When I wrote an essay on parallel universes, it gave me the chance to consider some excellent examples of genre literature from very talented authors. But I deliberately ignored many more examples of poor fiction on the subject; that second number far outweighs the first, which is a depressing subject for another day.
The subject of parallel dimensions fascinates me; if it does’t fascinate you, why on Earth are you reading this post? I worked on a parallel dimensions story a few years ago, but couldn’t make it work – I was trying to write three separate stories or, more accurately, one story but from three different perspectives, and I just didn’t have the skill to make that work. I still don’t. The same person existed in all three dimensions, but the story took different twists and turns because of their experiences, life histories, and current situation – all of those things will influence how you respond to any given situation. Think back through your own life; how did you react to a situation at 21, and how would you respond to the same situation now at 37?
Imagine, now, that you’re 37 with all of your current knowledge, and then try to imagine with yourself with knowledge and wisdom based on entirely different experiences. That’s impossible to imagine, of course, since the only knowledge you have is the one currently in your head. But at least try for this theoretical thought experiment; if you had different experiences, then would you react differently to the same situation? Well, it’s entirely possible – probable, in fact – so that’s why parallel universes fascinates me. What would I be like with different life experiences? A better person? A worse one? About the same?
Scientists can’t prove the existence of parallel dimensions, but there seems to be a determination amongst a small number to find out the truth. One thing makes me vaguely wonder out loud; if we did find out that there were other parallel dimensions out there, with duplicates of us in each (or most) of them, then would we find one where parallel universes didn’t exist – that, someone, it was shut off the rest from the deck of cards? A strange thought, granted, but one that I’ll leave you to consider.
A new story I’m currently drafting is on the subject of parallel universes, and it’s come out of the fertile recesses of my strange and dark mind. I’d been thinking about part of this story for a long time, and have always been oddly fascinated by alternate versions of my own life … and of those lives around me who have lived eventful lives and could have easily experienced different forks in the road.
I was inspired to start writing this long-considered story when I met up with a fellow writer – let’s call him Seb, as that’s his name – and mentioned I was waiting for edits to come back on my current book from The Lord & Master at Inspired Quill. Knowing me as he does, he immediately what I was working on whilst I waited. I told him how I was writing my blog, but that I was thinking (as I did regularly) about this parallel universe concept. I then mentioned that I would work on it one day when I had the chance.
Of course, he told me that “one day” and “when I had the chance” might never come, and why was I waiting for that day when I’d got some free time right time? There wouldn’t be enough time to complete the entire project – writing a book can take six to nine months, at least for me – but I could at least draft something that would allow me the chance to consider where I could take the story.
So I have indeed spent two or three weeks on it, planning a rough outline that – even at this early stage – made me consider what was going to work and what wouldn’t. I then went through a slightly less rough second version of the draft outline and came out with a twist to the ending, which pleased me; I hadn’t expected that, and it allowed me to be freer with various elements earlier on in the story.
But now I’ve received the edits back from the Archbishop of Writing herself at Inspired Quill for the novella coming out this year, so this story has to be put on hold for a while. I need to make sure I’m entirely focused on my Elysium universe whilst this sits in a silent corner of my laptop; I will make the distinction because my commitment to a multi-series series is absolute … but there will always be a bit of me thinking of parallel dimensions. Because the “what if” is always a pleasure to consider.