One of the questions I’ve heard this month has been Do you plan on doing the same thing next year? Then I ask, Wait, what do you mean? and then hear in response – or read it, sometimes – The story thing and then I reflect on what I actually did.
See, the original intention for this year was based out of a huge page of short story ideas I had written in my little moleskin notebook (oo fancy) that I wanted to expand out into a greater set of works. There wasn’t, at first, a clear, coherent story that I was working on – just some basic concepts I wanted to examine, in the same universe. I had no clear plan for most of the characters, what I wanted them to overcome or how I wanted them to change. I didn’t even have the Prince of a Thousand Eyes clearly concepted.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that The Sixth Age of Sand is an unstructured mess. Did you remember that Innogen was blonde? Because I didn’t. I thought she was brunette. Did you notice the point where Angus became black? I remembered that I wanted the cast to be more diverse, but still don’t know when I made that decision. Are the Bible stories really that meaningful? Probably not, but there are enough slivers of them in the main story that I can’t extract them easily. Did Enk really improve as a person? Did Barbara?
Heck, originally, I conceived that Susan (remember her?) was going to show up and show how the soul was a communal concept. For some reason, though, this year made me very unhappy with the idea of bringing back the dead in the form of memory-based ghosts. Go fucking figure.
Oh, and swearing! When did I decide the story should have no swearing in it? I don’t remember, but it happened after Innogen introduced herself with a swear word in her first line of dialogue!
Anyway, The Sixth Age of Sand is a sort of slow-release, extremely awkward story without much coherent planning behind it. That’s fine, and if you’ve enjoyed it so far, I’m very happy to hear it! What I’ve been thinking about this month, then, is what I will do next year.
At any given point in time I assume there are maybe four of you out there, and it’s very lovely of you to be here. Of those four, I’m relatively sure you’ve all read Immortal Engine, my Nanowrimo novel. That’s set in a patchwork world, somewhere between Dieselpunk and Steampunk, with guns and industrial revolutions, but also dinosaurs and strange, deep things that live in the black water. There’s magic in that world, and there are great cities. It is a place for kingdoms and revolutions, wars and heroes – and it’s where next year’s story is set.
If you enjoyed 2013’s serial, The Sixth Age of Sand, I hope you’ll give next year’s excursion, One Stone a try.