The main thing that I’m working on is a novel. Its a braided narrative epic set in 1932 in an alternate universe where World War I never ended. It follows a group of characters as they try to start peace talks between the warring nations, but a conspiracy unfolds to stop them. Not only is it set in this crazy world where America stays out of the war, but it also has fantasy elements. One of the main characters, Gren, is a soldier for the Ottoman army. Every time he dies he wakes up a few hours later, totally reincarnated. He’s pretty traumatized after being in a 15 year long industrial war. At the beginning of the story, he learns of a plot to kill the Ottoman emperor, which would halt any peace negotiations and send the world back into war.
I want to create something that’s Game of Thrones scale of world and complexity. Turns out that’s really hard, but also a lot of fun. Before this, I didn’t do much in the way of outlining a story. And it’s led to a lot of novels that dead end around the 8th chapter. I folded on my pride and am writing a character outline for every story in this book. So far it kind of looks like this.
Each row across the top is a country involved in the war and their own little fantasy history that I concocted. For example, in this story, the Ottomans plowed through the French line in 1922 and marched on Paris. They sacked the city and executed their royalty. It lead to a worldwide ceasefire that lasts for 10 years, up to the point where the novel begins.
Each column under the countries are the characters. The far left is about Kayla and her dog Misha. Just to the right of that is Gren, the resurrecting guy that I mentioned above. The creepy dude in the middle is a Navajo Skin Walker (google it, they are awesome). And below that is a picture of some Sikh warriors in World War I.
I like WWI as a topic and time period because it was this really strange clash of old and new. Armies like the French Army started the war still wearing Napoleon era uniforms. The Prussians had those cool pointy helmets until later in the war when they switched to the stereotypical stahlhelme. There were horses and dogs that charged against artillery fire. It was a sad, brutal and insane world.
And it kind of marks the end of exploration. After that, the borders are drawn and that’s the world. I miss stories about exploration and world building.