I originally started the Deep Thunder blog as an experiment.
What I intended:
I wanted to see if I could tell a story in a bloggy first person format. I wanted to see if people would respond to it. I wanted to know if something like Deep Thunder could be shaped into an actual book. And - I thought it would be easy, something I could hack out without much effort while working on my real book. If Deep Thunder flew, well then it would be that first 'throwaway' novel to get my name out there.
What I've learned so far:
It appears on the face of things that I can, indeed, tell a story in this format. People do seem to be interested - I'm seeing roughly 400 to 500 hundred unique hits a week there and growing. I receive emails from a number of folks outside of my usual readership expressing interest. I believe it can be adapted, with additional material, into an actual print book.
It is not easy. Not at all.
It is a unique medium. I'm not sure anybody has done anything like this before. The potential is far greater than I first realized, and I'd be stupid not to take advantage of it. My former profession was in the field of Information Warfare, and my formal education is in Information Technologies, and as such I'm beginning to see the shadowy outline of something uniquely different in novel writing. For example: in one respect, this is much like the creation of a MMRPG where I create the story and the general 'verse, set the tone and direction, establish the rules and take all the credit, and others can create their own unique position in my world and play along. In another respect, it's almost like having people looking over your shoulder, writing fanfic before I've even decided to where I'm going. And in yet another respect it's a bit like publishing a serial comic strip. It's very strange, and complicated, and interesting (at least to me), and evolving. I can't wait to see where it goes.
Additional things I've learned or am in the process of learning:
- Deep Thunder requires an extensive outline. The characters require thought and background in order to make them real. I had not planned on this, intending at first to just 'wing it.'
- Comments are taking me in directions I had not anticipated, this is cool, but it often forces me to go back and think about things. I'm beginning to see that Van must respond just as a normal blogger would. The hateful comments from Anon Y Mous hit me almost personally at first, until I realized that they were directed at Van, not me. Van is emphatically not me, and I have to figure out how he will respond in the future. When the comment from John first appeared, I was pissed that anybody would be so crass as to take on one of my principles as their own. John is based on a real person and I intended very specific things for him. Then I reread the comment and realized that it was exactly what John would have said - in his very own voice. And this was too much of a coincidence to be coincidental, if you get my drift. It wasn't, the person John is based on is the commenter. This tickles me greatly and I have taken him on as a collaborator. So far John is the only commenter whom I know the identity of in real life - and I prefer to keep it that way for now.
- Because this is a blog format, much is left unsaid. Van must assume that the reader knows as much about the situation as he does, if not more. His perspective is limited and unless I make contrived entries, readers will be forced to fill in details on their own. This may lead to confusion on some people's part. This may lead a loss of interest on some reader's part. This may lead to weird and interesting comments. This is acceptable, but it requires a rigid set of rules on my part and careful thought. In order to make this a real book later, there will have to be extensive third-person material in between the first-person blog entries. There will also have to be additional 'blog' entries that do not appear online, along with some sock puppet comments from characters I've created (I am not making sock puppet comments as of yet, if I do, I will let you know before hand). This is also acceptable - because it means that you readers can participate interactively in the story online, or just read along, but later when this does become a full blown novel, you will get new material and background should you choose to purchase the book. You will also get the satisfaction of seeing your character suggestions appear in print (and yes, if it comes to that, I will be including a thank you page and a list of all those who participated and are willing to have their real names included).
- Due to it's nature, Thunder cannot be an action-novel as I had originally sort of intended. Not to say that there won't be action, but by it's very nature the story takes place inside Van's head and therefore it has grown legs, reared up, and changed direction on me. What it is, or will be, is a story of the human condition, or at least one human's condition and his perspective of those around him.
- Deep Thunder is work, something I had not anticipated. It is also fun, which is what I was hoping for. However, I now feel responsible. I feel like I'm letting the readers down when I don't post every day, or I post short entries, and it gnaws at me.
Where I going with this, as far as I can tell:
Introductions are done. Here's the summary: It has been implied that the world, the US in particular, is not a very nice place - a straight forward extrapolation of current events should the Conservatives win the next election and the war fail to end. You have the basic gist of what's going on, to wit: Signs in the Heavens, Angels of more than one stripe have appeared on Earth, they appear to be dead ringers for the creatures of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish text. Their nature has not been explained, they may be divine creatures, or they may be aliens of unimaginable sophistication. If they command technology, then that technology is firmly in the realm of Clarke's Law. If the government or the scientific establishment know the Angel's true nature, they haven't told Van. It has been implied that the Angels command fiercesome power, so far that power has been limited to transportation and manifestation and astrophysical events of a nature incomprehensible to most humans. Consider that setting the stage, obviously in book format there will be much more material - but for now we're going to jump forward a month and get into the story I really want to tell. Invasion and occupation.
What I think you can expect:
- Somewhat obvious parallels to the invasion and occupation of Iraq (something I know a bit about).
- I will do my very best to post every day. Now that I know where I going, that should be easier, unless you throw me a curveball in the comments section.
New entries will be up today as soon as I'm done proof reading and take care of a couple of things. Couple hours at least.
Thanks to all of you who have expressed interest and played along. I'm hoping that the rest of this story will be worth your time.