When the Gods Wish to Inspire

Yesterday, I announced that a new idea for a novel has taken hold of my imagination, and that my working title is When the Gods Wish to Punish. Since writing that blog post, I have written about 7,500 words of the novel, so I think it’s fair to say that it’s going well.

My outline has shuffled somewhat since I started, and, somewhat unusually for me, a major sub-plot has fallen out of it.

The characters’ consciousnesses inhabit a virtual reality called Amrita, which operates a lot like a lucid dream. Memory of life before Amrita falls away, and the characters live entirely in the moment with little sense of the passage of time.

When I first imagined this novel, I wanted to divide the inhabitants of Amrita into ideological groups that were distinct in terms of their names but little else. The sides would largely adopt whatever the opposite position was to the other side’s. Various characters’ righteous certainty in the importance of their ideology was supposed to have been one more annoying hurdle for Ash, the protagonist who knows the way out to reality, to overcome in order to convince his friends to leave Amrita.

Almost immediately after I started exploring the characters besides Ash, it became apparent that living in the moment would isolate them from the other secondary characters and that the story I really wanted to tell was about Ash’s interactions with each of them, both before the events that got them all stuck in Amrita and afterward as he tries to help them free themselves. The whole of that political sub-plot fell away, and I reorganized my outline in accordance. I’m not in the least upset about it. There’s still more than enough interesting ground to tread.

What is going as well as I imagined is writing the withers. They are more or less exactly as I conceived them, and writing them is great fun. I may just even share a segment or two with one of them on this blog at some point.

When the Gods Wish to Punish is a stand alone novel, but like nearly all my novels, it is tied into my metaverse. Ash and all his friends are former inhabitants of Intersection Twenty-Four, a member state of the United Metaxic Intersections from Intersection Thirteen. Kal Anders from Voyage Embarkation will be making an appearance, too, although he is a tertiary character here, and this is the version of him not from that novel, but from my unpublished novella The Demented, which is to be the first in the Voyage Redux series. This is essentially the alternate timeline in which Kal Anders grew up not in the Pan-Atlantic Union, but rather the Hegemony and the Equum.

So far, so good. I’ll post regular updates on my progress.