Monday, May 8, 2017

About: MAKING THE HORIZON


"When's it coming out?!"

Well, that's the rub.

I'm not one to believe in designing covers for books that may very well never exist, or advertising for something without an end date. I drew the above image on a whim, thinking I wanted something visual to associate with my discussions about this pet project of mine. This cover, like everything else in this project, was done predominantly for my enjoyment; what started as a simple symbol ran away with me. But I have to say, this cover, though the names may change, the art may be replaced, did successfully make the project feel more real.

"What is the project, my deal little staller?"

Making the Horizon is a manuscript, The Sandbysk Novels a series set in the same world. It is my baby on the side, and I plan to tell you about it often.

It is dangerous to talk too much about works in progress, especially when there is no guarantee about it being available to the public. Amanda Hocking once described in her blog the way that readers responded so sadly and enthusiastically when she would mention a work that never came to fruition.

I try not to mention something I’ll never finish, even in my personal life. I only really talk about things if I consider them more likely. Making the Horizon is not likely. It is a huge undertaking, I have been slowly working on any writing for the last few years, struggling to finish first drafts here and there. Writing novels has been hard period, and Making the Horizon is the first of many books. This means it’s less likely to be completed. It means that it is less likely to sell to a publisher. All in, all, it’s just less likely.

On the other hand, I write these blogs in the way I’d like to read them; I want to hear about writers’ processes. I want to read more about the books they made and how decisions came into being. Not only that, but reading these things makes me more interested in buying them, ultimately.

Making the Horizon is the first novel of what I’m currently calling a compendium series. The ‘series’ features books set in the same world, exploring the effects of one story to the next. The characters and plots are different, the setting evolving over time. I want as little interaction between the protagonists and possible, most stories being several generations apart. Yet you get to learn about the history of the world, see castles built, thrive, and destroyed, and watch how the world has grown after the gods have disappeared. In the same vein as my Stories of the Wyrd, I hope that the novels can be read out of order, references to the past only being delightful coloring.

The first book is an origin of the gods and Sandbysk itself. It starts with nothing and leaves the foundations for myths and legends that the people will talk about, and change, over the history.

The idea for Making the Horizon (The current title) came in several doses. One was when I read a graphic novel, a manga, in which a story of two ancient lovers was told in passing. I wanted to see what had actually transpired between them, how the myth had changed over the years, and meet the ‘real’ people behind it. That image was the seeding for the Goddess Havana and the God of Protection.

I listened to the song “We Found Love” by Rhianna and the titular lyric, “We found love in a hopeless place,” inspired an image of two people walking in a desolate wasteland, isolated, trapped, but with each other. This inspired the first visual of the book in which The Muse and The Hunter first find themselves dropped into the sandbox.

I also played Minecraft quite a bit at the time, and liked the idea of having to start over from scratch, to reset your life and to create and change a world to suit you, working from nothing to something.

I started the story, writing the second chapter after Rose, The Muse, has been stolen swiftly from the streets of New York (long before I ever actually lived there), but I stopped at around 10,000 words. The first scene in which Rose was taken was a beginning written long before, a book that never became anything. I had thought it would be about an alien species who destroyed the Earth in a Noah's flood sort of way, taking some of the most skilled of humans to start a new civilization, but became uninspired shortly after. Later I continued it with Horizon in mind, but again didn't get far, for various reasons. Partially, I hadn’t developed the plot well enough yet and I didn’t like the way they met the man who would later become the God of Risk.

Four years passed until I started getting through Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and all the author’s other series, and found myself adoring the potential of writing several books in the same world featuring different characters. I was also getting back into the web comic, Girl Genius, and yearned to see all the different stories about the world’s history, especially the heroic tales of the protagonist’s father and uncle, the Heterodyne Boys. Wouldn’t it be great to have been there for the birth of the castle? To know the real story behind the gossip? To be able to see these things for yourself?

After getting back from Australia last year, the first thing I did was get to Universal Studios to get to the Harry Potter exhibit that wasn’t ready when I left America (potentially for the last time). I found myself obsessive and mesmerized with the iconic images. Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and all the things that come along with it? Beautiful, grounded. I knew that I wanted world building to be improved in my works, to be more impactful, more thorough. But how do you do that?

So, I had been toying with the idea of Making the Horizon for several years, but put it off because I didn’t want to commit to something that big with that low chance of being readable to the public. Horizon could, potentially, be a standalone, but the idea works best with having many stories together. It’s pretty much the point.

Yet when looking at my writing and what I wanted to do differently, the fact that the slow and sporadic way I had been working through the last few years sucking some of the immersion I had in my own work, I decided, why not go for it? Why not, at the very least, start planning? Write what you want to write, I think, and I want to write something like this.

I’m trying some new things with this compendium. I’m drawing more to get some stronger visuals in my mind. I’m outlining and planning to help make for a crisper plot. I’m developing the world as I go, and the nature of this book makes it easier to recognize what I don’t know, have reasons behind strange cultural choices.

Over the next few months I’m plan to be posting about the gods as they come—how they were developed, the questions I have about them—and hopefully, through that, you and I both can maintain the excitement I feel right now.



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