapters.

It was considerably later, during the readthrough edit when I had reached Beam 194, that we realized all of Beam’s party’s equipment including the food cart would be about twenty floors below, which would be about ten miles, so wherever they went from here they would have to deal with that.  No decision had been made about where they were going next, other than that they would not be in the next novel, Con Version.

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Chapter 137, Brown 279

Eric marked this as a combat between Derek and a Xoark.  It had been my idea that he should fight a four-armed opponent with three spears and some kind of ability that caused Derek’s thrown knife to miss, although it was left open whether it was a telekinetic shifting of the weapon, a warping of space, or a distortion of the visible position of the opponent.

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Chapter 138, Slade 248

Eric marked this as Slade’s final battle against a Fenex.  I insisted that Slade should reach the awards ranked #25 despite being the only undefeated contestant, and therefore he should win this contest with some difficulty.

Eric handed me a briefly-described alien and a detailed write-up of a German sword-based martial arts style that a player had created for game play, and left it to me to create a fight.  The name “Fenex” was connected to the character name used by that player, and Eric had promised to use it in a book.  It was agreed that Slade would win, but barely, and that it would be obvious that this would be the most challenging opponent he fought, but also his last fight.

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Chapter 139, Kondor 254

Eric wrote this chapter the night he drafted the outline for the rest of the book.  We had agreed that he was going to leave this world either at the end of this book or at the beginning of whatever was his next.

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Chapter 140, Brown 280

We had agreed on a confrontation with thugs in the hall outside their apartments in which Derek would be versed out.  Eric wrote this the same night he drafted the outline of the remainder of the book.

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Chapter 141, Slade 249

Eric indicated that in this chapter Slade would kill the thugs including the Anders he did not get to fight in the contest.  He left it for me to write.

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Chapter 142, Kondor 255

Eric marked this as a Kondor chapter when he created his outline, but did not indicate what would happen here.  As he was drafting it, he suddenly got an idea for a major plot twist, and since this would be the cliffhanger for the Kondor story we agreed to go with it.  There was some concern that it might echo Lauren Hasting’s story in Garden of Versers, but we decided that this would be a very different handling of a similar situation.

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Chapter 143, Slade 250

Eric had indicated that there would be an awards ceremony, and as we agreed Slade would rank #25.  I added the note that Derek would be acknowledged posthumously, along with the Anders who had threatened Slade at the party and killed Derek.

Eric had originally outlined this as the last chapter, with the last Brown chapter preceding it.  Having previously said that I wanted a short part of Derek’s new New Orleans to world end the book, I changed them.

This turned out to be the last chapter drafted, on the last day of July, 2022.

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Chapter 144, Brown 281

When we were discussing characters and worlds for the next book, Eric remembered me saying that eventually Derek would get a trumpet and go to New Orleans to meet Johnny Angel.  He put together a chapter with a “spooky New Orleans” feel, and I agreed that this would be a great idea for the new book, and that Derek would get his trumpet there, but that it was not the version of New Orleans in which he meets Johnny Angel, which would come later.  I proposed cutting what Eric wrote into a short cliffhanger and a longer chapter in the new book, and so I did that here, with a few other adjustments to cover the fact that Derek was nowhere near Vashti or their equipment when he versed out.  This was written before some of the previous chapters were started.

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This has been the twelfth and final 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.

#495: World Crises

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #495, on the subject of World Crises.

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 eleventh post for this novel, covering chapters 121 through 132.  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;
  8. #491:  Verser Ventures, 85 through 96;
  9. #493:  Verser Engagements, 97 through 108; and
  10. #494:  Warring Worlds, 109 through 120.

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 121, Beam 191
Chapter 122, Kondor 250
Chapter 123, Slade 244
Chapter 124, Beam 192
Chapter 125, Brown 276
Chapter 126, Kondor 251
Chapter 127, Slade 245
Chapter 128, Beam 193
Chapter 129, Brown 277
Chapter 130, Kondor 252
Chapter 131, Slade 246
Chapter 132, Beam 194

Chapter 121, Beam 191

Eric drafted this one, giving one major battle to the war but leaving Norax on the run somewhere aboard the ship.

We ran into a bit of confusion.  In the Empire Throne World, where Slade and Derek currently were, I had suggested that the Little Green Men–the same little green men as were on Wanderer and Seeker–were there called Chlorophytes; this was because when you have many different “races”, as science fiction writers call them, they need names to distinguish them from each other.  However, Eric started using the name in the Seeker world where Beam was, which was incongruous because a people that regards itself the only fully evolved life form would not use a distinguishing name for itself.  We don’t call ourselves “homo sapiens” in normal use; we call ourselves “people”.  This all had to be fixed in editing.

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Chapter 122, Kondor 250

I drafted this.  It did not contain the part I wanted to write, but I decided that should fit in the return trip, which would be the next chapter of that thread.  We had agreed that there would be a damaged railroad bridge, that they could patch it, and that this would lead to Kondor remembering the log bridge he crossed in Verse Three, Chapter One.  We were toying with other ideas as well.

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Chapter 123, Slade 244

Eric put this together.  The alien races were mostly his, with very little input from me, and so he periodically took opportunities to flesh them out some.

The quote “wandering through a wilderness of mirrors” appears to be from an author named David Grann in a book entitled Killers of the Flower Moon.

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Chapter 124, Beam 192

Eric drafted this.  It originally included suggestions from Bron that they tunnel into the bedrock beneath the ship, and Beam’s objections as to why that wouldn’t work, but I thought it relied on information Bron wouldn’t know at this point and cut it, replacing it with Beam’s suggestion that he should meet with the LGM officers.

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Chapter 125, Brown 276

We had agreed that Derek would work his way up in unarmed combat to somewhere between four and five hundred and then have his fourth loss; Eric created this combat to be the first loss.

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Chapter 126, Kondor 251

I had been planning to write this at least since before writing the previous Kondor chapter; we had discussed it, and liked the idea that the trestle crossing would recall the log crossing of the first novel.

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Chapter 127, Slade 245

This was my work, fast-forwarding the competition some.

It struck me that the constant fighting could be a crucible for a crisis of Slade’s Norse faith.  He believed that all things end in a great battle, but is a bit vague about whether that battle runs forever, or if not what happens after it.  Six weeks of combat four days out of five has him wondering whether he would want to be in a perpetual war.

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Chapter 128, Beam 193

I pushed myself to write this so I could get my concerns on the page.  It was a bit awkward, because Eric had been writing as if events were happening over many days, and I was of the view that the next day couldn’t come until somehow Beam’s people were given sleeping quarters and let a night pass.  There were several minor changes to chapters since the meeting with Norax to eliminate any suggestion that more than one day had passed, and since everything ran on artificial light it was easy enough to suggest that Beam’s people were still awake until they were provided with quarters.

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Chapter 129, Brown 277

Eric wrote this up to the point where the Anders grabbed Derek’s wrist and left it hanging there; I picked it up and finished the fight.  We had previously discussed having Derek win one by transforming into Morach and using the arrow, and I figured this was as good a time as any.

The Tivoci makes a cameo in this chapter, another of Eric’s minor races.

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Chapter 130, Kondor 252

Kondor’s name came to the top of the pile, so I wrote this mostly to bring him home and to introduce the complication of what to do with the alien captives.

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Chapter 131, Slade 246

I had made a note that Kelp 1942 would want to know more about the versers’ special abilities following Derek’s transformation, so I came back and wrote this chapter to cover that.

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Chapter 132, Beam 194

I drafted this, but left open the question of whether Norax would already have reached the simulator room.

At this point, we were not anticipating that Beam would not return to their assigned quarters, and obviously neither was he, because he instructed that equipment be left behind.

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This has been the eleventh and penultimate 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.

#494: Warring Worlds

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #494, on the subject of Warring 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 tenth post for this novel, covering chapters 109 through 120.  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;
  8. #491:  Verser Ventures, 85 through 96 ; and
  9. #493:  Verser Engagements, 97 through 108.

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 109, Kondor 247
Chapter 110, Slade 241
Chapter 111, Beam 188
Chapter 112, Brown 273
Chapter 113, Kondor 248
Chapter 114, Slade 242
Chapter 115, Beam 189
Chapter 116, Brown 274
Chapter 117, Slade 243
Chapter 118, Kondor 249
Chapter 119, Beam 190
Chapter 120, Brown 275

Chapter 109, Kondor 247

Our discussions suggested that this city had more survivors and thus more work, and that they had captured an alien and a ship, but both had been caught by the tsunami, with the ship visible in the shallows off shore.

I live within an hour of the southern New Jersey Atlantic shoreline, and my wife and I often walk along the Ocean City boardwalk in the evenings.  The houses edging the landward side of the boardwalk are generally rather large and cost millions of dollars.  The opening of this chapter calls these to my imagination.

While I was somewhat socially isolated the acronym “POC” arose to refer to non-whites as “Persons of Color”.  Bothered by unnecessary acronyms generally, I decided to give the designation a different meaning in Zeke’s universe, and use here it in a universe where the meaning in our world would be effectively meaningless.

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Chapter 110, Slade 241

Eric invented the Tso and gave me a rough description; I set about creating the fight.  The combination of avian features and the alien name made me think of General Tso’s Chicken, and so there were several jokes along that line in Slade’s thoughts.

The difficult part about writing a lot of combats is making them different enough to be interesting.  It was obvious that this creature could pounce, but Slade’s first opponent had leapt at him and I didn’t want to repeat that.

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Chapter 111, Beam 188

Eric raised the stakes in the propaganda battle when he created this chapter.  It was an interesting move which kept the conflict alive.

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Chapter 112, Brown 273

Eric drafted this chapter, bringing in criminal efforts to throw a fight and the detail that the verser’s apartments were rentals paid for by the Kelp.

This chapter includes a cameo appearance of a race called Vrai.

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Chapter 113, Kondor 248

I drafted this, pulling the ship out the seabed.  Having Zeke do it keeps the sidekick useful, something that sort of matters to the reader.  The decision to leave it behind was made for all the reasons given in the text and no others.

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Chapter 114, Slade 242

I wrote this.  Part of it was that we had agreed we were going to have to skip fights (top contenders probably have to fight near a hundred times before being eliminated), and I was suggesting a way to accomplish this.

The notion that alien restaurants would be as varied as human ones is an extension of my frequent suggestion that alien cultures can’t be monolithic, they just have to have elements that distinguish them from human consistently.

The idea of an alien race using something like arsenic as a spice comes from the Volturnus series of modules for Star Frontiers® from TSR.  The Ul-mor referred to a flavoring they used in their food and much of their water as “spice”, but it was actually poison.

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Chapter 115, Beam 189

I composed this, an attempt to overcome the obstacles Eric had created in relation to the combat robots.  The information about robots being all the same was established in Derek’s stay on The Wanderer.

The number 32,768 is eight to the fifth, and thus written 100,000 in base eight; it is thus a round number in their math and language.

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Chapter 116, Brown 274

This was mostly Eric’s work.  However, there was an extended section in which he had the versers order outrageous clothing from the vid screen, including custom-tailored tuxedos and ridiculous nineteenth century hoop dresses, and I objected first that it would be impossible to get those without special tailoring in this universe, there being no human clothing at all, and second that none of the characters would be at all willing to or interested in obtaining such clothing, so it was cut.

For the record, a tuxedo is a high-fashion dress suit with a vertical stripe of a silk-like material down the outseam of each leg.

A Tniap is introduced in this chapter, and they have a minor role in a few future chapters at the party.

Eric had written that there were 640 columns in the center, and explained it by saying that Chlorophytes built it, a reference I didn’t grasp until the final edit–it was intended to connect to the fact that they work in base eight.  I changed it to 512, the base eight value of the digits 1000.

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Chapter 117, Slade 243

Eric wrote nearly all of this, but left it with the mention of two green-scaled aliens doing something and a note that he wasn’t sure how to handle the middles of parties, and I finished out the chapter with the Slades exiting and the note that I didn’t do parties terribly well, either.

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Chapter 118, Kondor 249

I drafted this, originally intending only to cover that they were headed for another town and possibly the arrival, but getting sidetracked into Kondor’s realization that the charitable effort was failing because the parakeets didn’t have the kind of religion that humans had.

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Chapter 119, Beam 190

I drafted this chapter, which would simplify the battle by taking the combat robots out of the equation entirely.

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Chapter 120, Brown 275

I drafted this chapter, following up on the notion that the alien mafia was looking for Slade.

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This has been the tenth 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.

#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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chapter 105, Kondor 246

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chapter 63, Kondor 236

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chapter 71, Slade 232

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

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Chapter 72, Brown 263

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

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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.

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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.