It Takes A Universe
Well, not really, but it sure seems that way sometimes. Writing in Thinking Horndog's Swarm Cycle universe is not easy. You have to fit in with the over-all theme, consider all of the foundational work that Thinking Horndog (TH) has so carefully laid and then make sure that you take into account all of the prior works that various authors have contributed. Even with all of that, there's still tons of questions that come up when an author starts exploring nooks and crannies that either haven't been considered before or have been considered before but no consensus has been reached. There are times when it seems a Herculean task and an author can begin to wonder why he or she is torturing themselves this way. Then scenes come together and the protagonist moves forward – usually because of something that has gone before – and it becomes evident that the trouble is worth it.
TH's Swarm Cycle universe is vibrant and well thought out. It includes enough detail to let an author rely on without stifling the creativity of the author. However, part of that richness means an author can't go their own way either. They have to pay tribute to what has already been written. So how does one keep all of that straight?
There's a welcoming community involved.
The story that I've written would not be possible or even legible without that community. My name is on this story – but only because the publication only allows a single name. At best, I'm a co-contributor leaning on the incomparable knowledge of the community.
And what a community. When an author can claim to hob-knob with the likes of (in alphabetical order) Alan Crawford, Bad Line Ghoul, Brooke, Medik47, Nuke Danger, Smiley Smith, TomKen, Zen Master and, of course, the beginner of it all – Thinking Horndog – (not to mention all the people I've probably forgotten to mention) it is a cause to pat one's self on the back. When these visionaries consent to answer your questions, help you through story road-blocks and even check your story for canon issues and grammar and spelling – well, I consider myself blessed. There would be no story without all of their help.
I hope you enjoy it almost as much as I've enjoyed interacting with these greats and writing it.