I’ve just finished a hectic weekend of editing and submissions. Most importantly, draft one of Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow is finished, and away to the rest of the Hiram Six for comment and notes. Being a shared world and character, one we’ve created ourselves, what each of us writes affects what everybody else does. If Jake decides that in Village of the Damned Hiram loses three fingers in a freak paper shredding accident, that’s going to profoundly change how he is by the time he turns up at the start of Nymphs. For these reasons, it’s been a very odd, but very rewarding writing experience.
I dabbled with shared characters last year, while writing for the Doctor Who antho Short Trips: Transmissions, but I dealt with that a little differently. Rather than tying the story resolutely to existing ongoing plots, or a particular moment in time, I wrote something that could stand alone within the vast Whoniverse. While being careful not to contradict anything previously established, and trying to put Paul McGann’s brilliant Eighth Doctor effectively on the page, the tale was largely continuity free. With the Doctor, there’s so much continuity to ponder, it’s probably best avoided altogether unless there is good reason to do otherwise, because your casual reader otherwise stands a very good chance of not understanding your references. Hiram’s different, because we’re starting from scratch.
The draft that exists now is really draft two, as the first version was handwritten in a moleskin notebook, often in coffee shops. Draft three will adjust the whole thing for continuity, to make it the best bookend to the series possible, and draft four will probably involve a little tinkering and tightening. At the moment, it’s aside, pending input from the team, and it’s a relief that what I proposed when I sent the editor a synopsis is pretty much what exists now on the page, in length and content.
That aside, several other submissions of short stories and longer works have been made over the last couple of days, leaving just one story in need of a quick edit and a compatible market, then I’m on to a new novel, that’s half written already. I’d like, this year, to finish a major work (erm, major in my mind – I’ll know it when I see it) a month, be it novel or novella. Hiram ticks the box for January, and the intention is that the novel does so for February. So far, the year’s off to a good start, and on the writing front I don’t have a lot to complain about.