Once upon a time, I decided to write a novel. But before I did that, I held off from my story idea and wrote a short story to try it out. That worked okay, so I wrote another. Each connected to the last. Eight stories and seventy thousand words later, I had a first draft. Good bits of dialog, action and characters. Mess of a plot, because I had 8 themes and eight plots. So I put it aside and went back to the drawing board. Let’s see where I’m at.
Outline of a City
The Wizard of Houston series takes place in Houston. I’ve lived here for twenty years, I might as well learn about it. I figured writers risk burning out after book ten based on anecdotal evidence, so I’m aiming for nine books. It’s a Norse thing. I also took my time building out an outline with A plot and B plot. I think I’ll be adding a C plot to further enhance another character.
Some people like to make the story up as they go, I found that way led to seventy thousand words I had to toss. Far cheaper to plan to route first, then write. Plenty of ad hoc decisions get made even with an outline.
Who’s In It
I’ve never come across a book with no characters in it, so my book has characters in it. Seemed like a good idea to not rock the boat. Here’s a few of the people you’ll meet:
An eye patch and prematurely white hair indicate this guy ain’t like everybody else. A deep fascination with Babylon 5 and [REDACTED] lead to the brilliant idea to become a Technomage. Twelve years later, we get to see how that turned out. He was born on the ship as his parents traveled to immigrate to America from Iceland, back when Asatru wasn’t so accepted.
CEO and resident genius behind RuneSpace, the mid-sized cloud hosting and AI services company you’ve never heard of. When the happy couple moved to Houston, they had no idea Enron and Dynegy were not long term jobs after college. Rain started RuneSpace with [REDACTED]. I guess it worked out. Rain grew up on a Lakota reservation near St. John’s University in Minnesota, which she attended on a chess scholarship.
Lt. Chevalier Lavert
Her family comes from New Orleans and a long line of Creoles. She served in Iraq and saw action during the Battle of Fallujah. Her family moved to Houston to escape Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath. After she left the service, she joined them and has a job in Houston’s police force on the Terrorism Task Force.
Rodrigo Hermanos (Sir Not Appearing In This Film)
Houston’s fictional police chief who bears no resemblance to reality. He knows Alex from somewhere. He’s sent Lavert to work with him or investigate him. Who knows? Oh yeah, I do.
A second generation Indian American working in the military industrial complex, Harridas also likes Babylon 5 and has drunk Alex’s Kool Aid. His other hobbies include drone racing and wild west trick shooting competitions. Loosely inspired by Kamal of The Expanse TV show, he is an Indian Cowboy. He swears a lot and doesn’t know much about his Indian heritage.
A great mane of hair that even Robin Atkin Downes would be proud of, the similarity ends there with the golden lion eyes. He is leader of the local transhumanist mega-church and I’m pretty sure when Hurricane Ned gets here, won’t be opening the doors to refugees if you get my wink to local personalities.
Sleipnir, Huginn and Muninn
Alex already rode through the desert in a truck with no name, so everybody gets a name. His self-driving car, his ravens, and his disembodied intelligence, Mimir.
Son, Don’t Bring Your Guns To Town
This is not the blurb or pitch. I wanted to write an Urban Fantasy novel, that didn’t overlap too much with what’s been done. I also had just finished re-watching the Babylon 5 series as I do half-decade or so. It came down to, wouldn’t it be cool to be a technomage and how would I do it. I don’t want to go to jail for hacking, so I opted for writing a book about a guy who figures it out.
In real life, my research found a group of people, who around 2003 had tried making Technomage effects. It was primitive, but our modern smartphones pave the way for something better. So I set Alex on that course around 2004 and around now-ish, he’s ready to do some technomaging. He get a request to find a missing teen, and he goes out with his deep cowled hoodie and staff.
Let’s see if this draft of a blurb sets the tone:
Alex Rune re-invented himself as a wizard, and then hid it. Now, a tormented teenage girl needs his help. Too bad she’s dead already. The Houston Police can’t help, so Alex puts his power to use. Too bad that’s illegal, but what the cops don’t know, won’t hurt them.
Now Alex has to bring a troll to justice while saddled with a cop buddy. To make matters worse, his best friend is having terrorism problems and needs help. In Arizona. Alex’s untested power might save the day or get him arrested. If it doesn’t get him killed first.
Magic. Any technology sufficiently advanced.
We’ve a Long Way to Go
Writing is hard. I think Jim Butcher said that. At the time of this writing, I am on chapter nine. Stuff has happened. Alex is avoiding feeling sad by doing what he does best, plunging forward deeper into trouble while a train is on an intercept course. No really, that’s what’s happening. I don’t want to spoil things, but this might be a short book. I kid. The last thing I want to do is kill off the hero. But it’s on the list.
Meanwhile, I’m working on it. Stay tuned.
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