johnstonmr: (Default)
I want to write my fracking book.

Thing is... I just run into block after block after block. And it's not just writer's block. Often it's what I like to call "You Have A Life Block."

I mean, if I was independently wealthy, or had sold enough books and rights-to-movies to afford to not work, I'd make myself an office and work all day on the writing. But no, I have to go teach a bunch of teenagers. And anyone who thinks that teachers have lots of time to write, clearly doesn't know much about teaching.

Add in a family that includes a tiny baby, and there's not much time. And yeah, I could write instead of playing Fable 2, sure, but then I've just sat and stared at my computer trying to figure out how Teren (or whatever less-silly name I've given him by now) is going to get out of the latest mess he's in. Because the truth is, I'm not sure that I really can write fiction, at least not of the storytelling kind.

I'm starting to wonder (again) if maybe I ought to be writing RPG flavor-text instead of novels or even short stories. World-building is fun, and not that hard for me. I have something like five alternate Earths in my head, plus T'lar and many of the other member worlds of the T'lari Alliance. I have three superhero worlds, two science fiction universes, and a couple of fantasy worlds in there. Ask me sometime about the Blasted Lands (cliche name, I know, but it fits the genre), or the lost Askaldi Empire and the artifacts they left behind. Ask me about Shy Yen Mountain, and the secret buried there that not even the inquisitive peoples of the Red Nation have uncovered yet. Ask me about the Singers of Te'zan.

But... ask me if I can write the Alex/Maggie stories, and the answer is "Probably not, because without even having read the novels until long after inventing Alex, I tread the same ground that Jim Butcher does. The points of similarity between the Dresden Files and the Alex stories could get me sued, even though I came to that character (along with my co-creator, [ profile] mslulu) totally independently and only discovered the issue later.

Take "Pathfinder," which is either a stand-alone novel or part one of the "The War for Earth" trilogy, depending on the day, my mood, and my faith in my storytelling:

Ask me if I can make Pathfinder make sense anymore; the backstory is so messed up I think it's hopeless. Was Earth lost due to an alien invasion, a catastrophic accident, or what? The original story was that a colony had been settled, and due to a series of mishaps, had lost contact with Earth; the routes through Jumpspace were destabilized or lost and nobody had been there for centuries; the protagonist was one of many who seek to make their fortunes by exploring jump points and trying to find Earth and/or other worlds that will be profitable trade routes. Along the way he was to get caught up in something bigger--but I never could make it gel.

Then I changed it so that Earth was the victim of a cosmic con-job: conquered in the early 21st century, their history overwritten so that they think that they were saved by the aliens (whose name escapes me) and are working off a sort of indentured servitude. The protagonist finds out the truth and begins working on telling others and building a resistance to get out from under the heel of the nasties.

Then it got muddled even further, so that the world was settled by refugees from a conquered world, who rewrote their own history to hide that they were in fact colonists/refugees; the protagonist discovers this and builds a coalition to take back the actual homeworld. A friend poked some holes in that version, and I tend to think he was right.



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