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A Shared Universe - Rathcrog and beyond


I didn't set out to create a shared universe when I started writing novels, it just happened.


I can hear the question already (having heard it in the past) - "Wait, don't you have things all planned out, starting with an outline of the story and detailed character descriptions, perhaps with a chart connecting various events to characters and their story arcs?"


Um... yeah, sure. Of course.


Actually...no.


I know other writers who do just that, or perform similar planning steps when getting ready to put electronic pen to virtual paper. But that ain't me.


My writing process is closer to that of Jubal Harshaw, a character in a Robert Heinlein novel. Here he is describing his own writing habits:


He claimed that his method of literary composition was to hook his gonads in parallel with his thalamus and disconnect his cerebrum entirely; his habits lent some

credibility to the theory.


Throw in some hard cider or Guinness and it's pretty close to my style.


No, I don't recommend it for everyone. Do what works for you.


But I digress (again).


Shared universe, right.


One of the main characters in Rathcrog hails from a small (fictitious) New Hampshire town called Bridgett. There is a brief passage in Rathcrog about Bridgett that mentions an odd sounding place there, a combination flea market and trailer park. That place, the Sun Market and Trailer Park, is the setting of one of my adult contemporary novels, A Parade in Every Town.

Spoiler: Tentative publication is mid 2024


An ancillary character in Parade ended up being a major supporting character in my recently completed novel, Brotherly Love. One of the supporting characters in that book will take more of a center stage in a cozy mystery I'll be starting in the coming months.


And on it goes. All set in the same universe, with occasional cross-overs between characters and books.


I will admit that while initially it just sort of happened, these days I just take for granted that Sister Tina (Brotherly Love) might decide to stop at the Sun Market while traveling through New Hampshire and, while there, meets Sloe and Welp Francis (Parade), or that Tim Lovell (Food Court War) might bump into Saul, aka Abbot Bede (Brotherly Love) while they both happen to be on trips to the mountains of West Virginia (Rathcrog).


Lives and stories running parallel, crossing, sometimes intertwining.


Like real life.


I'm sure that one or more of my future books will fall outside this universe, maybe spawning its own multiple stories in a different one. Who knows? I certainly don't. By the way, it's only my adult novels that share space. My children's books and stories are in their own little worlds...


Wait. Now that I'm thinking about it, King Pictairn (involving a grandfather, a young boy, and a tricky leprechaun) does exist in the current shared one.


Huh. A writer's mind is a funny place.


Thanks for reading.


 

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Guest
Nov 11, 2023

I love the criss-crossing of characters and settings here. I was considering doing the same, but unfortunately for me the dates didn't work out.

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For me, I just want to make sure any cross-overs that happen in this universe are because it works as part of the story, not just because I can

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