Today I’m delighted to welcome Quan Williams to my blog. Let’s find out all his latest news!
What Quan Williams is working on Now.
I hope you guys have taken a minute to check out my Sci-fi/Horror novel GODMODE, and for those who did check it out, I hope you liked it. Meanwhile, I’m working on my next book.
This project started out as a fantasy comic book I was developing for an entertainment corporation I co-founded. The original title of the comic was called “Phalanx: Revolution” (named after my corporation, Phalanx International Inc.) and centered around a group of people uniting to change the world.
I wanted it to feel like an epic JRPG like Final Fantasy 7. I liked the idea of having a set number of powerful artifacts that could be used to change the course of the world, like in Fred Saberhagen’s “Book of Swords”. In fact, I liked the swords in those books so much I wanted to put them in my story. And I created people with personalities and styles to match those swords (I wasn’t thinking of copyright issues when I had the idea).
The characters were also based on the members of my ill-fated s-corporation. the comic book was going to be one of our corporate ventures, as well as a marketing/branding tool for the company and music group. I wrote scripts and did extensive thumbnails sketches for about 5 issues, and had a rough outline for the entire saga (even had a bit of input from my godsister/content editor) but when the company folded, so did my interest in telling that story.
Flash forward almost 15 years, and I’m looking for a new project to work on. I don’t want to go through the trouble of starting a new property up, and I have a plethora of undeveloped stories in the vault, so I dust a few of them off to see if any of them speak to me. This project did, because in the scripts were a bunch of moments that could be elaborated on and fleshed out.
So I dove in and did some new development on the story and characters, as well as a bit of worldbuilding. But some conversations with my godsister/content editor really helped me find a creative voice for the story. After reading “Pax Americana” which was Grant Morrison’s excellent homage to/critisicm of Alan Moore’s seminal “Watchmen” story, as well as an in depth article explaining, analyzing and annotating “Pax Americana”, I realized I wanted to someday write something worthy of such examination. And if I can write it someday, why not now? Up until now I hadn’t written any stories with any real depth, not at the Meta level. And material like that was brilliant, but always intimidated me. I wasn’t ready to dive that deep into the deeper meanings behind my stories. But after talking with my godsister, she gave me a vote of confidence and told me I was capable of it. So I decided to use this new epic as my stab at it.
The first obstacle was finding a message that could hold the weight of that much depth. Then there was the matter of finding material that correlated with it and finding a way to integrate it into the narrative. What did I want the story to SAY? I realized that the seeds to the answer for that were already planted in the story, especially within the title: Revolution.
With the volatile climate that was festering in the wake of incidents in Florida, St.Louis, New York and Cleveland where white males in positions of authority or high status got away with slaying African-American males, the idea of a downtrodden people rising up and taking definite action intrigued me. On top of that I had stumbled on the theory of “The Deep State” which is a network of the American Military-industrial complex which operated basically above the government. I thought that was a concept that had a place in my story, but it was just a backdrop and an explanation of why things were the way they were in my saga…until now. So I started digging deeper, examining three other major revolutions in history I could draw inspiration from: the French revolution, the Russian revolutions, and the Iranian revolution. I also looked a little at the Hatian revolution and the Brazilian slave revolts And in those studies I found some eerie similarities within them, as well as a disturbing connection to the Deep State. I could use that.
Then I started looking deeper into Fred’s 12 swords, and I found new elements of the swords that I can further build around, as well as a reference to one of Saberhagen’s earlier stories that also fit within the theme I’m trying to research. What if, instead of swords, my artifacts of power were gems that had the same effects? And since this was urban high fantasy, what if they were tied to the world’s magic somehow? I had also stumbled across the concept of the Orisha (African pantheon). What if each gem represented one of the Orisha, how would that change the perception and use of the gems, and of the people chosen to wield them?
With all of this information, then a narrative, a premise, and most importantly a message started to formulate. And here’s the final clencher. When deciding what story to rehash, I was debating between Revolution and a kung-fu high fantasy epic set in feudal China based on the story of the Wu Tang Clan rap group. But that was also a story of revolution, just like “The Revolution.” It was basically the same story in a different setting. What if I just combined the two? One of the coolest features of Watchmen was the story-within-a-story, with one of the characters reading a seemingly unrelated comic book that upon closer examination had a narrative that metaphorically mirrored what was going on in the story proper. What if I did something similar with my wu-tang story, maybe as a historical tome that shows that it isn’t the first time these events have happened in the world I’m writing about, and maybe also giving some insight into the origin of the gems?
So now I have a whole lot of new ammo to work with on this story, and it might end up being the deepest, most multi-layered thing I’ve ever written. Can’t wait to start.
By the way, if you’re interested in how my mind works, check out some of my ideas at http://www.quanwilliams.com. And if you haven’t checked out GODMODE, learn all you need to know about it at http://www.godmode.quanwilliams.com.