In the movie Spider-Man, Norman Osborne (who would become the Green Goblin) attempts to sell the military his soldier-enhancing drugs. When pressed by the generals about the drugs’ potential hazards versus it’s suitability, one of Osborne’s scientists reluctantly says, "We need to go all the way back to formula," thus undercutting the sale – and earning a grisly death for the scientist and generals later in the movie.
"Back to formula." As I sit here thinking about it, that’s the phrase that comes to mind when I think about my Sheyla stories.
As I referenced here, this one of my pet projects. I really like the main character and very much enjoy writing her. But as I consider it, I realize I was vastly unprepared to write about her adventures in her wider world, since I really don’t understand how her wider world functions. My world building has always been a fly-by-night operation. I can get away with it in a short story. But on a longer piece, I am only seeing the inconsistencies, not the strengths.
Some of the errors are products of me taking so long between tales that I forget things; for example, in one story I referred to the armies of the Innorian Empire as "Lancers" and in another as "Legionnaires." Both are placeholders anyway but it annoyed me to see the discrepancy in print.
Then there are more serious problems, such as the general tone of the Empire. In one story it seems like a benign non-entity and in another I made it amoral and power-hungry. I’ve had some geographical and weather inconsistencies. Even the history isn’t safe. These are the ones that drive me crazy.
Fortunately, it’s not a total loss. My characters have been consistent; I think I’ve given Sheyla some growth and looking over her development as a character and a woman, it all gels together. The plots are salvagable.
But I need to put some real thought into this world. I’m afraid this will require some real dedication on my part and at the moment, I’m hip-deep on another project (my novel).
What’s the "tl;dr" version? Sheyla is going on hiatus, until I have more time to devote to building up that world. As I said in a previous post, she’s kind of like a daughter. And the child deserves better than the half-assed attention I’m giving her.
Thus the post title. It feels like I am sending her away for a while. Parting is sad – but the end result will be better for us both.