Friday, November 4, 2016

In the Beginning...

"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”
― Douglas Adams, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"

I have just spent the better part of my Thursday overnight shift breathing life into a series bible for Project Frying Pan. If there's one thing I have learned thus far in the process, it's this: Creating a universe from scratch is a lot of hard work, even if it's been percolating in the back of your brain for over a year. The sheer act of organizing, clarifying, defining, and just plain expressing it is daunting, exhilarating, and exhausting all at the same time. I have drawn upon my favorite aspects of various authors' universes as well as some of my own unpublished writing to find interesting bits to add.

No worries! I'm not dead yet!

While I will be taking a brief rest from the Project Frying Pan creative process this weekend, it is far from over. While the series bible (Did I forget to mention Project Frying Pan is the first in a series?) stands at an ephemeral eight pages in length, there is more to come and more to develop. The Frying Pan-verse (there will be a better name for it, I promise you), is in its infancy not only in the present, but also in its past and future.

Research will continue apace as I delve into the worlds of astronomy and con artistry. Project Frying Pan may be a science fiction book, but it's still got to have some basis in reality, after all. Of course, that's just a small part of the bigger picture. Historical research as well as some further reading in the genre is needed as well, all of which I look forward to.

Another part of the process is going to be resolving how to set parameters for the development of characters, technology, and all that other fun stuff. Being a tabletop gamer, I've got what I consider a number of useful tools at my disposal for defining things. The big decision is what system (and edition) to use. No system is perfect and part of my brain is itching to pair Project Frying Pan with another ongoing project on this blog.

What's ironic is that this fits Douglas Adams' opening quote to "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" perfectly. I have no doubt that someone, somewhere is now foaming at the mouth, fingers feverishly poking at their keyboard in an effort to "educate" me on how "wrong" I am to use an RPG as a tool to define my characters and the universe they live in. In fact, that subsection of my aspiring authorial peers is doubtlessly a speck compared to the massive hipster horde pounding away at their keyboards about how whatever system I choose is wrong and how my use of tropes and aspects of other authors' universes is so "derivative" and "unimaginative".

As a writer, I readily acknowledge that there's nothing new under the sun - it's just a matter of what you do with it. That's where the real challenge lies. While I look forward to that challenge, I realize that failure is a possibility, and at the same time, it's a learning experience. No plan survives first contact with reality, let alone "the enemy". A slight change has already been made to one character and I'm sure more changes will be made to Project Frying Pan before all is said and done. The main thing to remember above all is this: "Don't panic!"

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