But there are times that I feel like I might be giving the wrong impression, since quite often a new character or situation is introduced in a story and I tell her, "Oh, yes, that pays off in three more stories."
Which gives the impression that I have a plan. As I've mentioned before, I usually start each story without any idea how the story will end, let alone what will happen three stories later.
So, if what I'm doing is not planning, what is it?
It's planting. I plant things for later, and some of them grow and some don't. I think, "Hey, maybe it will be useful to have an xxxx character later on. Let me introduce one now and see what happens." And, for various reasons, it often does work out that an xxxxx character does prove useful later on. And if some of them don't get used again, well, that just makes it more realistic. As I've said before, some things need to pay off, but it gets pretty predictable if everything does.
This is what makes it difficult to split up the mystery stories; they all depend on each other. Oh well. That's why they're also chapters in a novel.
In other news, Al Schroeder, the artist and writer of the webcomic Mindmistress, has put the series on hold, at least for now. I've talked before (usually in my anniversary posts) about how inspired I've been by Al's persistance (and, related to that, how much his art has improved compared to when he started – if you want to get better at something, do it every day for ten years and then compare).
But you also have to know when to stop, or at least take a break. If it stops being fun, the work will suffer. And what's the point of being non-professional if you can't stop when you want to? So, I'd like to raise a glass (or, at least, a mug of tea) to Al for the last ten years. I look forward to more stories, in whatever form (personally, I'm hoping he picks up with Flickerflame again – that story had some potential, I always thought...).
More of Stevie One is posted. This is the end of Part Six. There will be one more part, called (appropriately) "The Solution."