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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Closing out...or maybe not...

Hi everyone, Travis Perry here.  I'm not sure how to categorize myself for the purpose of this post, but if you want an idea of the kinds of things running around in my head, you can see my blog, which also contains links to my novel and Amazon author page.

I started writing for AE to help Grace my friend, but felt inspired by her concept of angels.  In a flash the idea for my main story arc was born, the Ernsto Mons tales I've been writing.  As you'll see when the story comes to an end in the next few months, the idea of a rough sailor falling in love with a mermaid is echoed in my Ernsto arc.

By the way, I imagined Avenir being out of contact with Earth to the point that old Earth conventions and names would change over time, so in our world, "Ernsto Mons" would be "Ernesto Manas," the name having evolved.  I probably would have done that with everyone's names, but as I'm but one writer, it quickly became apparent the collective group of AE writers was not going that direction, so I mostly stopped doing it myself...

As already mentioned, I've finished writing all the Ernsto stories and know how they end.  At the very end, the Ernsto arc impacts upon my Elsa story arc.  The spark for the Elsa stories began with the description of hunting with spears in other AE tales.  I saw in that not extreme manliness, but rather extreme poverty.  No people in their right minds, in my thinking, would hunt dangerous animals with just spears unless they were so poor as to be unable to afford any other means.

That reminded me of something I learned on a job I used to have.  I grew up in Montana and once upon a time (1997 or so) was hard up for work to the point I took a job from a businessman from California who was making a living demolishing pioneer log cabins and selling the aged wood for rich newcomers to Montana to make into brand-new-but-old-looking log mansions.  Mr. Dubose was a nice man, but on the job I felt like I was both desecrating the past and polluting the future--it really bothered me.  But as I already implied, I really needed the money.  I had little kids at home...

As I dismantled buildings with hewn boards--in case you didn't realize, hewn means they hacked the boards out of trees by hand with axes (can you imagine how much work it would take to do that?)--and separated logs from cabins built with double walls filled with dirt in between to serve as a form of insulation against the bitter winters, I was struck by how downright poor the pioneers were.  And how much they suffered if, say, the winter should last longer than planned.  So this desperate early Montana poverty and isolation, where you have your family and a few neighbors, very few towns to speak of and hardly any civic institutions of any kind (I also saw the same sort of thing in much of Afghanistan) had inspired how I imagined large swaths of the land settlements on Eclectia.

That vision of how things were inspired my Elsa character, the desperately poor woman of faith, struggling to survive and provide for her grandchildren.  Of course, it bears noting that other writers did not see Eclectia this way, so I found myself trying to accommodate both views by portraying Eclectia as having once been basically devoid of towns, taverns, churches, and trading posts, but that it had changed, leaving old pioneer families destitute and struggling.

Anyway, as twice mentioned in this post (and which has happened more than twice), I found myself changing my concepts of how AE worked to match other writers, but have felt as if this understanding of how to operate in a shared-story universe has not been reciprocated.  I've tried to raise issues bothering me with the intent of bringing about group consensus, but it seems as a whole most of the group does not share my personal ideas of consistency.  "Avenir Eclectia is a big place," I've been told repeatedly.

So I decided I'd just bring my Ersnto and Elsa stories to an end, be thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of AE, and quietly step away to allow the rest of you do as you wish without any interference from me.  I have in fact already accomplished part of this goal.  I've finished my stories and submitted them to Grace.

But I created a villain in them, the wizard Hobson.  I did not completely deal with him in the Ernsto arc.  So he must be still around, operating behind the scenes.  I find myself wondering what he will do next.  And I wound up introducing an unnamed peacekeeper who plays a secondary role in the story.  I find myself wondering what exactly his role was and what he will do in the future.

So I have already closed out the Ernsto and Elsa stories with the intent of letting you other writers carry on from here.  The problem is, unfinished ideas are still lingering in my mind, still tugging at me.  I decided I would be finished with the Avenir Eclectia stories, but it seems the stories are not finished with me.  Not just my own, either.  Your collective creations have sunk roots into me that are proving difficult to pull free.

So perhaps I'm not done writing for AE after all...


5 comments:

  1. Travis, it been good reading your stuff. Hope you'll drop around again soon. In the meantime, I'll be keeping an eye out for your other writings. Officers named "Travis" tend to make their mark for the greater Good.

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  2. Well, first off I'm sorry I haven't had the chance to set up the mail group to discuss these things in the group. It is still my intention!
    And I'm sorry you feel you haven't been listened to. That is not how it should be at all. However, there appears to be a gap between our definitions of inconsistency. Keeping things in agreement with each other is VERY important to me. For example, I don't see why it's a problem for some names to evolve and others to retain their original sound. Look at English with its ancient words alongside 2011 coinages. And why can't a planet have its barren places as well as more populous ones, as is still the case with Earth?
    Anyway, glad the story has sunk roots for you. Give us some time to hash out these details in more blog posts or in a mail loop. I firmly believe it can be solved.

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  3. Walt, thanks for your kind words.

    Grace, I hope my words don't come across as critical of you. I believe you have every right to see things differently than I do. And I recognize setting up an email group and working various issues takes time. Please know that I'm still interested in AE and can assure you I'll be thinking about AE stories for years to come, whether I write any others or not.

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  4. "That vision of how things were inspired my Elsa character, the desperately poor woman of faith, struggling to survive and provide for her grandchildren. Of course, it bears noting that other writers did not see Eclectia this way, so I found myself trying to accommodate both views by portraying Eclectia as having once been basically devoid of towns, taverns, churches, and trading posts, but that it had changed, leaving old pioneer families destitute and struggling."

    I think part of the problem with flash/micro fiction is the inability to describe more setting or the more mundane situations.

    I also consider Eclectia to be a poor, struggling area. My Aid Workers are there for that reason, though their tag-along (Jereth) isn't there for that reason. I don't talk about him watching the struggling poor shuffle into circuit offices, including shabby, barely standing ones. I don't get into Lessie and her team helping them, how the aid work is funded by concerned citizens (mostly from undersea) or any of that.

    I envisioned Eclectia having some rich folks, mostly managers of the big mining operations, perhaps a few 'middle class' middle management. Then the rest in the cities being fairly poor.

    In the outlands I envisioned people struggling just to get by. My miners of the five rims are half crazy, mining an active volcano. However they do so because it raises them a bit above the abject poverty everywhere else. They found a loop-hole out of the more typical outlander poverty and the towns closest to them have received some benefit having nicer circuit offices, etc.

    I really did have this in mind. But it's hard to portray that in microfiction. You gotta get in, get to the action, and get out in less than 500 words. Not a lot of room for explaining what's going on other than in the immediate story.

    I understand you have to do what you have to do. You can't write a story unless your heart is in it and you feel others aren't working with you.
    Just know that I was trying. I used your scythe gun. :) And I really did have the abject poverty in the back of my mind as being more typical.

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  5. Yeah, I always considered Eclectia to be a wasteland with some pioneers spread throughout--some small settlements.

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