As the Compact Universe draws to a close, I need to have a resource that lets me keep track of everything and write short stories. I need…
Yes, we all know Wikipedia, the online, user-edited encyclopedia that occasionally gets vandalized and hits us all up for money a couple of months. Then there are wikis you can download for your own nefarious purposes. I once was asked to investigate finding one to use for our IT department. It ended up being more complicated than it should have been. I would have suggested a WordPress site with a wiki plugin. (We went with Sharepoint. Nobody’s happy. Wasn’t my idea.)
But lo and behold, I have a WordPress site. And there’s a WordPress plugin for adding a wiki! Now what?
Well, I guess it means I’m going to have to reread my own stuff. That would have been handy. In No Marigolds, Admiral Burke ponders having kids at the tender young age of 112. Only in Broken Skies, a character ponders how Burke responds to her wayward children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. As I wrote Broken Skies first, a wiki might have helped with that.
So the next question is whether I leave it open for readers. I’d have to moderate it, but a fan-driven source for all things author’s work is not unprecedented. The classic scifi series Babylon 5 actually utilized a fan-built site for reference. Creator J. Michael Starcsynski stated it saved him a lot of time and effort having to go back and look these things up. And some writers in the early days of Star Trek: The Next Generation utilized Bjo Trimble’s Star Trek Concordance to refer back to the original series. This eventually was replaced by a much grander work by Michael and Denise Okuda, The Star Trek Encyclopedia. But many authors in ye olden days before the Internet, when we gathered around the Crosley radio to listen to the sounds of Rudy Valllee, drink Grape Nehi, and listen to President Harding, many authors wrote a concordance to keep track of details in a large, interconnected body of work.
But do I want it editable by anyone? There’s always the danger that, as the series grows more popular, a possessive fan could insert a pet theory in an attempt to make it canon. (Note on that: It’s only canon in this series if I say it is. End of discussion.)
All this will likely have to be answered on the fly. The series will encompass four novels, nine novellas, and a short story by the time Storming Amargosa comes out. That’s a lot to keep track of.