I think one of the best things I enjoy about a good author is when he (or she) creates a large universe and writes many books, weaving them all into the same universe. They can even be separate series and might only mention characters the reader fell in love with before (although I prefer if they make a small appearance at least), but the reader knows it’s the same world.
Because of that, I decided to write all my scifi books and short stories in the future universe I’ve created and weave them all together. After all, one writes what one likes to read. Sadly, I have not stayed true to that each and every time. (I have a paused WIP-work in progress- that is somewhat of a genre mash-up that didn’t quite fit into my universe. I also have a superhero/scifi/spy short story that is the base for a series.)
For the most part however, I have really enjoyed writing like this and planning future books in this manner. In my opinion the best perk is how this deepens my plots. How? Each element I add to my universe gets absorbed into the plots of stories I’ve written and am rewriting and stories I am planning so that the plots morph and are enriched. Let me give you an example.
The main villain of my universe is Sir Sloan Storm, the ruthless leader of the Castorian system. He is unbelievably crafty, with an untold number of plans and plans within plans, quite the strategist. His brother, Commandant Chalmers, happens to be the leader of the ISF [Intergalactic Space Force of the united people] and is arguably the most powerful man in the universe. The ISF is large and all about freedom and protection of people’s cultures, especially their own. These two men are at odds because it is Sloan’s intention to take over the universe and rule it with an iron fist, especially the ISF. He is outgunned and doesn’t have the technology needed to do this though. But does that stop him? Of course not. He has many plans on how to weaken and ultimately destroy the ISF.
Now that the history is out of the way, I’ll show you my example. My original book (which is now two books) involved Storm’s attempt at grabbing a weapon capable of obliterating large meteors and severely damaging planets, not to mention the largest ISF spaceships. He encounters my protagonists though, teens with possibly the best technology that age had seen, and is deterred.
Due to writing contests, I had written multiple short stories featuring characters from my universe. Unfortunately, many of these short stories weren’t supposed to be scifi, at least not fully. So I created a very advanced virtual reality machine in order to create a western/scifi short story. This virtual reality machine was used in several short stories and is the main thread of a short story trilogy. I originally didn’t even think about this, but now it is one of Storm’s best weapons against the ISF, and they don’t even know it.
Another thing I played with then finally settled on using is alternate universes. Once you open the door to that, tons of possibilities are available to you, and the plots…wow.
I still don’t know everything Storm is planning (I’m a sotp writer) but I am really enjoying all the unique twists that writing multiple stories in the same universe creates and weaving them together. My hope is that the end products will be just as thrilling, or even more so, to my readers.
What about you? Do you like interconnected stories and series? Is that something you plan on doing or would you rather do one series then a new series in a new world and so on?