Newest Book ...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Writing Colonies, Part I: The Basics and a Bit of Inspiration

Colonies of Kobol is underway and I'm 1/16 finished.


Before I get too deep, I wanted to tell everyone what's up, where my thinking is, etc., when it comes to the story of CoK and how it will be presented.

As I've stated before, there will be sixteen separate books contained in three different volumes.  Volume One is about establishing this part of the universe (Cylon Earth and the founding of the Twelve Colonies).  Volume Two is primarily about the Virgon Empire, an unmentioned part of Colonial history that plays a huge, thousand-year role in the Colonies becoming what they are.  Volume Three is about the revolutions that lead to the Cylon War and then the Fall of the Colonies.

Obviously, this trilogy is a sequel to Lords of Kobol and, largely, a prequel to both Battlestar Galactica and Caprica.  Basically, I'm filling in the blanks of the history of the "Kobolverse" or "BSGverse."

Since the books span multiple thousands of years, I needed a common thread.  In Lords of Kobol, it was easy because I had the Olympians themselves.  They were immortal.  But I had a realization a while back ... the primary characters throughout the Kobolverse are the Messengers of The One True God.  Those two "angels" are there on Larsa, through Kobol, on Earth I, in the Colonies, in the Fleet, and on Earth II.  Their mission is the survival of humanity and preservation of life (including Cylons).  They embody the themes of the show and the books.  Making them the central characters was an easy choice.  But despite their centrality, they're also background figures.

Let me diverge for a second and talk about fan fiction.  Yes, my books are fan fiction by definition.  Official channels passed on them, yet I published them anyway.  A common trap in fan fiction is the use of known characters (from a film or TV show), as well as the insertion of the author into the work.  Also, it's common for the fan fiction to get "cute" when it comes to inserting certain characters in unlikely events or introducing someone's grandaddy when it's not necessary.  Throughout Lords of Kobol, I believe I avoided these traps.

In Colonies, as I get closer to the "current" era of the TV shows, I have to involve the characters we already know.  I intend to do so sparingly and with reverence to how they're portrayed on screen.  (The Final Five, for example, are the central figures in Book One: Earth so I didn't have much of a choice in avoiding them.)  There will be no author insertion.  There will be no "cuteness," if I can help it.

There are, however, elements of the story I want to tell that don't fall into the normal frame of the larger tale.  Meaning, there are subplots in the series that don't have to do with the survival of mankind, but I'd still like to talk about them.  Plus, there are certain characters from the show that I'd like to revisit.  I'd like to talk to Baltar or Zarek or any number of others.  I want to get their perspectives on all that happened.

I had an epiphany about that.

Read more after the JUMP.

I came up with the "interviews."

The Messengers of The One True God, when they take the form of someone, embody the memories and personality of the person they're imitating.  We've seen this in the show, but more extensively, we've seen it in all four books of Lords of Kobol.  The angels "become" the person they're emulating in an effort to sway or guide their "target," the person they're using to do the will of "God."

In CoK, I've decided to use these "interviews" as a way for the angels to gauge who among the Kobolverse's past can help them in their endeavors.  By embodying the memories and personality of Pythia, for example, can the Messengers alter the course of future events?  Or can they just take inspiration from certain elements of Pythia's personality?  So, the tenders talk to characters we know from the series or from the books in an effort to see what they think about what happened around them.  In this way, we can get into the heads of favored characters, get their perspectives, and more.

Each book will include an "interview" or two or three.  Here's one from the book I've finished, Earth:

Unknown Years Before Activation

"It's funny.  I don't recall a time when I didn't wonder about it."

"Even though you were programmed to not think about the Five?"

D'Anna nodded and said, "I don't remember much before they were gone from the Colony.  That was Cavil's doing, my poor memory."  She stood and walked, surprised at the echo her shoes created in this black room.  "It was during the war that I first began to experience visions."

"Visions of what lies between life and life?  Your death and your rebirth?"

"Yes.  I felt a drive."  Her eyes glassed over and she stared into the distance.  "A drive to know more."

"But why the Final Five?"

Biers smiled and cocked her head.  "Nothing makes something more attractive than to forbid it."  She chuckled and shuffled her feet.  "I knew they were a part of who I was.  Who we all were, as Cylons."

"You turned to faith as part of your search."

Three shrugged.  "I was a more casual believer than the Twos or Sixes.  I did believe that God had a plan for me.  That's why I consulted an oracle on New Caprica after I had some … waking visions.  Dreams."

"What did the oracle tell you?"

"The truth.  Couched in myth."  She smiled and said, "Like any good religion."

"For your efforts, you were boxed after your encounter on Oasis, the algae planet."

D'Anna nodded.  "Yes.  We found the Temple of the Five and … I saw them."  Her throat clenched and she bit the inside of her lip.  Remembering that moment of clarity, the emotion of understanding, had proven overwhelming.  "When Cavil boxed me, I had another moment of clarity."  She smirked, "I understood why Cavil had forbidden it."

The disembodied voice asked, "Your pursuit of the truth was dogged."

"Oh, yes, it was."

"But we are concerned."

She squinted and looked in the darkness.  Seeing no one, Three turned and turned until she had made a complete circle.  "Who are you?"

"When presented with the opportunity to end violence against mankind in the Colonies, you fought against the Six and Eight who led the way."

"Yes, but … those individuals had been corrupted by their interactions with humans."

There was a long pause.  Then, softly, "'Corrupted'?"

Biers nodded emphatically and said, "Yes.  They were willing to put humans above their fellow Cylons."

"Because of …?"

She thought and weakly replied, "Love."

"Not above Cylons, but equal to."

"Yes," the other voice said.  "And why the distaste for love?"

D'Anna opened her mouth to answer but the previous voice said, "More important than even that, I must ask about your end."

"My end?"

"Your decision to remain on Earth."

Three lowered her head and said, "Oh."

"Yes.  Why did you choose to stay?  You found the Final Five, like you wanted.  You were reunited with your people, …"

"Even though they were fighting a civil war with Cavil?" she interrupted.

The voice responded, "Yes.  Still, there were opportunities.  Your quest came to an end."

"An unexpected end."

"But that was just your quest.  Why did that mean your life should end as well?"

D'Anna blinked and looked toward the black floor.  She breathed slowly and thought before saying, "I had seen too much death.  Death of my Cylon brothers and sisters.  Human deaths.  I may not be a religious person, but I believed and saw enough proof for the cycle of Pythia.  That it was going to keep happening.  Again and again."  Her eyes stung but she forged ahead, balling her fists and raising her chin to speak toward the darkness.  "I found the end of my quest, yes, you're right.  I didn't like the answers but at least I had answers.  Finally."  Her voice echoed and she felt a measure of satisfaction in having said it out loud to these unseen judges.

"You are a narcissist," one voice said.  "Your siblings didn't conform to your view so you stood ready to betray them."

"Worst of all, you surrendered to your fears.  You surrendered to your fatigue."

Her shoulders sank and Biers spoke toward the floor.  "Who wouldn't give up after finding … finding their homeland empty and long dead?"  She looked up and a single tear raced over her cheek, "Who wouldn't give up when the entire Cylon fleet is hunting you down, threatening to kill you permanently, just for daring to ask questions?  When there's nowhere else to go?!"

Her shouts faded and a voice replied, "There were tens of thousands of people – humans and Cylons alike – who didn't give up."

"Yes," the other voice said, "they sought for a time and found a world on which to live together and start anew."

"A new Earth."

Three's eyebrows arced and she whispered, "A new Earth?"

"Yes."  There was a pause and a voice said, "I am sorry, but we cannot use you in our efforts."

Before she could object, the image of D'Anna vanished, and the other Messenger said, "There are others."

Thanks for reading.  More to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment