Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), the superhero novels Nobody Gets the Girl and Burn Baby Burn, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collection, There is No Wheel. In 2017, I'll be releasing a new superhero series, The Butterfly Cage. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public.




Thursday, May 15, 2014

Choosing What Novel to Write Next: Part Two

I've no shortage of ideas on what to write next. These ideas fall into three broad categories:

Today I'll look at novels I could write, but probably won't, at least not soon:

Frankenstein's Daughters: The Frankenstein monster has been busy since last seen in the eponymous novel. With his unique biology able to regenerate him from any injury, the monster is effectively immortal, and even today lurks in the shadows of civilization. Always torn between his hatred of humanity and his desire for companionship, the Big F has taken human wives over the centuries. As a consequence, he's had many offspring. His sons are always monsters, both mentally and physically, hideous creatures with violent natures. But, his daughters look completely normal, and pass for ordinary humans, though they share many of their father's attributes of physical strength and toughness and his mental attributes of genius and an nearly inexhaustible well of hatred for mankind. The daughters are protective of their father and male siblings, and during the centuries they've worked themselves into positions of great influence in order to advance their father's long term plan to wipe humanity from the earth and replace it with a race of his own kind.

But, there is a secret society who knows the truth about the Monster's schemes and has worked together to oppose them. The novel would explore the life of the Monster's youngest daughter as she matches wits with the secret society's newest monster hunter.

Pros: One of my more commercial ideas. Built in audience familiar with Frankenstein lore, would be told either as a modern urban fantasy, or set earlier and told as a Gothic steampunk novel.

Cons: My indecision on the setting is a bad sign that this novel hasn't matured to readiness yet. Ideally, setting, character, and plot are all bound together so tightly you can't have one without the others. Also, I hardly ever read urban fantasy or steam punk, so perhaps I shouldn't barge into these genre's expecting great results. On the other hand, lack of actual knowledge on a subject has never held me back before!

The real reason I probably won't write this novel any time soon is that it sounds very much like the premise of any number of novels you could already pick up in the fantasy section of a bookstore. And, yes, that means I would have a real shot of pitching it to a publisher. I just feel like I need a more challenging subject, something that sounds dumb as hell when people hear about it, then turns out to be brilliant. You know, like the rest of my books! (Ahem.)

Orthogonal: A man is confronted in his living room by a gun-wielding stranger who looks just like him. The stranger asks a lot of questions about key events in his life, looking pleased with some answers, dismayed with others. There's a struggle, the stranger is shot, and while examining his body the man discovers what looks like a smart phone. He tries to turn it on to see if he can identify the stranger, and instead triggers a dimensional warp that places him in an alternative universe where his life has gone horribly awry. The stranger was him from this dimension, in this life a physicist, a subject he'd been fascinated by, but didn't pursue at his father's urging to study law. The physicist version of himself has built a device to hop between alternate universes looking for a life better than the one he's ruined, with the intention of killing that universe's copy of himself and taking over his life. Now, our hero has to return home, but it's no easy task when there are an infinite number of alternate worlds to investigate. In his journey across dimensions, he discovers many possible ways the events in his life could have flowed differently, and is forced to grapple with the question of whether anything in his life has meaning if every possible version of himself exists.

Pros: I really want to write a serious science fiction novel. I think there's a lot of artistic potential in this topic.
Cons: I'm still iffy on far too many details to feel ready to write this. Also, I don't know that I yet have an answer to the big philosophical question. What if every possibility is true somewhere? If every good thing you've ever done is negated in the multiverse by an equal number of evil things? How would you find meaning, other than just shrugging and focusing on what's in front of you and pretending you don't know about all the other yous? When I feel like I have an answer, I'll feel like I have a novel.

Next entry: Novels I'll almost certainly write, but not yet due to practical considerations.

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