Writing Befores - The Perilous Prequel!

Posted by guest blogger Julie E. Czerneda

What a wonderful place you have here! Thanks for inviting me to drop by.

It wasn't difficult to find a topic for my guest appearance. All I had to do was look around my office. Under normal conditions, my workplace is, shall we say, enriched? (My tidy spouse thinks I don't see him shudder when he walks through.) But I need stuff around me. Whenever I glance away from my screen, I want to see something. Not out a window (although I have one behind me, full of sun catchers and glasses filled with feathers and bones) but stuff that relates to what I write. Which is, as you may have gathered from the feathers and bones, biology-based science fiction. I'm surrounded by articles, photos of space, movie posters, stuffed lobsters, hanging fish, random words ... in sum: everywhere something inspiring could be, something is.

Except that right now, most of it is covered by great sheets of paper, the largest draped in front of my bookcases. (Said spouse created a clever clip arrangement -- he may shudder, but he facilitates.) Those sheets are covered in post-it notes in bold neon hues. Each of those is filled with handwriting you'd need a magnifying glass and a scotch to read. What is it all? I'm working on my first prequel, and the stuff I need to see right now is, well, everything about that universe.

The obvious stuff is what's happened in the story already: three books full, the Trade Pact trilogy, set in the far future. Full, indeed. I've noticed ::cough:: that I treat my stories like my office space. Call them enriched. The plus side of all that extraneous, albeit fun, detail is that I have a great deal of material to use. The negative side is that I have a great deal of material to use. I made notes for months. I'm still making them. The more resonance I can put into the prequel, the better its impact. On the flip side, anything that a reader "knows" is true in this universe better stay that way, or the prequel loses any credibility. No pressure.

Most of what's up on my walls, however, is about what I haven't written yet: the key plot points to be delivered by each of the three prequels, in semi-order -- as well as what's to follow later. Whatever comes before must not only lead inexorably to what's there (I so empathize with George Lucas), must not only stand on its own as interesting and worth reading, but set the stage for the grand finale.

Yes, next I'll be leaping over the existing books to write a conclusion to the entire series. Which means making notes on everything I'm writing now. My office is going to look like this for such a long, long, long long time. Or worse. I love it! (Poor spouse.)

Oh oh. A turquoise post-it just landed on the floor. It's a plot point.

Now "when" does that happen?

‘Scuse me. Have to go now. Thanks for letting me visit! =======================================

Wildwind_3 Biologist Julie E. Czerneda's science fiction has received international acclaim, awards, and best-selling status. She is the author of the popular Species Imperative trilogy, the Web Shifters series and the Trade Pact Universe trilogy. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best new Writer. Her stand-alone novel, In the Company of Others, won Canada's Prix Aurora Award and was a finalist for the P.K. Dick Award for Distinguished SF. Julie lives with her husband and two children in the lake country of central Ontario, under skies so clear they could take seeing the Milky way for granted but never do.

Now Julie's September release, Reap the Wild Wind, returns to the origins of the powerful Trade Pact universe Clans--to a time when change grips their world, and salvation rests on the shoulders of a young woman who struggles to uncover and master forbidden secrets... (czerneda.com)

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