As Sever Squad nears its end, I'm still surprised this motley squad ever made it off the drawing board. Rovo, Aurora and the rest blew in from the stars as a doodle, a I-just-wanna-write reaction to some of the more thickly plotted works I was spinning up at the time.
Think your carefully crafted dinner to ordering take-out and you get where my head was at when I started in on Drop Zone. These five, hardened soldiers, were supposed to be almost straight caricatures. They would arrive, blast away at the monster of the week and depart, ready to be pulled out whenever I needed another palette cleansing novel to write.
Instead, Sever, as is often the case with me (and, I imagine, most writers) grew into a larger story. Gregor's relationship with his past and his parents, Eponi's desire (or not) to go back into kart racing, those little injections came from the characters themselves as they found motivations for their own choices. What should've been a run-and-gun scenario added color.
More than that, too: Sever created a galaxy larger than the one I expected. Whole systems developed to explain how you could have a corporation running so much security for the civilized systems of the world. Much of that didn't make it into the books themselves--if there was something of Sever's original vision that stayed in the final product, the lean size and laser-focused narrative would be it.
Still, getting a series to its completion inevitably brings about the search for corners not explored, for doors not opened. Sever leaves a wide swath in the dark, ripe for deeper digging, and yet for now, I plan on leaving that only to the reader's imagination. While I'll never shut off a universe for good, I (personally) only have time to tell so many stories, and right now I have a long list of characters crashing my gates, wanting their time to shine.
So what comes next, after these space adventurers find what they've been looking for (whether they really want to see it or not)?
I'm going to be warping back to The Hero's Code. I'm not entirely sure how many novels it will take to send Kat, Calvin, Mynx and the others through to the ends of their quests, but their stories long to be told. It'll be nice to hop out of space for a bit: much as I love zipping across the stars, handling all the techno-magic explanations for how systems work in vacuum can get exhausting.
Sometimes, you just want to hang out with a space marine while they save the day, you know?