08 April 2011

Messing with Muses

Over the years I've written over a dozen novels, but started at least two dozen.  A few of these books will never be finished - they were ideas in chapter form which didn't go anywhere.  Others, such as "Surrogate", "Wings" and "Wellspring" are books I'm still working on, every so often.  "Surrogate" (space nagas!) was two chapters for about six years, until I developed a sudden blazing passion for it one week, and added another five.  I'll go back to it again, the next time the memory worms its way into my head.  "Wings" has been around even longer, and needs me to make a decision on how many viewpoints I want in the book.

"Wellspring" has derailed "Lab Rat One", if only for a re-read and some edits.  Wellspring's world is one which fascinates me: there are four sources of magic in that world, wellsprings with an 'emanation' range of maybe twenty kilometres, and you can't effectively carry unworked magic for a substantial distance outside the emanation range.  Magical devices fade unless they're "juiced".  So around these four wellsprings are massive, luxurious cities, full of manufactories and hospitals and light rail and beast masters and illusionists (and running water and refrigerators).

This is a world where I'm trying to show how much of a difference magic can make to day-to-day life.  My first instinct with mages is not to set them to fighting each other with fireballs, but to preserving food.  Keeping people warm in winter.  Lighting the night.  Wellspring is set in a city where magic and technology creates a kind of golden age, but only for twenty kilometres.  Around that, people who travel daily into the emanation range to bring back magic to "juice" their appliances.  And everywhere else is the people who can't afford to live there.

Beyond the wellspring, we still see great benefit from magic, through goods manufactured with magic but not requiring a continual charge.  But the disparity is great, and the desire to increase magic's reach is where the conflict of the story lies, and that's where my head has chosen to be at the moment.

This is one of the ways I write.  Hopping about keeps the current story fresh, and when I hop back for my next re-read of "Lab Rat One" I'll be fresher for not being in that world for a while.

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