Posted on August 4th, 2013
I’ve never had great luck working in other people’s settings. I get inspired and my imagination takes over, inventing new species, scenarios, and societies without regard for the playbook. I tried vigorously to write in Jeremy’s Baeg Tobar setting, and while I managed to complete one short story, I couldn’t take on the daunting task of editing the playbook. Instead of building castles in the sandbox, I bulldozed it and built my own castle right on top of it.
When Chris Welsh approached Outland, we were drawn into his Seven Stones project, which involved writing in his Wrecked Earth setting. I groaned inside but decided to give it a shot. A page into his world description, I was hooked. For me, it’s the ideal setting. I have been plotting out a post-apocalyptic story set in an Ayn Rand wet dream wasteland. The Wrecked Earth tapped into that same brain-space while offering fun new features to play with:
- An onslaught of radioactive meteors have totally changed the landscape. (NEAT!)
- Mutant animal herds scour the land. (F–K YEAH, I LOVE ANIMALS.)
- Meteors still fall from the sky, bludgeoning holes in the earth and wreaking havoc on upstart civilizations. (SOUNDS LIKE FUN TO ME!)
What I appreciate about Chris Welsh’s concept that it realistically showcases the hardships of life without internet, infrastructure, or government. But it also shows us a world where we are free of those things. It shows us how we have traded freedom for safety and how we could actually become more self-sufficient and community-oriented in the face of disaster. I get a little spike of yearning when I think of a world where my presence actually mattered in my community, where I could contribute to others’ well-being in a tangible way. There is no community where I live, just a bunch of people shoved up against each other, grudgingly tolerating each other’s booming low riders, hateful signs, and barking dogs.
(The apocalypse fantasy is something I’ve thought about a lot, especially as it relates to zombies. Another post perhaps.)
The Seven Stones project is seven writers paired with seven artists, each writing a story set in The Wrecked Earth. Editing the project, I am most impressed with the variety of interpretations and uses of the setting. Each writer stays true to it, but each story is different from the next. And the art is similarly varied, offering unique visions linked by a common theme. I am both thrilled and honored to be a part of this innovative adventure in storytelling.
Chris has orchestrated a Kickstarter to fund the project (mostly to pay the artists a page rate and to throw a few cents per word to the writers). Check it out! There are some really nice rewards available for backers.
- Meet Chris Welsh and read more about The Wrecked Earth setting.
- Check out Clutch: Book One of The Wrecked Earth on Amazon.
- Visit the Kickstarter page to learn more about the Seven Stones experiment.