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Jan 23, 2009

Projects, Premise and Status of

I often refer to my projects, which don't have set titles, because they haven't been named formally yet. Here they are, including my temporary titles or nicknames:

FANTASY

1. Dindi

Aliases: "The Initiate", "The Corn Maiden", "The Rainbow Dancer", "The Windwheel and the Maze."

Premise: In order to become a magic dancer, a young woman bargains with faeries to solve a riddle which holds the key to saving the rainbow faeries from extinction.

Status: Originally one 200,000 word book, now broken up into a 7 book series. Book One complete (except for revisions), parts of other books, including series conclusion, also already written, with the expectation of some revision.

Inspiration: I used to belong to a dance team, but because I wore a back brace for scoliosis, I was never allowed to perform. Instead, I was only allowed to put the props on the stage for the dancers, and leave when the dance began. Naturally, I fantasized about becoming the star of the show, the best dancer of all. I put my heroine in the same situation -- she is not allowed to dance because she has no magic -- and granted her my own wish, to discover her magic and become the best dancer in the whole world. So there! (Thumbs nose)

Then, having given her so much, I had to make her problems equal to her gifts.

I found the perfect foil in an ancient and little known Polynesian legend about battling Death itself.

Quirky Things I Love About It: Dancing, rainbows, the good boy/bad boy love triangle with the predicatable but ever-delicious twist. I started this story with the intention of making it full of sweetness and light and color -- the very opposite of the kind of cynical, dark fantasy and anti-heroes now so popular. I wanted pixies and rainbows!

Somehow it ended up being about genocide, torture and death, with a dark hero. It does still have pixies and rainbows. And humor, I hope.



2. Palem

Aliases: "The Games of Dragon Island", "The Champion of Demaitria", "The Avatars of the Archons".

Premise: Every hundred years, two rival maritime nations send their champions to fight in an arena to determine which nation will rule for the next century. Palem and Jaxel meet when they are still young, never realizing they are fated to face one another as enemies in the arena.

Status: Intended to be a 5-book series. Unlike my other series, however, the storyline is not completely blocked out for all five books. I have only a vague idea of the ending and an even vaguer idea of the middle.

I wrote the first 800 page draft of this behometh just out of High School. This was going to be my Big Fantasy Epic. I mailed the full doorstop of a mss directly to publishers with the worst, most amateur query letters (I included a drawing of my characters) and a spelling error on page one. Dear God. (Smacks head.) After it came back with a polite rejection, I set it aside and didn't look at it for another ten years.

Finally, I took a look at it recently. The writing sucked. 3-page infodumps about floor mosaics alternated with white room scenes, PoV head-hopped all over the place, a lot of other rube mistakes. But I found I still loved the characters and the plot had a lot of tension and action.

I first wondered if merely tightening the writing could cut the 400,000 words to 100,000, but that proved unreasonable. So I split this book, as I had split Dindi. For NaNoWriMo, I completely re-wrote the first section of a new Book One.

Inspiration: The Marriage of the Sun and Moon, an ancient symbol of uniting opposites; Tibetian and Indian mythology; Kung Fu movies.

Quirky Things I Love About It: It's like Romeo and Juliette if they had become magic weilding gladiotors and tried to kill each other instead of themselves.



SCIENCE FICTION

3. Haplad
Aliases: No aliases, I've always had in mind the same names. It's a trilogy: Monad, Haplad, Polyad.

Premise: A sf trilogy set millions of years into the future, which explores the evolution of the human race over immense distances of time and space.

Status: I have the theme and premise, but haven't found the perfect characters to make the stories personal. Part of the problem is that the stories, as I originally conceived them, take place millions of years apart. I have about a hundred different "Chapter One"s for this, none quite right.

Inspiration: Microbiology. Specifically, one day I was reading an awesome book called "Animals Without Backbones." It inspired this story. Really. I am a science geek and I especially love biology. I whiddle away long hours speculating about the evolution of the human race. One thing that depressed me was the thought that we would almost certainly go extinct within a few more million years. Most species only have a lifespan of 10 million years or so.

There are, however, some species, or at least taxa, with much longer lifespans. Ants have been around for 80 million years. Coral reefs for much longer. Could humans achieve such longevity? And if we did, would human kinds would we find in 80 million years?

Quirky Things I Love About It: I set aside all the usual toys of sf -- FLT, wormholes, aliens, AI, timetravel, even artificial gravity. In this future, none of that works out. Just to travel to another solar system will take us hundreds, thousands of years. All I allowed for was Time itself, and human survival into that far future, with the attendent slow workings of natural selection. This is very much an Idea story, which is probably why I think about it often, and fondly, but haven't gotten anywhere with it yet.


4. Xenophile
Premise: A story about a band of humans who make their living by changing their physical form into alien bodies in order to infiltrate alien societies and learn and/or steal from them. This has a lot more space opera than my other sf projects.

Status: I have a number of short stories written, but they aren't very short. I may give up on making them shorts and just go with my strength and combine them into a novel. This could easily be an open-ended series of stand-alone novels.

Inspiration: It's always struck me that most aliens in sf stories are more similiar to humans than Great Danes are to Poodles. And then there are the truly alien aliens crafted by a few masters of sf. Those are awesome, and I wanted my aliens to be a strange, and yet scientifically thought out as possible.

Every Xenophile story features an alien species. These aren't your usual Federation aliens -- basically humans with funny heads. These aliens, to the frustration of the humans, remain elusive and incomprehensible -- most don't have language in the sense we understand it, or religion or culture or other things we take for granted. The humans have to actually become alien themselves to try to understand them -- at the risk of losing their own humanity.

Quirky Things I Love About It: I am a Xenophile. I love designing the alien species and trying to wrap my mind around a completley alien way of sensing, feeling, thinking.



5. Quarklings
Aliases: A Thousand Blossoms With the Day

Premise: A story which speculates about lifeforms made from exotic free quarks in the first 3 seconds of the Big Bang, alternating with human scientists who find their frozen microscopic "spaceship" in a particle accelerator. I'm also playing with the idea of throwing Omar Khayyam, author of the famous Rubiyat, in the mix. (I have an unhealthy facination with medieval Iran.) This would make it another story with three story lines.

Status: I have one strand of the book already written, from the PoV of the Quarklings themselves. It was originally meant to be a stand alone story. It's about 7,000 words, with a great deal of info dumping, necessary to understand what's going on, but awkward. I think if I added humans, they could provide the info in a more easily digestable format, and the Quarklings could be enjoyed in smaller doeses, sprinkled throughout the book.

This is the only one of my projects which could never become a series. It stands alone.

Inspiration: I wanted to write about aliens, really cool, totally different aliens, as different from humans as I could imagine. This is another Idea story. What if aliens aren't separated from us by space alone, but by eons and energy levels?

Quirky Things I Love About It: I combined the Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam, the medieval cult of the original Assassins and a sub-particle love story. C'mon, that's just cool.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have a strange mind! But I love it!

Tara Maya said...

I do have a strange mind.

It's inherited.