I’ve been reasonably hard at work polishing up From Ash over the past few days. The biggest changes that I’ve been dealing with are those that really manipulate the plot. It’s not just me adding in a paragraph here and then another one there, but really getting into the thick of things. I’ll make a reasonable change to where a character goes and I need to track down every little bit of story that snakes away from the first version, and change it to that of the second. Even weirder then that is when I have to decide on new ways, in new areas, that the changes affect what’s going on. There’s a crazy big chance that I’ll make a mistake, so it’s a bit slow going.
There have been a few things, though, that I’ve had to write down in my journals for future reference. I’ve had this happen a couple times during the writing of the Dreamstates, where I have an idea and want to use it as a tie in for something later, but not as often as I am right now. I’d always (maybe?) planned for there to be a longer sequel to From Ash. It’s only a novella, a baby novel, if you will, and I wanted to bring the main characters’ personal stories out a bit more and explore the world they live in further. There have been a good deal of things that I’ve had to make note of, so I remember it for later—but what I’ve been experiencing has been going a bit further than that, and I’ll explain why.
Now, without giving too much about the plot away, the book takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Having a sequel with the same characters is easy—their storylines continue, and small talk, or back story they reveal can become something bigger in the next book. It’s straightforward and simple. I, however, had the bright idea that I wanted to write an entire new series set in the same world that has very little to do with these characters. For all I know, it might take place long after they’re dead, and only hint at their existence through events that occurred in either From Ash or its sequel. It’s this series that I’ve been having the craziest ideas for—because it’s so detached, yet familiar. I’m not sure if that’s the best way to describe it, but, it’s how it’s coming out right now.
Small changes in From Ash, or events, places, ideologies, all of these things very well could carry over into the books in the new series. These books, in my mind, will focus more on factions and regions and governments and wars—regicide stuff that’s usually reserved for medieval and fantasy worlds. It’s like I’m planting the seeds of a universe that’ll grow on its own until I’m ready to talk about it. This is what I meant when I wrote the title of this post. These are ideas that are directly implanted into From Ash, some of which are reasonably small, but they spawn aspects of a whole new world, which will in turn create the way that characters and stories happen in books that I haven’t put more than a few hours into thinking about. Maybe it’s just the organic growth of plot and stories in a way that I haven’t really encountered them yet, but I’m greatly enjoying the process—it feels like I’m creating ten different things with every new thought I have. Makes me feel extra fancy about my writing, like I’m multitasking without even meaning to.