Productivity Update (with some "Starcraft 2" Spoilers)
Submitted the first draft of Chapter Seven of Escape from the Wastelands to my Kennesaw writing group. I've still got some tinkering to do with Chapter Six, though. Much of Chapter Eight, including a sequence where Andrew must hide from a dirigible armed with a gatling gun, is already written. I've also gotten chunks of the next few chapters, in which Andrew joins the insurgency of Alonzo Merrill and fights against the Flesh-Eaters, written as well. After that, things get a bit spottier.
This morning, I came up with some additional material for "The Deferred Revenge of Catalina Merrill," a short story I'll write if and when I publish Escape from the Wastelands, much like how Stephen King wrote the short story "The Little Sisters of Eleuria" to tie in with his Dark Tower novels. This story is rather different than my typical fare, since there is little action and it is centered around a female protagonist--Catalina Merrill, sister of Alonzo Merrill and concubine of Grendel, the Lord of the Northlands. It's pretty heavily character-based rather than plot-based and will reveal aspects of both Grendel and especially Catalina that aren't covered in Escape.
The additional material also ties in with Alonzo Merrill's characterization in the primary Wastelands novels, as well as in two possible spinoff novels. These are the first-person tales Grendel: The Life and Times of the First Lord of the Northlands and Rebel: The Life and Times of Alonzo Merrill. Both would be in the style of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
(Grendel will begin 40 years before Escape, when Grendel is a teenager, and chronicle his rise to power from his POV. It will last until his death at Andrew's hands in the planned fourth novel. Rebel will begin about a decade before Escape and follows Alonzo Merrill through the conquest of his homeland by Grendel and the captivity of Catalina, his insurgency against the Flesh-Eating Legion, and his ultimate triumph as an ally of Andrew.)
Multiple planned books and at least one short story, all dependent on whether Escape is ultimately successful. This will certainly given me incentive to complete Escape and bust my behind selling it. :)
Also tinkered a bit with my steampunk idea file, including some more data on how the Confederacy successfully seceded from the Union and how biplanes would be used in aerial piracy.
I'm also pondering a story pitch to Blizzard for a short story or even a novel set in the aftermath of Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. I don't want to give too much away, but it has to do with the fate of Infested Terrans who were within the blast range of the alien device that wiped out the ordinary Zerg and de-infested Kerrigan. Some of the Starcraft novels describe how Kerrigan created Infested Terrans much like herself, creatures that retained their human memories and personality (to a point) rather than the mindless human bombs that most ITs become. If they were in range of the device (which seems to have wiped out most if not all of the Zerg on Char), then they should be human again, just like Kerrigan.
When I was in middle school (and possibly early high school), I wrote some Starcraft fan-fiction, which despite the praise I got from my readers, was terribly marred by the fact that I played all three races' campaigns at the same time rather than in the order they were intended to be played and thus had a very skewed timeline.
(For starters, I wasn't aware that Kerrigan had been infested due to Mengsk's treachery and that he and Raynor were no longer allies. I didn't have any context for the "Emperor Mengsk" stuff, so I explained that away as being a fit of temporary insanity in a basically good man rather than malevolent power-grabbing on his part. So essentially we have a democratic post-Confederate state and Raynor and Mengsk set off for Char to debug Kerrigan. Ironically that ended up happening in SC2, only it's a different Mengsk, the Dominion is not a democracy, and Arcturus and Raynor are not friends.)
Once I played both the man game in its entirety, I started writing more canon-compliant stuff, including my own version of what I expected Brood War to be like. It turns out I'd gotten the Raynor/Kerrigan partnership right, but I thought it would be against Mengsk, not the United Earth Directorate. I did not anticipate Protoss involvement, nor did I anticipate Kerrigan being as evil as she was and ultimately betraying it. The web-site ended up running into problems and the stuff I sent in was no longer posted, so I ended up abandoning the Starcraft fandom in favor of the Dark Angel one.
Now the goal is to get back in the saddle, only this time, to try to write licensed fiction for the company. I've already done it for BattleTech, so I've got a good leg to stand on rather than old bad fan fiction (the Starcraft stuff) or recent good fan fiction (my two Harry Potter pieces).
(Catalyst Game Labs honcho Loren Coleman told me at the 2009 DragonCon that many companies look askew at fan-fiction writers because many think the characters deserve to be "free" and do not respect the fact that their creators are ultimately in charge of them. He said he'd vouch that I wasn't insane and since Catalyst ultimately purchased my BattleTech story "Skirmish at the Vale's Edge," I imagine he was effective. Blizzard might not be so understanding.)
I've found what I think is the main phone number of Blizzard (i.e. not the technical support hotlines), but there might be Blizzard personnel at DragonCon this year. I think I'll work on my pitch and bring it to the convention. While I'm at it, I should probably print some copies of "Skirmish at the Vale's Edge" and my one published original piece, "I am the Wendigo." I think that would be much easier than calling people who might not want to hear from me.
Wish me luck. :)