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A Bridge To The Quiet Planet was my return to fiction. It exists because someone said writing genre fiction is worth doing, and I said, “I should do that.”
The author in question was Magen Cubed, best known for her Southern Gothic Series. Her story is about a monster-hunting modern himbo cowboy and his neurotic vampire boyfriend. Their misadventures include wild romantic hookups, monster politics, and a chihuahua. Honestly, Netflix should option this even if they may need some “fade to black” when things get steamy.
She wrote her thing, and her Twitter statements on the way genre fiction is open made me think about my writing. I hadn’t done fiction in years, and I suddenly had the urge to return.
I have written about worldbuilding for ages – it’s been a specialty of mine since my teen days. I’m fascinated by good setting construction, and it was a vital part of my previous fiction work. Even a decade-or-so break from writing fiction wasn’t a break from worldbuilding – I was the guy to bounce ideas off of, read beta editions, and so on.
But oh, her Tweets about why you should write fiction reminded me of how I missed bringing a world to write.
Then it began. Ideas began to come to me . . .
. . . I loved anime and video games, and specifically the techno-fantasy worlds where science and sorcery existed . . .
. . . but those worlds often never extrapolated on what this meant. Sir Terry Pratchett and Dave Barry came to mind, ideas to explore this world of gods and computers more closely . . .
. . . a pair of heroines began to evolve, one a kind of Hermionie (Marigold), and Mei Hatsume of MHA (Scintilla) . . .
. . . they lived in a world scarred by a massive war, as many fantasy novels have so many ruins they are post-apocalyptic . . .
. . . and the world valued stability, and that meant I threw in the schemes renegade god to screw things up . . .
And there we had my return to fiction. A Bridge To The Quiet Planet was a road trip where a bunch of modern fantasy tropes traveled to a planet-side graveyard for gods. I won’t spoil.
Thus I had a novel, my first in ages.
Overall I’m pleased with it. It’s a road trip story, mainly to have fun traveling through the setting and the implications of what one reader called “a typical fantasy world in the space age.” Though I would do parts of it differently, there are also elements I’m very proud of.
There’s also a sequel in the works – A School of Many Futures. I play with several tropes there (The Big Book Of Plot Secrets, Magical School Adventures) and go for a more complex mystery ala “Knives Out.” It’s harder to write than the first because I’m pushing myself to make a more complex, richer story.
The novel awakened my fiction-writing urges, so I decided to write at least three books in any setting. The truth is, I know I’ll be writing fiction for awhile – maybe the rest of my life.
All because of the right Tweet at the right time.