Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Brainstorm session.

This week's post is less fluff and more brainstorm, so if you're not interested in reading my thoughts, feel free to write this one off as tl;dr. The first part is my observations and concerns with the current story. Then I wax chatty about ideas I might like to implement. With that disclaimer out of the way, more after the snip.

I'm currently working on part ten in my ongoing series (and magnum opus), Entombed. A few things I've been noticing might end up being areas of worry for me. First of all, I'm not sure I like the current structure of "three chapters fight, two chapters plot, three chapters fight, two chapters plot." I'd like to find some way to integrate fighting and plot a little more effectively. Partly, that should happen organically when the fighting stops being skirmish-level and starts being a full-fledged war, but it's something I'm keeping an eye on. I'm also a little worried that I'm going to start overusing certain words or phrases because, really, there aren't that many different ways to say "he shot plasma and something died." On the flip side of that, I don't want to start saying too many goofy things just because I'm so focused on "don't repeat yourself too much," because that's always a danger. I also need to keep an eye out to make sure that keep reinforcing that, yes, Vercingetorix is kind of an invincible death machine on the outside, but on the inside he's a wheezy, crippled chunk of mangled flesh tethered to machines and viewing the world through the creepy, fish-eye-lens artificial senses of his sarcophagus. So that's some of the stuff I'm concerned about as an author.

Another thing I'm thinking about is the potential merit of expanding this story to include a couple other points of view because, to be honest, I feel like the dreadnought part is starting to get a bit stagnant. Besides which, I have at least three other cool threads of plot that I could be following (sneaky scouts, Crusade-Captain Aleksos, and the battle for space supremacy) and I feel like I'm sort of neglecting a lot of opportunities to explore space marines in new and interesting ways. The scouts would provide some perspective on neophytes in various stages of transformation into full-fledged battle-brothers, plus add some opportunities for tension that do not involve "when are the Tau going to show up and start shooting again?" Crusade-Captain Aleksos is running an armoured battlegroup, and let's face it: tanks are freakin' cool. On top of that, he's the ruthless, headstrong bastard to counter Vercingetorix's more measured, diplomatic approach. He's got the Terminator thing going, and if Dreadnoughts are my #1 favorite thing about Space Marines, then Termies are #2 (heh heh... number two...).

The Scouts chapters (if I decide to do them) would start shortly after Chapter IV of Vercingetorix's segments. It would start with a few of them getting picked, then detail their journey through contested, then enemy-held, territory. They would have to find transport, try not to get spotted, and maybe blow up various enemy doobers along the way. If I include a Scout portion, it would also let me mess around with the Kroot, since one good stealth force deserves another.

The armoured column segment, featuring Crusade-Captain Aleksos, would also include a couple of the other HQ types (Xaphanes the Librarian, for example), some fast Predators, a Land Raider or two. Land Raiders are, of course, the Space Marine vehicle best known for machine spirit shenanigans. And I have discovered I really like writing voices for machine spirits of varying intellect and temperament. An armored column also explores aspects of Astartes warfare that aren't seen that often (since it's usually about hulking supermen doing amazing things, and an armored assault tends to level the playing field a bit, making the hulking superman part of hulking supermen less of an advantage).

I've also been toying with a few other ideas, so look for more short story type stuff in the not-so-distant future.

1 comment:

  1. Now I've restarted reading these, some belated and likely now-irrelevant thoughts:

    First, regarding Vercingetorix's story seeming stagnant, I would refer you to the Single Female Lawyer episode of Futurama, in which Fry writes an episode of the show, but only writes a couple minutes of it because "it took a half hour to write, I thought it'd take a half hour to read." At this point, this story has yet to feel stagnant...it may seem stagnant to you because you spend more time thinking about it and writing it than I (or any reader) spent reading it.

    Second, those other storylines also sound really cool.

    Third, I find your machine spirit characters to be the most unique and enjoyable characters in 40k fiction (not that I've read a lot of it...). The interactions between characters and the machine spirits offer opportunities for misunderstandings, which are a major engine of story progression in 40k (not to mention classic sources of hilarity), especially on the tabletop when you and most of your opponents play Imperium. :P