Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Damn those forking plots

Early in 2004 I dreamt up a plot for Hal Spacejock 4 involving a large amount of money left to Clunk in a will. (Hence the provisional title - Hal Spacejock Legacy)

The idea was that he'd have to go to great lengths to prove who he was, which would also introduce readers to his forgotten past. There would also be a family who'd inherit if Clunk failed to prove his claim, making them a decent antagonist for the book.

I managed to write about 16,000 words, but unfortunately for Hal 4 (and not for me!) Fremantle Arts Centre Press took on the first three books in the series soon afterwards and all new work ceased while I prepared those for publication.

Despite that, in November last year I participated in Nanowrimo and wrote 50,000 words of 'Hal 4' during the month. I introduced a sub-plot, where Hal and Clunk are hired to transport a concept artist's works across three luxury planets. Clunk is awed by the artist and entranced by his exhibition, and won't hear a bad word against him. Hal is ... Hal, and he thinks art is something you stick on the wall to cover up the stains.

Anyway, the idea grew into a whole series of funny scenes, and there's also a pair of Peace Force officers chasing the criminals responsible for ... but no, that's giving away too much. Suffice it to say I was really getting into a sendup of the whole arty scene.

Then, in December, I stopped work again to rewrite Hal 3.

This morning I glanced over my Hal 4 project in yWriter, and soon realised I had two books in one. (There's a good reason writers should take a rest from their projects. You get a wider view.) I just spent an hour splitting the two plots apart, moving the artist and the Peace Force officers into one book, and the legacy and Clunk's secret past into the other.

My question is, which sounds more intriguing, and which would you rather read first?

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Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


Gabriele C. said...

Lol, tell me. I started with the idea of a Roman officer at the Hadrian's Wall shortly before the Romans left Britain for good. He got captured by a tribal chief of the Eochaidh Riata. I did one of my freewriting scenes and it turned out the chief spoke a pretty good Latin. I wondered why, and he told me his life...

Now that chief, Ciaran vic Cairpre, features as MC of The Charioteer whose adventures lead him to Rome and back to Scotland, the Roman officer got transported to the German Rhine border, and somehow the Visigoths sneaked in as well since they were busy besieging Rome while Ciaran was there, and I got three books.

Gabriele C. said...

Oh, and to answer your question: I think the artist plot sounds like some good fun.

James said...

I was going to say Clunk's past could be a hoot.

Simon Haynes said...

Neat - a disagreement on my blog. Now to fan it into a flame war ;-)

rip8fan1@verizon.net said...

Clunk's past sounds intriguing to me, and it might help us understand his entrancement with the artist's work. If it does, then I think that should be read/written first.