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Tuesday, May 27, 2014
An Ambitious Plan
Most stories are their own self-contained little world. Sometimes authors reveal that many of their different books take place in the same shared universe. They have characters and incidents popping up in seemingly random stories but actually reveal connections to each other. Jeffery Deaver’s Kathryn Dance and Lincoln Rhyme series are connected because the title characters have appeared in the others’s books. That is something I am trying to do.
The term “shared universe” is becoming more mainstream thanks to Marvel Studios. Their Cinematic Universe is a shared universe, having the characters from various films make cameos in others. The term is well-known to geeks, but I am seeing it more mainstream press nowadays.
I have quite a few ideas for different novels, some possibly turning into series. I have a Japanese super heroine idea, a fantasy idea, a buddy cop action series, and others in mind. There is no reason all these stories can’t be in the same universe. I’m not talking intricately interwoven, but references made in one book about events in another, and characters doing crossovers. Like Stephen King did with Derry and Castle Rock, I may make my own fictitious city. The main reason to do this will be to give myself creative freedom. If I set my cop drama in Chicago, I will need to research the city because I have never been there. Think of it like Gotham City, Metropolis, or Central City. I can have whatever events, structures, and buildings I need without having to worry about if I “got it right” by setting it in a real city. I will try to keep my city consistent. Good stories and good story universes are internally consistent.
The difficulty will be laying the groundwork for my literary universe, but I’ll try to do it a little at a time. Plus, not every story will fit in this universe. I already have an idea for a stand alone story that wouldn’t fit in. I may not make a unified universe at all, but I think it would be fun to try. It’s just a preliminary plan but we’ll see how it goes.