Project #2: Santa Clara


Posted on October 1, 2014 by

Over the next few posts, I will be discussing all the different projects I have underway. I’m doing this to help me figure out where I am in each one, what’s blocking me from moving on, and what I can do to move forward.

Today’s project came out of someone mentioning in Twitter that large cast, epic-level portal fantasies don’t get written anymore and that got the muse going. The main character of this projected triology is the world itself, a pocket universe populated by people from Madrid who originally begged the Basque mother goddess to rescue them from the Spanish Civil War. Later immigrants are other MadrileƱos who have nothing to lose – families living on the edge of ruin, young adults with no hope of any sort of future, generational-long poor. For every ten years that pass in the pocket universe, a portal opens for one month in an inner Madrid neighborhood. However, it’s not sequential. One decade, the month might connect with December 1956, then the next time it opens it’s May 1988.

Santa Clara is a scary project. It goes straight at every writing weakness I have. More than a writing project, it’s an experiment, and a self-imposed lesson. If it comes out as a coherent story then I will win doubly.

I tend to write small stories, tales whose stakes only really affect the main character. Will they grow up? Will they change in the way they need to so that they can find a place in the world? The stakes in Santa Clara are enormous – the actions of the characters could result in the end of the world. Some characters are immortal, or nearly so while immigrants who do the hardest work of carving out new land from the void surrounding the pocket universe have a rather short life expectancy. After several centuries as the world gets large enough to be difficult to control from the center, cracks appear in society and that’s where the triology starts from. Will the world destroy itself as it moves into the next phase of growth?

I also tend to be heavily plot-driven. If something doesn’t directly move the plot forward, I tend not to include it. Given, however, that Santa Clara is the main character, I need to spend a good chunk of time making readers live

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