A new timeline!

Inspired by the dual timelines of the HBO TV-series True Detective, I’ve been developing the new timeline, an interesting one – being the present. This means the whole universe is brought right into the ‘here and now’, as one of the main characters, Swedish journalist Ulrika Strömberg proceeds to write the book she’d been fearing writing (the feature pic is the lady herself as she was back in the Eighties).

Ever since the time she interviewed an inmate of a Swedish high-security prison back in the 2000’s, imprisoned for treason. She’d tracked her down, since it seemed to her at the time that they shared a past neither of them really understood, part of the series of violent events from the late eighties. Ulrika sees how the ‘new cold war’ is igniting old embers into flames, people still around who never accounted for their sins, but she’s past all that, committed to justice even though it’s a bitter calling.

On the structure side of things, these scenes are ‘dribbled in’ here and there, adding a gateway into the past. Finally I get to mention such things as iPads and cell phones, a bit of a relief to be in the middle of the world we all know, a far cry from the world of the late cold war. This approach is also used in a book I read recently, ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ by Patrick Rothfuss, book 2 in a fantasy trilogy that has my firm recommendation. The main character, a man of many powers with a reputation to follow, recites his past to a Chronicler. Most of the story follows being in ‘the present of his past’, with only occasional intervals in the present, as he recites his story. Ulrika is the Chronicler, but she is also part of the past. At this stage, none of the characters has really discovered what any of it is about, but it doesn’t matter, since the world proceeds along the paths chosen by the dedicated few.

Editing Labyrinth 2

I’ve been through the book now ‘on-screen’ – next stage is to download it to Kindle and read it well away from computer screens, taking the tole of critical reader and see if anything needs changing. This is always the final test for me, a last chance to weave threads tighter, correct anything that needs correcting and get the ‘real feel’ for it all, despite the fact I’ve been going over the same ground for a long time.

Editing is a long, slow process, and a very important one too. I take a couple of months to work through it, adding in little extra details, linking one thing with another. Violence gets more violent, action slows down into micro-details, as I do my best to get the reader inside the head of the character and experience what they experience. Once, a friend told me this was quite unique for him, the extent that the ‘experience of being submerged in the moment’. I guess that kind of makes it ‘my approach’ then, a development of ‘show don’t tell’ that also works in the way the brain speeds up when someone is threatened.

Small talk around the dinner table

On a side note, I met a journalist friend on Saturday evening, someone I talked with a couple of years back, just as I was editing my first book project. He asked how it was going, what the plans were and all the rest. So I brought him up to date, talking about the project for the first time in ages kind of brought me back ‘into the groove.’ It was an odd feeling, looking back, seeing the things done over a ten year period, and then face the harsh reality of ‘constructive criticism’, that any project needs an audience and how that audience has to be reached. We discussed how this could be done, touching on my criticisms of the Amazon-lead self-publishing world, the inundations of Amazon marketing hype, the need to be committed and grow a project slowly.

That was when I told him about the vagaries of the self-publishing world, of the complete uncertainty of creative projects, and the idea that no expectations means absolute freedom to do what any creative project needs: full commitment. We talked about the plans for the elements, a new name being with respect to pitching the TV-networks. It was then I decided the name for the series would be the same as trilogy 1: Labyrinth, the name of the trilogy still being developed.

A new name?

It’s not a new name. But a TV project does need something ‘immediate’. A one-worder people can ‘get’ even if they don’t know what it is about. A labyrinth in time is what the series is about. I decided on this for the simple reason that The Elements is simply too big for one project. With the Prologue, the first Trilogy and the Timeline books being written, the The Elements is ‘all of it’. That was when I saw that look in his eye, that ‘you’ve got to be crazy’ kind of look, that look that told me, ‘you creatives really need to get real, target your product and cut to the chase marketing it.’

It was quite interesting, opening up creative projects, and seeing how to some people, they really seem like fruitless endeavors. Yes, yes, very good I thought. I will look to marketing, but first I need to get a trilogy done.

So that kind of closes the loop, bringing me back to the release schedule: Labyrinth 2 will now be released in 2020.