The Power of the Prequel
If you are anything like me, when you hear the news that a prequel may be in development for a particular series, movie, book or collection of books – you begin to wonder how they did one without the other … or … if they realized far too much later what mistakes may have been made along the way which could only be properly corrected in a connect the dot and dash sort of misaligned timeline tweak.
Really, what did come first, the chicken or the proverbial egg?
Now scientifically speaking, it can and has often been theorized (never proven but certainly suspected … maybe…) that there are always multiple timelines in play at any one given time due to decisions, fate or the general warble, twist and mitigation of events (for reference see six degrees of separation portrayed in so many ways…)
When I initially began developing what would go on to become my Weird Wild West series as it sits today, I did so for a writing contest with the story of vampires playing games with the law in the weird wild west days of old as they collected bounties by having each take a stab at being the one hung and the one who caught him to collect the bounty.
The story enchanted me as I wrote it and I will fully admit that without a proper game plan whatsoever, I set out to pen other short stories of that particular time and place while having developed yet more characters that grew yet further on me.
I was fortunate to have an online website accept each story on its own merits while the timeline became quite chaotic as I moved to and fro along with back and forth with the various characters involved.
As luck would have it, I discovered Wattpad.com along the way which allowed me to yet further explore the stories in a much more organized fashion and as yet further luck would have it, get me to put them in actual novel form for a contest from which the books are now today.
Flash forward to my having listened to a certain trio of authors (Lindsay Buroker, Joseph Lallo and Jeffrey Poole) who have been very instrumental in how I do things now along with their particular topic one day about a genre entitled “space opera“.
Yes, I too have seen the Alien series multiple times (even own them on DVD) and I too am well aware that in space no one can hear you scream let alone perform an opera of most any sort…
That being said, I figured that it would be a fun adventure to bring a certain paranormal twist to a futuristic space story (as if that hasn’t been done at least a few dozen times or more already, right?)
So much like my initial Dead-Men Hanging for the Weird Wild West series, ‘Starfall’ became my stepping stone and for all intent and purposes I had it nearly complete with the subsequent followup ‘Starling’ started as well with a proper hand off in place between them so that proper continuity would exist accordingly.
I even had come up with a proper name for the series along with and with much and many creative thanks to the artist Vikram Mulligan who created it, a ship named Dalea – as in the Dalea Chronicles.
At this point in my process I was confident that I had come up with a proper story line and set of characters that told a great and proper tale … or did it… well @#$#$%…
With any story in rough draft development, nagging questions often abound during such a creative marathon as in: who the !@$@, what in the bloody !$!#$#, why the @#%$ (it’s not your filter, I actually typed that to weird you the !$@$# out) and where was I going with this…
So I went back to sooth unruffled feathers of doubt and concern while I went even further back and began crafting the first prequel (yes you can have several as it would and may yet still turn out) to solidify what I had already written.
Easy, peasy … right?
The whole entire purpose of the ‘BIOGenesis’ story was to tee-up what was to come in ‘Starfall’ in such a way that the previously ruffled feathers would smooth out and lay flat.
Easy, peasy … right?
Well, yes and no … and not so much actually.
While I may have once again had a story pretty much mapped out, I began to realize that I really would need to take yet one more step further back in the proverbial timeline to qualify and perhaps even better quantify the back story that will need to be properly in place for any of the next few books to make any sort of proper sense – even to me who wrote them.
Hence the well intentioned and purposely crafted precursor to the prequel was born.
Wait, what? Precursor? Yes, if you are still reading this you may also wonder how it is that I chose not to call it the prequel to the prequel.
The reason for this is that ‘Akkadian‘ may not necessarily become considered as part and parcel of the Dalea series but rather a part of its own bridge series (see where I may go with that at some point?) from past to future – and slash proverbial or – a followup to the fourth book in my Weird Wild West series, which at some point I will go back and finish but … for now … sigh… so yeah, Akkadian for now is an island between to continents as it were.
The good and perhaps better news of the lot is that with the fourth book in my Weird Wild West series which in turn has become a possible start for a Weird Wild East series mostly mapped out, I can play on events and perhaps yet further develop them through reference rather than actually having had to step yet further back while using relationships and new characters found in that particular story to further build a foundation for the current series and its two prequels of one sort or another.
Fortunately much of the ruffled feathers which started all of these shenanigans have become enchantingly soothed and many of the questions that caused such constipation, er I meant concern (I really did) have been answered and from ‘Akkadian’ through what will be rewritten and perhaps yet further quantified in ‘BIOGenesis’, my original stab at a space opera will be that much better even if I am the only one that may ever think so.
Pick any series or set of books that you really enjoy and sit back to wonder what they may have looked like in draft form compared to what you ended up enjoying… Scary to consider, am I right?
So if there is any sort of moral to this long and hopefully entertaining post – if you are still reading it, it would be that if you write a story, consider what comes before before you consider what may come after you fall through that @#%$ rabbit hole…
Along with looking before you publish which can save you much misalignment from the past later.
Just some food for proverbial thought to consider as an artist.