OUR WRITERS’ JOURNEY FROM POPCORN SPACE OPERA TO TWILIGHT ZONE
When my son Evan and I began writing what would become The Tinker and The Fold series, we could have never anticipated the gradual but dramatic metamorphosis of our collective writing style over our seven plus year writing journey.
If you are unfamiliar with our story, perhaps a little background is in order. The Tinkerverse was conceived accidentally as a way for a busy corporate executive (aka, me) to carve out creative playtime on the weekends with my then nine-year-old son. It was born of Lego spaceships and crayon sketches of faraway worlds that were inspired by Star Wars and its ilk. This is the primary reason there are over three dozen Star Wars anagrams hidden through the series (BTW, very few readers have found them all! One that has is my nephew Benjamin. Of course, he can also solve a Rubik’s Cube in under 60 seconds!).
As Evan turned from nine to ten to eleven years old, his taste in science fiction naturally evolved and entirely new fictions and franchises opened up before us and enraptured him. Star Wars turned to Doctor Who and Firefly and the original Star Trek series. During this phase, we attended local comic cons as family cosplayers. Evan as the 12th Doctor, my daughter Alyssa as the fez wearing 11th, and me as Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor.
While attending these regional events, we discovered an entirely new universe of extremely talented writers and illustrators marketing their own ingenious works. The Tinkerverse, which loomed so very large in our own minds, suddenly seemed very small, lost in an endless sea of creative talent, but we took inspiration from their good works and continued our exploration, making it a point to buy a few ‘independent’ comics and novels anytime we attended a Con.
Because of classic Doctor Who serials, Evan was introduced to Douglas Adams and it was around this time he read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the iconic number 42 began working its way into our narrative. This would soon be followed by the darker influences of 1984 and Black Mirror which would be woven into our writing following deep discussions concerning the risk/reward scenarios of technology run amok.
While it was fantastically exciting to be bobbing around on an endless sea of inspiration, oft competing narratives added significant complexity to our ever-evolving story arc and we began running into headwinds halfway through the story outline for The Javelin Divide.
In retrospect, book 2 – The Rise of the Boe, now seemed too Marvel superheroey, popcorney, and formulaic compared to the much darker aspects of The Javelin Divide and suddenly the whole trilogy arc felt disjointed and saccharin. We agreed that the best avenue available to us was to revisit the entire series and conduct a heavy rewrite, starting with The Problem with Solaris 3.
We knew that pursuing this option would delay, possibly significantly, the completion of The Javelin Divide, but that seemed to us a minor sacrifice worthy of getting the narrative right, so we went back to the drawing board, this time with a professional editor in tow.
Revisiting the first two installments of the series in preparation for completing the third, opened up a whole new realm of possibility and took the whole story in an entirely new direction as a new character, dreamed up after Rise of the Boe, known only as The Traveler, snatched the role of antagonist from the clutches of Hazbog and introduced the possibility of what would become a truly Black Mirror finish.
More on that in Part 2.