Where Did THAT Come From: Essem and Co, Ularti

Ularti, the owner of the tramp freighter Vanner, keeps Jetay and Khed in indentured servitude, and is one of the main antagonists in Shadow Captain. Jetay’s story arc, as previously told is that of the drifter Drafted Into a Good Cause, and frequently in that arc, there’s a character who the drifter used to work with, who represents the pull away from the Good Cause. I didn’t have a good sense of what that might be in this case, until I hit on the “Hansel and Gretel” framing for Jetay’s situation.

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Where Did THAT Come From: Lanati, Menevis and Family

This is actually a fairly large body of characters spread across the two volumes of Star Master, even if they didn’t require as much work on my part as Shenti and her family did.

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Where Did THAT Come From: Why Such a Jumble of Influences

I began making up stories at a fairly young age, 5 or 6 years old, I think. At that age, my family moved around a fair amount, lived out of hotels from time to time, and some of our videotapes didn’t necessarily have the whole movie on them.

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Where Did THAT Come From: Samar, the White Knights, and the Red Knights

The White Knights are largely my response to the Jedi: a fallen order of psychic warriors formerly revered for their nobility of character, now hated and propagandized against. They were called Paladins, and the Red Knights were called Pioneers, until the early stages of editing Shadow Captain, when I decided these names would cause too much confusion with the Partisan faction in the same story. Akira Kurosawa, although certainly extremely gifted, didn’t have quite as much influence on me as Howard Pyle and the Story of King Arthur and his Knights, so that accounts for some of the differences between the White Knights and their inspiration, the more samurai-influenced Jedi.

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Where Did THAT Come From: The Star Master Setting

Star Wars. The Star Master setting comes from Star Wars. Maybe a little from Battlestar Galactica, because I’m pretty sure I saw the original Galactica on tv at around aged 3 or 4, based on where I was living at the time, and might have first seen Star Wars: A New Hope on tv as late as age 5. But I would go on to see A New Hope many, many times, because my family owned a limited number of child-friendly movies on videotape* and A New Hope was one that my siblings and I could all agree on. A lot of what I know about plotting, I first learned from A New Hope.

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Where Did THAT Come From: The Jaiya Metaseries

I spent part of my childhood “abroad,” where I discovered anime (dubbed into various European languages) and foreign cinema, due to my family’s fondness for French and Italian comedians like Jacques Tati and Terence Hill. This led, in my thirties and early forties, to an interest in films made in India: mostly in the Hindi language, but also some in the South Indian languages. There was a big learning curve, in terms of sourcing the more obscure movies, getting a feel for the cultures involved, and figuring out what appealed to me beyond the famous song and dance numbers.

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Happy New Year!

I hope it goes well for all of us. Right now, I just feel kind of mentally tapped out, but here are my writing/publishing plans for 2022:

-Star Master Book 2: The sequel to Shadow Captain. Originally supposed to be the middle book in a trilogy, but is now going to be the second half of a duology. I have a new ending to write, and some character scenes and loose ends to take care of as well before I start polishing. The Gantt chart I made for myself in Excel gives me the first week in January to work on cover art and such things, before I have to buckle down and start writing. Optimistic release date: sometime between late May and early July 2022. Pessimistic release date: Christmas 2022.

ThornMaster: A prequel storyline about the parents of a character in the Star Master books, the three initial episodes haven’t picked up any interest on Vella. May work on it some more once I get Star Master Book 2 to the polishing stage; alternating between drafting a low-intensity work of fiction and polishing/editing a related work of fiction has worked for me in the past. I hope to keep putting up chapters on Vella as time and energy permit; I will need to do some more digging into Amazon’s policies before deciding how to handle the part where I compile it into an ebook.

Ancestors of Jaiya: still need reediting and new covers. New covers might happen in one of the periods where I’m trying to respark my creativity, but reediting will most likely happen after Star Master Book 2 is done, because I’m pretty sure I won’t have the mental energy for it before then.

-Epic Fantasy: Very early stages of planning, so early that one key plot element is just called “Maguffin Artifact” in my notes and the main characters are being referred to by their dayjobs (wizard, princess, knight… etc) because they don’t have names yet. I’m torn on whether to go forward with this; on the one hand, I’m having a lot of fun with the early world-building stages and feel more invested in it right now than the alternative (see below). On the other hand, my level of interest could change very quickly, and this series would be in an extremely competitive genre.

-Gaslamp Fantasy: The advantage to this one is that I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Regency/Victorian/Edwardian fiction. The disadvantage is at this point that I have characters and a rough idea of a setting but no plot, and not much interest in developing it further at this moment. The other thing is that it’s a much less competitive genre than epic fantasy, to the point of maybe being a niche with not enough readers. All of that could change very quickly though.

From a Certain Point of View…

So, NaNoWriMo2021…not a success in terms of wordcount. It looks like I will finish the month around or slightly under 18,000 words, the lowest results for any NaNo I have attempted. However, I did have a helpful insight yesterday in terms of what I was working on.

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