OK, it’s been growing on me for a while now, and various bits and pieces are starting to come together.
My first project after Reject Hero is going to be a planned-in-advance crossover fanfic of 5-10 chapters or so, 15-50k words, between Butters / Bob from the Dresdenverse, and Blake / Evan from the Pactverse. It will take place in the Dresdenverse. I already have several scenes bubbling in my brain, and a general idea of what will happen. However, this time around, I’m planning it, by the gods! Random stuff can happen within the guidelines of the story, but the storyline itself will be predefined! Arcs! Targets! Goals! Plot and story! The narrator will be a normal human who needs help with something important.
A new webpage will be put up. I would like to design my own, something that will allow me to put all my stories in one place, but keep them separate, which WordPress does not do well.
As for the next project after that, I am building the character and world in my head now. So far, I’ve come up with the following things. The fanfic above will allow me to test out the whole “planning” thing.
1) There will be no magic or super powers. I’m going to make an effort at rational fiction.
2) The world will be an Earth colony, post-collapse. Thousands of years have passed. The world has very few artifacts of the ancient times, because the colonists had been fleeing a war between Earth and Mars, the only two planets with real industry, and were forced to use, re-use, and abuse practically everything they brought with them to hammer out a colony that could survive. There are no holdover space dwellers, no secret enclaves of technology.
3) The colony had been fully terraformed, the original state of the planet was that it had no life at all. So only Earth life, though some of it might have been modified by the ancients who were significantly more advanced than we are today in real-world technology, especially in bioengineering.
4) The planet is larger than Earth, but iron-poor. The oceans are large. Fish were genetically modified by the terraforming teams thousands of years ago to collect the trace iron in the oceans in their organs and bones. Most insects were genetically modified to breed in the oceans and coastal waterways and estuaries, and have build high iron content in their bodies. They migrate inland when they hatch, and their iron in the food chain supports the iron needs of the animals and plants.
5) Metal armor and weapons will be extremely rare. Most armor and weapons will be made of leather, bone, wood, glass, and stone.
6) The main character will start as an adolescent child of fourteen or so, but a child who has lived in a medieval world. Naïve in a few ways, and ignorant of some things, but very worldly in matters of basic survival skills, and simple crafts that adults need to survive.
6) The story will start with the child’s father being drafted into a passing army involuntarily, and the boy with him.
7) The father is a charcoaler whose eyes were injured in a sap explosion years ago when he was young, stupid, and hadn’t been wearing slit-goggles to protect his eyes one day when he had been tending a fire burning waste limbs and roots that weren’t much use for charcoal. He can see, somewhat, but not well enough to tell friend from foe at more than a few feet, which makes him almost useless as a soldier. He can still cut wood expertly enough that the carpenters want him around, and if the carpenters don’t need him, an army always needs firewood and water.
8) The boy is of interest to the army because he has tamed and trained a few pigs of mixed genetic heritage, which have been trained very well to find food in the forest. Truffles, eggs, various roots. He’s also trained them to stand guard, and a few other useful tricks.
9) A lot of the conflict will be centered around the boy and his pigs surviving as camp followers. Soldiers love bacon, but commanding officers like interesting food like wild fowl eggs, berries, truffles, mushrooms, and various small animal and snake meat. Eventually, of course, the boy proves his worth and the worth of his pigs, and becomes a honorary soldier/mascot with the nickname ‘Piglet’. The soldiers still dream of bacon, especially one or two who will probably be villains of the piece, but most of them will fight to protect their mascots.
10) The first story will be short, 75kish words. Somewhere around 15 chapters. It will also be my first story to publish unless I make a real soup sandwich out of it.
Oh, and it will give me an excuse to learn about stone age / hunter-gatherer tools, weapons, and armor, and try to imagine ways that water power and perhaps some primitive steam power would be used in a society with almost no metals. None of the little bits are set in stone (hah!) but I’m definitely going to be writing something like this.