ELU post-launch wrap-up: what’s next?

It’s been a month since the launch of Each Little Universe, which is… weird and surreal and cool. I’ve felt a few things about it since then, some of which I think I’ll have to talk about separately, but overall I just feel really proud to have done it.

I’ve run a giveaway of a few copies, and indeed three signed paperback editions of ELU have now been given away! (or, at least, I’ve contacted the winners; I’m not gonna name them here, although they’re welcome to announce their glorious victory themselves if they’d like!) Thanks to everyone who entered; I really, really appreciate everybody who took the time to sign up for any of the three draws.

(Oh, and if you’ve somehow found yourself here without knowing what Each Little Universe is… I’m impressed, but thanks. It’s my debut novel, a comic urban fantasy about nerds and pop culture and maybe existential philosophy, I dunno. Check out this page to learn more!)

Speaking of people I appreciate, I have to say a quick thank-you here to Alex Sigsworth, who not only wrote a wonderful review of Each Little Universe but was kind enough to discuss it at some length with me, which was very cool. He also pointed out quite a few typos I’d missed, and he has certainly been responsible for improving the quality of the final product. I know there are still a couple (I seem to see a new one every time I look, because that’s just how the world works), but I hope it’s not bad for a first attempt.

And, before I say anything else, the biggest thanks is always owed to my other half, Hannah. She is probably even more responsible than I am for the fact that ELU ever made it out of my head and into an actual published thing, and will absolutely be the reason that anything else I ever manage to do gets done.

So I guess the question now is… what do I do next?

Well, I’ve got a few ideas, and to keep myself accountable to actually doing at least one or two of them I figured I’d share them! I definitely want to do more novels, and if people like them then that’ll just be a bonus.

So, with no definite promises on order, timescales, or quality, here are the things in the works. These are just vague ideas, not polished synopses or blurbs (and all ideas are subject to change as the things develop), but perhaps there’ll be something that piques your interest.

If any of this does intrigue you, please do let me know. I’m going to be needing beta readers before too long, with any luck. (Seriously, I’m really gonna need a good group of beta readers, so please raise your hand if you’d be up for that.)

I Am The Chosen One

Back in uni, a friend and I wrote a stage play together. It was actually half-decent, I reckon (every member of the cast was amazing), and it gave us a good reason to hang out despite not being geographically near each other. We fancied having that reason again, so we’ve decided to turn the play into a novel. It’ll take a bit of work to make it function in a different format, but I’m excited to see how it turns out.

I Am The Chosen One (as with everything on this list, title not fixed) is about a bizarre village full of anachronisms and strange behaviours. When a baby is born who seems to be the Chosen One, the question all the villagers have to ask is… chosen for what?

Through All Things A River

Originally started for National Novel Writing Month 2018, this story follows a girl who, on her search for her missing friend, winds up in strange worlds where identity is an actual physical substance, and a strange force seems to be making everyone in all the worlds less and less sure about what makes them who they are.

This might end up being two novels, or one story in two parts, not sure yet. I’ve got… probably about a third of a first draft and a fairly detailed synopsis of the rest!

Supernatural Suplex… Stuff

Yeah, I don’t have a title for this one (although Godpunchin’ has been floating around). This is another collaboration – a friend (not the same one from Chosen) and I have worked out most of the plot for something that was originally conceived as an audio drama. Still might be, but I realised that we would have to find a cast and stuff, which sounds a lot of effort, so… who knows.

Anyway, this story follows the amateur investigations of a couple of wrestling fans who think that something weird might be going on at the indie promotion that’s just opened up shop near them. Is the disappearance of the show’s biggest star just a storyline, or is there something more sinister at work? (Spoilers: course there is.)

Fixer’s Breakers

This one is a half-finished first draft with a few big ideas but no real plan for where to take it, so I think the whole thing will need hefty revising before it becomes anything proper.

Essentially, Fixer’s Breakers is about a breaker’s yard (also known as a scrapyard) at which our protagonist gets a job. For some reason it transpires that it’s not really a scrapyard at all – they do do scrapyard stuff, but they’ll also fix pretty much any problem that they’re asked to solve.

Nobody’s asked them, as such, to solve the problem of the eldritch abominations popping up, but fortunately they might just be the best ragtag gang for the job.

Solarpunk Murder Mystery Wushu Progression Fantasy Series

Now, I find it pretty hard to work out what genre most of my stories fit into. ELU is maybe sort of magical realism, maybe a bit of urban fantasy, some buddy comedy stuff, I dunno. I don’t tend to think too much about what sort of story I’m doing, is the point, but I fancy having a go at tying myself down and writing one solidly genre-bound thing. Give myself a chance to play with conventions rather than just ignore them entirely.

Of course, I couldn’t just pick one genre, so it’s a bit of a fusion. This is still very loosely-defined, with few concrete ideas, but my conception here is that I’d really like to do a four or five-book progression fantasy series (a genre defined by a tight magic or power system in which the protagonist’s development – or gaining levels – is a big part of the story). I want to explore a solarpunk world, so the magic system will be heavily based around light and heat and there’ll probably be some mythology borrowed from Zoroastrian sun worship and that sort of thing.

I basically just fancy doing something a bit more like a proper fantasy story, but can’t be bothered not to make it at least slightly weird.

Chronicles from the World of Guilt

I’m inspired by a recent read: Tessa Hastjarjanto‘s Tales of Lunis Aquaria. I’ve known Tessa for a little while as a friend of a friend and the owner of the Narratess website, but since publishing ELU I’ve had the chance to talk to her a bit more and she is absolutely awesome. Just, like, as a person.

Since she’s a cool person, I figured I’d probably enjoy her books, and (so far) I’m being proven correct! Tales of Lunis Aquaria is a collection of short stories all set in the fantasy world of Lunis Aquaria; though they all stand alone, feeling like new takes on the fairy tale or fable sort of genre, they also hint at a bigger picture, a huge world with a lot of characters, events, places, and stories left to explore.

This sparked something in my brain: I had a few concepts floating around that seemed as if they might be related, but I couldn’t work out how they might become a single story. Tales made me realise that they don’t need to be: why not create a short story anthology in which all of the stories take place at different times and places in the same overall world, contributing to a big picture but not needing to link so neatly? It seemed perfect, so Chronicles from the World of Guilt is now taking shape in my head.

I don’t really know the specifics of how many stories there’ll be, what they’ll all be about, but I think the world will lend itself to dark adventures, a bit of urban fantasy and a bit of horror – certainly it’ll be very different in tone from ELU, which I think should be fun for me!

Us Humans and Other People

I don’t really know what this is, but I like the title. I think it’s probably a short story collection, but I haven’t got any of the stories yet.

So, uh, we’ll see what happens there.

There you have it, then: one or more of those things will hopefully begin to take some sort of form that I can talk about in the near future.

(Oh – and there are two other things I’m not sure I’m allowed to be specific about right now, but suffice to say that there will hopefully be more published books including some of my work within a few months.)

My current… to-do list, I suppose, and the things I’m interested in right now, are leading me to believe that completing the first draft of Chronicles from the World of Guilt and going on a hunt for beta readers is probably the next thing that ought to get done. The idea was only conceived very recently, but it’s taking shape quicker than I thought; I’ve got a couple of stories written and a few more planned, so that may reach a state resembling a first draft sooner than I was expecting. I’m also working on building the world for Multi-Genre Fantasy Series Thingy, but I don’t expect to be able to start drafting for a little bit.

As for Chosen, I’m hoping that’ll be a thing that keeps progressing soon too, but I and my co-author are mostly in that one just to hang out with each other so we’re not putting any pressure on ourselves timescale-wise.

Basically, publishing ELU has just made me want to do more. Before, I thought I was a guy who’d written one novel; now, I think I’m a guy who can in fact write more things, and perhaps even get them from planning to publishing in a bit less than five years each. We’ll see.

Anyway, I hope that everyone who’s read ELU has enjoyed it, or at least that it was not-bad enough that the prospect of me writing more doesn’t seem like the worst thing that could possibly happen. If you did like ELU, or if you’re excited by any of the ideas above, let me know! I’d be thrilled to talk about stuff, and if you think you could lend a hand as a beta reader then that’d be even better and you’d get to read stuff before anyone else.

If you haven’t already, please do consider signing up for the occasional email to get the latest info on whatever comes next as soon as I know. I expect I’ll give away some more stuff in future, possibly to those on the mailing list, so it might well be worth it!

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Published by Chris Durston

Writer of stuff. Y'know. Words and that.

7 thoughts on “ELU post-launch wrap-up: what’s next?

    1. That is definitely one of the ones I want to do earlier rather than later in the sequence, but I think I’ll need to spend a while getting my eye back in for it. Should really have powered through and finished it while I had momentum on it; I think it’ll be hard to pick up again, but I definitely do want to!

      Liked by 1 person

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