The Journal: More on Shared Worlds

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: More on Shared Worlds
* Today
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“The toughest thing we do as artists is trust our own vision. If we don’t, we will not end up with a long career. … What good writers do is make familiar stories new, so new in fact that they seem breathtakingly original.” — Kristine Kathryn Rusch

And for those of you who write in series, this one really struck me:

“When you’re writing in your own world, you don’t go for the details that the fans expect. You keep that world organic and original to your vision. If you don’t, then you suck the energy out of your creation.” — Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Topic: More on Shared Worlds

I’m posting this today mostly because I had a kind of epiphany yesterday that I want to share.

I didn’t write fiction. I got sidetracked and did some work on the bible for the forthcoming shared world I mentioned here awhile back.

As I was doing that, I realized I have more than one world that’s large enough to open up to other writers. That was the first part of the epiphany.

The second part was a stark reminder that working as a licensor (vs. only a publisher) takes time and patience.

I was originally going to open up my one shared world to other writers on January 1, 2020. Yesterday, I realized that’s too soon.

Not because I can’t have the bible for the original shared world ready by that time — I can, easily — but because I’m currently in a Shared Worlds class with Dean and because I haven’t done all the shared-world research I can do yet.

In other words, I’m learning on behalf of myself and all those who will eventually write in my shared world. And I want potential writers in that world to share in as few mistakes as possible.

When you set out to be a professional fiction writer, you write the best story or novel you can at the time and publish it. Then you learn new things — so your best becomes better — and apply those things to your next work (never look back!), which you then publish. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s the same when you’re starting any new venture. Mistakes and missteps are inevitable. So you make those mistakes and missteps. You learn new things from them (and other sources), and then you enter a minor course correction and continue moving forward.

So I intend to learn as much as I can and make as many mistakes as I can before I open up my shared world(s) to others. I want the burden of my mistakes to be mine alone as much as is reasonably possible.

To that end, my plan is to delay the official launch of my shared world(s) until mid-2020 at the earliest. If I had to put a “latest” date on it, that date would be January 1, 2021.

In the meantime, here’s a teaser of sorts —

1. In the “WEO” (World Equality Organization) shared world project, the genres will be wide open: Romance, Science Fiction, Crime, Science Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Action-Adventure, War, Political Intrigue, Historical, etc. In fact, I can’t think of a genre that wouldn’t be appropriate. So a lot of possibilities there.

2. Any fantasy writers out there? More specifically, any magic realism writers? If so, you might want to write in my “Keeper of the Promise” (magic realism) shared world. The new king has ascended to the throne of the world and, though his agents, metes out justice. But always under the umbrella of magic realism. The Keeper of the Promise shared-world stories will occur in that place where reality folds into fantasy.

3. Any action-adventure, crime, thriller authors out there? If so, you might want to write in my Blackwell Ops shared world. Or even branch out to work in opposition to Blackwell Ops. Blackwell Ops is a private organization. TJ Blackwell vets assignments, collects fees, and then sends his operatives around the world to carry out those assignments—which usually have to do with assassination. Plenty of room here for elements of almost any commercial genre.

That’s only three shared worlds, and once I open them up, you’ll be able to write in any or all of them. You’re limited only by your own interest.

And I have several more shared worlds rattling around in the back of my mind, including the (western) Wes Crowley world; the (wide-open) world of Agua Perlado (a small fiction fishing village on the Pacific Coast of Mexico); the they-came-here future-Earth (SF) world of The Consensus; the we-went-there other worldly (SF) world of “The Rain Cart”; the throwback (noir) detective world of Stern Talbot; and the (time travel, action-adventure) world of Nick Spalding.

Some of those will make the cut and become shared worlds, worlds in which others are allowed to write. Others probably won’t.

For now and over the next few months, be thinking about which of those worlds interests you, in which of those worlds you might want to write stories or novels. Then let me know. You can leave a comment or you can email me directly at Your interest will inform my decision of which worlds to open up.

This is an exciting prospect for me, and I hope, for you. Writing in any of these worlds will enable you to write in your chosen genre(s) while stretching your skills and opening your mind to other genres. It will be a win-win for you.

And when I do formally announce the opening of one or more of these shared worlds next year, I will have learned enough to absorb any risk.

Today I’ll write on the novel, and I’m considering moving my writing ‘puter up to the house, at least for the winter. If I do, I’ll move the other computer to the Hovel, and attend to email, Facebook, etc. when I need a cigar break.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

Via Diane Stoddard, see “Welcome to Noraville, the Small Maryland Town Rebuilt by Nora Roberts” at Beneath the surface, this is a primer on licensing. Think of what you could do with your worls, characters, and other parts of your stories outside of publishing.

See “What Tweets and Emojis Did to the Novel” at

See “E-books at libraries are a huge hit…” at This is a must-read if you’re a writer. “Go wide!” it screams. “Go wide, young writer!”

For another take on the critical voice, see “Resistance Thrives in Darkness” at

See “A Vivid Character Is More Than a Series of Attributes” at

See “Beware the Platitude Trap” at More on this tomorrow in the Journal and at PWW on Saturday, November 30. (grin)

See “The Writing Habit I Needed the Most” at Note that I do not necessarily agree with or recommend what I post in “Of Interest.” My only comment on the OP would be that, for a writer, the “area that needs my attention the most” would be writing the next story. But importantly, this writer found a way to alleviate the pressure he was feeling, so good for her.

The Numbers

Writing of Blackwell Ops 7: Philip Dunstan
(Brought forward…… 25849)

Day 16…… 1700 words. Total words to date…… 27549
Day 17…… 1018 words. Total words to date…… 28567
Day 18…… 1687 words. Total words to date…… 30254

Fiction words yesterday…………………… 0
Nonfiction words today…………… 1210 (Journal)

Total fiction words for the month……… 10886
Total fiction words for the year………… 395979
Total nonfiction words for the month… 20410
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 301490
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 697469

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 197
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31