A Bigger Piece of Paper

The week just coming to a close was spring break. Perfect opportunity for me to sit down and catch up with all the writing that I need to do.  Well… okay, so it didn’t quite work out that way, but I had some time each day; was able to put out the next chapter of the work of Middle Earth Fan Fiction that I’m working on; post to Livejournal, and keep up with some Twitter and Facebook posting. Perfect.

Today, though suffering the after effects of a disturbed night, I took a look – a serious, good hard look, at the steps in the process of outlining for Use’ara’s Harm, which will be the first story in the series. I want to start putting the pieces together – it was one of the goals I had for this week – get a coherent outline and start writing in earnest. I very quickly came to the conclusion that I’m going to need a bigger piece of paper.

Probably makes no sense to people in this day and age… computers and all.  Here I am after all typing into a blog, through the internet on my computer.

True enough.

I looked back through years and years of posts on Livejournal for an entry I had written – back in 2008 as it happens, that explained my process. I wanted to see if it would work for the Use’ara series the way it did back then, and without giving away too much, (I’m sure I could explain the whole process if demand called for it), here’s an image to kind of demonstrate that – yes – I’m definitely going to need a bigger piece of paper.


That is a standard sized sheet of paper, and formed the basis of the outline of a story that was probably a third of the size that I anticipate Use’ara’s Harm will be. Kolya’s story, for example, navigates three distinct periods in time in UH, likely to take up a lot of the Mind Map. Then there’s the expedition (the humans) thread, and the Use’ara Native Peoples (The Usea and the Raeo), all of whom to fit onto one little sheet…?

A word about those native peoples… it feels strange to have come over eight years in the making of this universe and its multiple dimensions and to have finally settled upon names for what are essentially my ‘good guys’ and my ‘bad guys’ – though it might be better to call them by less binary absolutes… especially as the Raeo are – in some form or another – beings that our human characters have already met, but… (in the words of the Great Professor River Song,) “Spoilers!”

What’s adding to the feeling of needing a bigger piece of paper, is the decision I made to pull some core material from other works I had ongoing, because I felt they would fit better in this one – spinning a few things on their heads in the process – and feeling the need to make something common place in Science Fiction, the notion of instantaneous travel, (teleports, portals etc), somehow new again. I don’t think that’s going to be entirely possible. Someone once said of music that there are only so many ways you can put a finite series of notes together to make a tune… it seems that there are also only a finite number of ways to dismantle someone’s atoms and put them back together in another place than the original… I have to admit, it’s been – still is in some respects – a sticking point for me.

Still, one of those, ‘cross that bridge when you come to it’ moments, and I don’t want to let it hold me back any more.  Whether my method of insta-travel remains teleport or becomes dimension gates, or something else entirely remains to be seen. First things first. I need an outline.


About Eirian Houpe

Writer and Teacher. Published works: Eternal Dance (as Linden S Barclay) and articles for Wigston Magna Dog Training Club, and SFX Magazine.
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