Cindy Koepp

Writing on the Edge

Where Did This Story Come From Anyway?

Urushalon 1: Like Herding the Wind had a fairly convoluted path to get here. 


Believe it or not, it was not originally set in 1965. Nope. About 80 years earlier in 1885. No kidding. It was a western-science fiction mutation. Ed was a Texas Ranger. As I was plotting out the story, though, it sounded too much like an episode of Lone Ranger. Funny, but not what I was aiming for.


The problem, however, was that I didn't want it set in the future. Y'see, I needed the humans to have much lower tech than the aliens to the point that quick wireless communication couldn't happen. If I set it in the future too far, the aliens would need a McGuffin (a weird plot device) to disable the human tech at opportune moments. Could do that, but easier in my mind to just set the date too early for humans to have the alien-type tech. That settled the timing problem. 


Setting the story in 1965 had other technical problems, though. I didn't want this to sound like Emergency! or Adam-12. Both were a real possibility with the timing and location. Easier fix for that, though. I just structured the story line so that there was enough other weird stuff going on. 


The story started out as Wind Herding, a novella. As is often the case, my revisions of the story revealed scenes that were missing. A beta reader lost the plot a few times because things that had happened in my brain hadn't happened on paper. As I went through and added those parts and bulked up on the details, the story grew from 30K to 65K. A bit on the short side of the ideal novel length, but well over the minimum 40K. 


I ran it past a critique group ... who didn't care for it. Blargh. The endgame fracas was confusing and the stuff I'd set up for Part 2 should've been in Part 1. I combined Part 1 and 2 into a single work and submitted it to PDMI Publishing, but it never read right to me as a single tale. When I just tacked Part 2 on the end of Part 1, it read like I'd glued two stories together because, well, I had. If I interleaved the stories so both endgames happened in the ending of the book, it still read weird to me. Fortunately, the editor at PDMI saw it the way that I did and had me unhitch the two and make 2 separate books. 


Part 1 published through PDMI Publishing not long before they closed. Then Lumen Anime picked up the two-parter. Part 1 was published soon after, but Part 2 needed more work. I got some fantastic feedback from Kathy Tyers at a writer conference and revamped Part 2, improving descriptions and character reactions and other cool stuff of that ilk. After much tweaking, Into the Open is out in the world, too.


At this time, I don't have plans for a Part 3, but y'never know where the brain will go.


The avicopter artwork was done by the amazing Matt Ostrom.