Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The joys of storing an entire universe in my brain...

Ye gods, it's been a busy week, and no mistake! Not only did I have to tot up all the downloads from the freebie sale (and a massive, massive thank you to everyone who took part, and supported the Cynos Union), but I've only gone and published a new book (yep, The Abominable Moon is available to buy now), I've worked with the web designer to get the official site updated, and I've had random inspiration sleeting through my brain. Oh, and the cat was wanting some fuss (on his timescale, naturally, since he's a cat).

Anyway, that bit about random inspiration got me thinking about the mechanics of writing a big ol' saga like the Cynos Union. It's a bit of an odd sensation, storing an entire universe in my brain, but I tell you what; it's kinda fun, too...

Conversations with my own frontal lobe

It still makes me chuckle that in the beginning, when I first started writing Messiah's Shard, I never had anything even vaguely like the Cynos Union planned. But then, y'see, something happened, midway through writing it: my brain, quite unbidden, went, "Hang on, why don't you use this to set the stage for a whole galactic community like in Star Trek or Babylon 5? Come on, you know you want to, you love space opera, stop being a numpty, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it, DO IT!"

Yes, I know, it's amazing how in-depth the conversations with my own brain can be...

The Grand Plan

And so, The Grand Plan was born. Messiah's Shard would herald the birth (or rebirth as it turned out, once I started to work out the backstory) of the Cynos Union. The canvas I would use for future novels would be created in that first book.

Round about then, another funny thing happened, when my brain (again, unbidden), went, "Here, hang on a minute, your first book's going to be the big, epic one, won't the rest of them seem like a bit of an anticlimax? You utter pillock, you!"

Hmm, in-depth and insulting. I sometimes think my brain might need a good slap, the cheeky little smegger. Mind you, it did have a point; Messiah's Shard was inspired by things like Stargate, and when you're chucking in lost civilisations and ancient evil from beyond the universe (not to mention defining the soul, and doing a really nasty twist on the idea of soulmates; I'm quite proud of that one, by the way), then 'epic' is going to happen, whether you want it to or not.

More than a canvas

Clearly it wasn't going to be enough to just think of the Cynos Union as a canvas. No, it had to be a story, a vast story spanning multiple books, and the key to it all was this: Messiah's Shard may have been the beginning of John Harley's story, but it didn't have to be the end. The central question was this: how could the seeds I planted in that first book play out into the future saga?

Well, now, it's time to let you in a little bit on The Grand Plan, and the important point can be summed up thusly: everything you're reading now (in Messiah's Shard, The Non-Random Dog and The Abominable Moon) will play into the larger story arc. You might not have worked out the connections just yet, but the larger story arc has begun.

As of Messiah's Shard, Ragnarok is no longer a threat, but the consequences of the Abyssal War have only just begun to play out. And the stakes in this larger story? Why, it's simple: the complete eradication of all reality.

Still, no pressure, eh?

Make yourself useful, brain 

So, thank you, oh disruptive and insulting brain of mine, 'cos when you're right, you're right; doing it this way is so much more fun than writing a standalone novel or five. Of course, it does sometimes get a bit crowded in there, since I'm trying to store an entire universe in my brain (plus in Word documents and, oooooooh, many spreadsheets), but I wouldn't have it any other way.

The Cynos Union universe is ready; I reckon it's time to start royally putting it through the wringer...

The ever-expanding and growing Cynos Union Series is available to buy now! Subscribe for more news from the world (and brain) of Mark W. Bonnett!

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