Today marks the 52nd day straight that I’ve written something. These last few days I’ve been barely scraping by, but that’s mainly because, with Xenoworld done, along with the final form of my Wasteland prequel, for the first time since 2014 I really have no project I’m working on. So, I’m counting this blog post as my writing goal for the day.
Starting to work on something new is tough for me. For the first time in years, I’ll be developing an entirely new world with entirely new characters, with a different premise. While I have snippets and ideas, I feel like I have no grand, overarching theme to tie everything there. I feel like the ideas I’m coming up with, while workable, don’t really have that wow factor that grabs me. There are so many potential directions to go that I’m not sure which one is right.
In a way, I feel like I’m back in the beginning of 2012, where I still hadn’t thought of Wasteland Chronicles, Ragnarok, the xenovirus, the Elekai or the Radaskim, none of the things I’ve been writing about for the past seven years. I knew back then I wanted to write books, but I didn’t know what about.
Then, one day, I asked a question: “What if an asteroid were to strike Earth, end the world, and that asteroid had actually been launched at us by an alien intelligence to terraform our planet with a virus?”
Wasteland Chronicles developed from there, and Xenoworld Saga arose from another what if question:
“What if, centuries after Wasteland Chronicles, people forgot about the events of the war, to the point where they falsely remembered human heroes as gods? What if the Radaskim weren’t done with us yet, and what if Anna foresaw humanity’s forgetfulness and used the Xenofold to return to Earth and prepare us for the inevitable invasion? What if she forgot her identity in the process? What if humanity inadvertently weakened the Xenofold, making victory none too likely against an apparently unstoppable foe?
So far, I have no “what if” question that could be the spark of a new epic. I’ve been wringing my hands for the past couple of weeks, poring over old writings from as far back as 2013 for inspiration. One of the things I found was the first 30,000 words of a fantasy series, which in equal measures felt inspired and completely laughable. When I wasn’t doing that, I’ve spent time world-building (or rather, galaxy-building) a new sci-fi series set in space a few centuries down the road. Some of the ideas I’m workshopping are the conquest of Earth by an alien race, a huge spaceborne monster that devours entire planets, as well as dozens of different planets that might be featured in the series.
For all that, I have no characters, and no real story. It’s great to have the setting and the backdrop against which a story can play out, but without characters and their drama, all that won’t matter.
So far, though, while all the things I’m coming up with sound great on paper, none of them are really grabbing me and keeping me up at night, making me ask more and more questions. Maybe that will come in time, though. It could also be that this idea isn’t the right one.
The truth is, not knowing what’s next is a bit scary. These things take time, but being in the middle of the creation process of something new can be frustrating, because I just want the ideas to come all at once. Creating an entirely fictional universe can be pretty daunting, but then again, that’s probably the most fun part of writing for me, so I want to take the time to make sure it’s done right.
I’ll probably continue building up the space idea and seeing if lightning strikes. A few weeks ago, it felt like I had a thousand ideas of what I might do next. Now that I’m here, though, I’m finding that maybe having a thousand ideas isn’t a super great thing, because it’s hard to know which one is right. Writer problems, I guess.
In other news, the final book of Xenoworld is pending. It should be out this month. My Wasteland prequel is mostly done, and will probably be going into edits this month, or next month, as well. If luck holds, that one will be out in December. The title I’m thinking of is Lost Angel: A Wasteland Chronicles Prequel. Kind of wordy, but it gets the message about. As the title might suggest, it’s about Makara before the events of Wasteland Chronicles.