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Crossover stories

Crumbly Writer

I'm curious, how many authors here utilize crossover, having the characters from one story interact with the characters in another. If you do, to what extent (i.e. is it based on a particular plot, or do you continually mix your characters).

I ask, because I've never had any crossover in my stories. Since my stories all occur in the 'indefinite present', there's no telling whether the time frames of one story correlate to the other stories. This is especially true with a apocalyptic event. It's kinda hard to interject other characters into those environments without tossing out the plot of the other story.

Finally, how do readers typically respond to this technique? When I encounter it in stories, I tend to groan and skip over the encounters as not being 'story specific' information.

Wheezer

Dual Writer utilizes this in his "Florida Friends" series. Also, quite a bit of it in the "Damsels in Distress" story universe.

Jay Cantrell

I do it frequently when the characters in the new story might have a reason to interact with those from an older story.

In my newest one a character had dealings with a record label. I thought "Why not make it one I have already created?"

My next story has the characters vacationing at a beach. I had already created a beach town so I sent them there.

In general, I get very positive resoonses from readers. They seem to like the nostalgia and that I try to portray the returning characters as having grown.

Jay C.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  jr88
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I have a few cross references in the Rivers Region stories, and there's some crossover between the Chaos Calls stories and Finding Home as well as Shiloh and the other DiD stories. However, in general, I don't crossover to other stories much, while a cross reference does happen from time to time.

docholladay

It depends on how its done. Any story has blank spaces in them, since no story tells every event in a 24/7 mode. That is impossible and would of course be boring as hell real quick.
One method is to fill a little of those empty holes in another story. This method can work when the stories basically occur during the same period of time whether its a short time frame or a longer one. An example of short time frames could be the Valentine stories by DW which fall in the Florida Friends universe/series story lines.

Another method makes it clear in one manner or another that the stories occur at different times. This can be done in several ways. DW uses the children to show the different years here rather than just out and out telling about it. The children are definitely older in the series type story and since he uses that method he does not have to actually give a date.

sejintenej

DW has just started yet another link to Florida Friends with the new "Money". It adds a bit to the original FF series timewise but also is somewhat separated (so far). I like it in this case.

Crumbly Writer

@Jay Cantrell

In general, I get very positive resoonses from readers. They seem to like the nostalgia and that I try to portray the returning characters as having grown.

That's probably the best explanation I've heard. It's not like the crossover is essential, it's just nice seeing a nice friend return on occasion. However, that mainly plays to your most loyal readers, leaving anyone else (i.e. new readers, or those who disliked a particular story) out in the cold.

Still, it's an intriguing dynamic.

docholladay

Also in DW's Florida Friends stories there are natural links available in almost all the stories. The customer links for any of the businesses. Very few actual customers are named, but business is booming. Who are the other customers?

Those are natural openings which can be used even in other stories. Rules for that are not to change a character's relationships or make any permanent changes like marriage without consulting the original writer first.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
jr88

@Jay Cantrell

I really enjoyed seeing a few of the characters from Daze in the Valley appear in a couple chapters of A Flawed Diamond. It was a fun callback that didn't detract at all from the story.

Replies:   docholladay
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Those are natural openings which can be used even in other stories. Rules for that are not to change a character's relationships or make any permanent changes like marriage without consulting the original writer first.

Alas, that's the problem with my stories. Most of the main characters either die in the end (or the beginning in one book), or they leave the planet, not to return until everyone else has died. That makes it hard to include any but minor charters.

It sounds like this technique requires more of a Daily Life type of story, where they recount the day to day interactions between people as they work in ongoing businesses, rather than people facing a trauma which upsets their entire lives, making them abandon their former lives.

Replies:   docholladay  Capt Zapp
docholladay

@jr88

I think its all in how its done. For example when characters fly to other places. Its acceptable to use commercial airlines and such. Well sometimes charters are the preferred method. Why re-invent a charter airline when another writer or writers have already invented one. Just become one of their unnamed customers. And that is just one example of a crossover connection available. There are many possible crossovers that when done right will help both story lines.

docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

Alas, that's the problem with my stories.


That is why I said it has to be done right. It can not be used for all stories or story lines. Like your apocalypse stories the connections will probably not exist. In others being a customer is about the only connection available. Like being a customer of a fast food hamburger joint.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Like your apocalypse stories the connections will probably not exist. In others being a customer is about the only connection available. Like being a customer of a fast food hamburger joint.

You're right. My stories need a better meeting place than the local McDonalds or Starbucks, which I keep recycling continuously across all my stories. Anyone have any handy fictional specialty stores I could feature in my stories? (I was originally thinking of crossovers within a single writers work, I hadn't even considered including characters from other author's universes, which necessitates getting their permission first.)

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

Noticing naked school kids wouldn't require permission from Karen Wagner (Naked In School Universe) because she already gave blanket permission for other authors to play. I am also sure passing mention of Damsels in Distress or (if you could somehow work it in) the Swarm Cycle by Thinking Horndog would not require a great deal of effort. Once other authors, a large number of other authors, have been given permission, it is pretty automatic to assume a couple of paragraphs that you write would not get anyone upset. As long as you don't upset the conventions of the Universe. Other authors will want to visit there again and again.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@richardshagrin


Noticing naked school kids wouldn't require permission from Karen Wagner (Naked In School Universe) because she already gave blanket permission for other authors to play. I am also sure passing mention of Damsels in Distress or (if you could somehow work it in) the Swarm Cycle by Thinking Horndog would not require a great deal of effort.


Ha-ha, I can see it now. My "Great Death" survivors could rescue a naked high school full of naked teens huddling in fear together, or the survivors of my Catalyst group could be on a future planet in need of extraction in the Swarm Universe. The conflict between one group conversing telepathically because of alien technology vs. another who communicate telepathically due to their innate abilities would be interesting.

Or mixing it up even more, maybe the proposed "Puppy Pound" would need extracting from the planet, or the kids running from a zombie apocalypse could run across a school of naked teens?

I think I need to start collaborating more (as if I don't have enough irons in the fire at the moment!).

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

Irons in the fire. Branding irons? Going to iron clothing to remove wrinkles? Or for just plain irony.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

I'm curious, how many authors here utilize crossover, having the characters from one story interact with the characters in another.


While not exactly a crossover, I have something that happened in my first story effecting a character in a story I am currently working on.

Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Most of the main characters either die in the end (or the beginning in one book), or they leave the planet, not to return until everyone else has died.


If your character did something significant before departing, that could be used as a link between stories.

docholladay
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


You're right. My stories need a better meeting place than the local McDonalds or Starbucks, which I keep recycling continuously across all my stories.


Every place I have ever been has its own local businesses which are similar to both types of business. If unsure what is popular in a specific region, just ask maybe someone here will know enough to help out. Or look at businesses in the region listed in the Yellow Pages on the internet. Use them if needed to substitute. In some ways it will be just free advertising for their business.

edited to add: College and University towns are famous for having hangouts or whatever you want to call them.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@richardshagrin


Irons in the fire. Branding irons? Going to iron clothing to remove wrinkles? Or for just plain irony.


That's the original expression, created way back when women heated clothes irons by the fire in order to press shirts. The iron would sit on a metal stand in the fire, so it would get warm without collecting soot or getting too hot. Our family always had plenty of antiques around the house, so I encountered several of them and am familiar with the practices. We also had butter churns and hand-cranked coffee grinders made into tables.

@Capt Zapp

While not exactly a crossover, I have something that happened in my first story effecting a character in a story I am currently working on.


Technically, I'm not sure that's a cross-over, instead it's a 'common event' between the two stories. A cross-over (I believe) is when characters from one story cross-over to another (as if they physically walk between the two books). If you have multiple stories that revolve around the same event, using different characters, then you've got a universe (even if it's not open to other authors).

@Docholladay

Every place I have ever been has its own local businesses which are similar to both types of business. If unsure what is popular in a specific region, just ask maybe someone here will know enough to help out. Or look at businesses in the region listed in the Yellow Pages on the internet. Use them if needed to substitute. In some ways it will be just free advertising for their business.


I was asking whether any other authors had a nationwide chain I could include in my stories, rather than continually hawking the same commercial chains over and over. Though if I did that, I'd have to explain in the context of the story how the chain got started for any non-SOL readers who discover my books (I've got several readers who've discovered my works from Amazon sales).

Replies:   JohnBobMead  Capt Zapp
JohnBobMead

@Crumbly Writer

I was asking whether any other authors had a nationwide chain I could include in my stories, rather than continually hawking the same commercial chains over and over.


Wes Boyd has General Hardware Retailers, commonly referred to as General, which is a Big Box store akin to Home Depot and Lowe's. Shows up in his Bradford Exiles series of novels.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Capt Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

I was asking whether any other authors had a nationwide chain I could include in my stories,


I don't recall the story, but there's always the 'Chicken & Waffles' chain if someone gets hungry.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay
Updated:

@Capt Zapp

Joe J had some regional and international businesses in his Twice Lucky series I believe.

SmokinDriver's "Hindsight 20/20" series. Not sure if it begins in volume 1 or 2 however.

DW has an international airplane charter service and an ocean going charter cruise service (based in Florida).

John Wales: Rebirth series has a national electronics business, based in Canada I believe.

And I am sure there are others, those are the tip of the available iceberg of possibilities. Business links don't have to be similar to McD's or Starbucks to qualify. Anything which has a high volume of customers either nationwide or internationally would work if used in a story. A customer doesn't always interact with the "Owners" personally.

edited to correct one item.

Ernest Bywater

@JohnBobMead

Wes Boyd


He also has a number of local diners run by locals that appear in multiple stories, like Becky's Diner which is run by a local girl named Becky.

docholladay

The thing is all those businesses can be used in other stories without interacting with the original story's characters. The options are there for interaction, but I think the writer would have to notify the original writer first. And never make any real changes in those potential characters. Why reinvent a business when one has already been invented. This can allow a writer like CW or Ernest research other more critical facts. Most business interactions are background information to a story for a logical sequence of events.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Why reinvent a business when one has already been invented. This can allow a writer like CW or Ernest research other more critical facts. Most business interactions are background information to a story for a logical sequence of events.

Alas, there are two big 'gotchas'. The first is location. My stories are all over the place geographically. Each of my stories takes place in a different place, and two of my series involve cross country travel. Sure, I could include a fictional regional diner in a single chapter, but it would only be a passing nod, at best. Which brings us to my second point.

The time it would take to explain what the business is, and why it's relevant, would take time. You'd essentially be doing a brief data dump on the crossover character. You can handle it with dialogue over a cup of coffee--or while buying a socket wrench set--but it's not always a natural fit in many stories.

It makes sense though, and it doesn't seem like it would hurt. If readers don't immediately recognize the link, it wouldn't really hurt the story (other than causing some confusion as readers search for the unknown location), but I doubt many readers would care about a fictional hardware store or diner.

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@Crumbly Writer

In most cases the explanation of the nature of the business can be made in the title.... reference to the local branch of Doc's Diner, Crumbly's Hardware, Bywater Automotive, Shiner's Bar doesn't need expansion. On a wider basis I think Lazee's Emporium and Convenience Store could be a nationwide chain covering a lot of merchandise that people wouldn't query too much. Few chains are truly invasive (there isn't a MacD's or Starbucks within 70 miles of where I live in Texas, thank heaven!) and most people round here wouldn't know names like Bob Evans or Boston Market.
If authors like Smokin'Driver and Dual Writer would permit use of business names on the condition it didn't talk about the business itself, then SOL could end up generating it's own identifiable national or regional chains, though it would need someone initially to generate and curate the list to specify the 'products' sold.

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