Last night, on the fan subreddit (reddit.com/r/Iteration110Cradle), I did an impromptu AMA* in which I had some fun answering fan questions.
There was one question, or set of questions, that stuck with me afterwards and I continued thinking about today. And those boiled down to "What story are you going to write next?"
Once I finish Elder Empire and release the next Cradle book or two, I'll probably start something new. I might return to Traveler's Gate or write a Cradle spin-off or something, but I really love making up new things. That's what I always look forward to.
So I thought I'd share my thoughts on the matter!
First of all, I haven't decided anything. I tend to change my mind on this subject eagerly and often, so I'll jump from idea to idea whenever I feel like it.
But here are some of the things going through my head:
--I've worked on a world that's more game-y than I normally write. Not exactly a LitRPG, but something like a tabletop RPG world, e.g. a D&D-style universe in which the people have figured out the rules of magic over the generations through trial and error.
--I've written a few notes on a possible system in which people have certain slots for abilities that they can fill in "builds," so to speak. This started as a supplement for the aforementioned RPG world, but it might end up evolving into its own thing. For instance, you might be able to learn three supernaturally enhanced talents, two contracted items or creatures, and one active ability.
People try to fill those gaps as synergistically as possible, but everything has a rarity rating. And one character won't settle for any ability less than legendary, even if the all-legendary abilities don't work synergistically with one another at all. So he'll take a loss or refuse to take an awesome opportunity just because it isn't rare enough.
Anyway, I think I could have some fun with it.
--I've always wanted to try to write a death game sort of story, something like Fate/Stay Night, Basilisk, or (weirdly) The World Ends With You. I like the idea of working with a finite cast of characters, each with a strong backstory and motivation, that gets whittled down all the way to the end.
Unfortunately that concept tends to work better for a standalone than a series, but it's a dream I come back to every once in a while.
--I also have a loose idea rattling around in my head about a more traditional fantasy epic with a bunch of different factions that have unique identities and histories and are represented by superhuman champions.
In this world, if you accomplish enough as a mortal, you evolve into a higher version of yourself. These mythical heroes then tend to clash with one another for various competing goals that shape the history of the world.
--I'd also love to write a survival fantasy story, if I can figure out how. The Martian is probably my favorite survival novel, but I don't know how I feel about the goal of getting back home being the primary motivation. Also, I want a solo battle of survival to be the focus, but at the same time any story gets boring if a character doesn't have anybody else to play off of.
Bonus points if it takes place on a magical ocean. Because then it's like Subnautica.
*Ask Me Anything: essentially an open Q&A session
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