Brooke Shaffer

Author, Gamer, and Cat-Collector Extraordinaire

Some Thoughts Floating Around

If you don't know that the world has changed in the last year, I would very much like to join you under your rock.

For the rest, these are a few thoughts that have been floating around my head lately.

The Chivalrous Welshman was originally set to be sixteen books.  Then it got shortened to fifteen.  In the last year (or maybe the year before that), I finished book ten (the first draft) and decided to cut the series right there.  It will still continue, but the style, story, and pacing of the second arc are so different from the first that it made more sense to separate the series.  Just as one example, The Chivalrous Welshman, all ten books, covers a period of two to three years, and all three of those years have already happened.  The second series, as yet unnamed, covers a period of thirty years, and only the first five have as yet transpired.

On the one hand, with everything in 2020, I was provided with such a succulent backdrop for the first book of the new series, I couldn't resist.  Nor did I have a choice but to have Tommen et al engage with it, seeing how this is worldwide.

On the other hand, I now find myself entirely discombobulated and uncertain how to proceed.  It's understandable that any story taking place in the future will inevitably be proven correct in some things and incorrect in others, most often involving inventions, social customs and values, and general daily living.  Larger questions in the geopolitical realm are speculative at best, if one is trying to remain semi-logical.

However, when I consider where the story needs to go, at this point, it is adrift.  That isn't to say that I don't have a few tentative chapters written, but I find myself wondering if they would even be considered feasible thirty years in the future.  Will there still be a United States as we know it?  Will the states be reasonably the same?  How will social classes be defined?  Will my characters even be able to find a job?  Own a home?  Will the policing force, courts, and prison systems even be recognizable?

It seems to be that we are not dealing with the same-old same-old anymore.  And it could be that in five, ten years, all will be well again.   There is nothing new under the sun. After all, people always think it's the end of the world when it's their empire that is crumbling.  But then, this is the empire I live in.  It's the one I know.  What will replace it?  How will it change?  If, somehow, it is saved, what must change in order to ensure this never happens again?  And how do I handle other nations and empires that do not fare so well and collapse into oblivion?

When dealing with the future, grace must be extended toward speculation that does not come to fruition, and then there are years that take the wheel and yank a hard turn.  Do I write as though everything goes back to normal, and craft the future I wish would happen?  Do I speculate on larger geopolitics and social and economic changes, and if so, how far down the dark path do I want to go?  Should I instead inject my own imagination into my own story and take things in a whole new direction, introducing Earth to the fictional Time industry?  Do I put off writing until further developments, when I might make better decisions?

The final book of The Timekeeper Chronicles takes place circa 2045, but it's intended publication is 2032 (I think.  Might be 2030).  Even without everything going on, how do I handle that fifteen year gap, making a believable story without needing to stretch the imagination too far?

Such are the thoughts that I have had lately.  If there is any good news for me, it is that the true past can still be found, and so I take comfort in writing about such things, pursuing The Hands of Time and The Lone Wolf.  At least, before the past is erased.

-Brooke Shaffer

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