Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Like a lot of people who enjoy writing, I have a collection of fragments, stories that ran out of juice before they reached the end.  This year for NaNoWriMo, I'll be mining background material from a couple of them.  The Warp Weaver's Legacy is going to be one of my primary sources of recycled ideas.

Riding high on the wave of satisfaction after completing NaNoWriMo 2008, I decided to try to bust out another novel as fast as I could, an homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip Jose Farmer.  The first attempt was The Rusted Tower, which crapped out after ten pages when I reallized that the book I really wanted to write was the second book in the projected series.  I tore down The Rusted Tower and started again. 

The Warp Weaver's Legacy flowed fairly smoothly.  John Danner was plucked from his world by a red-headed trickster and thrust into a war spanning multiple planets.  The problem this time was that I lacked focus.  Why have a network of wormholes AND faster than light travel?  After a soft reboot, I started again.

The second draft of WWL had different problems than the first.  While I loved describing the planets and aliens, there was no sense of urgency and I had the sneaking suspicion that I was merely rewriting Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tiers series.  I put it back on the shelf.  Three months of writing down the tubes.

Only the worlds I created didn't die.  They mutated, coallescing with other ideas I had around the same time.  I kept the world-making machine at the center of the universe and some of the aliens and eventually came up with Wandering the Web of Worlds, something I feel a lot more ownership for.  Philip Jose Farmer never had Nal-Sakaar, the city on the back of a miles wide spider, or a small universe of black orbs resembling Dyson Spheres, linked by the webbing of colossal spiders with glowing abdomens who wander the web of worlds in search of prey.  I love the idea of a decadent culture that turns to conquest out of boredom, another idea I came up with for Warp Weaver that I'll be reusing.

Another thing that I'll likely be working in is this:

I love the image of an Olmec head one hundred feet high and covered with vines or seaweed someplace.  In Warp Weaver, it was in the middle of a grassy plain and choked with vines.  In last year's NaNoWriMo novel, Sailors on the Sea of Dead Gods, it was the head of a petrified god corpse barely peeking above the black waters surrounding Thanadeios, and I'll probably work it into Wandering the Web of Worlds this year, most likely as an asteroid trapped in the web.

In other news, I can't even tell I did leaves for the better part of Sunday afternoon.  Looks like another dirt mustache might be in my future.


  1. dude, i LOVE that you have a giant head in your novels. That's so awesome! it makes me want to develop a little hidden gem to stick into my novels

  2. Thanks. Ruins or statues overtaken by nature are fascinating to me. I think the actual head statue I'm using is only 20 feet tall in real life.

    Nods to past writings are like easter eggs that only you are aware of. Kinda cool.

  3. When I write my crime novel, someone's going to have an Olmec head paper weight or coffee mug.

  4. that is genius!!
    now i totes need to come up with an easter egg. I'm going to have to think on it