When I decided to give writing my full attention, I wrote a short story set in a universe that I created when I was a teenager. I was familiar with it and so the world building was largely already fleshed out, as it were, in my head. I had copious notes and drawings about the universe. All I had to do was write some cool stories.
That was back in 2008. Since that time I have written a few dozen shorts and three complete novels set in the same universe. I still have about five more novel ideas waiting in the cue. Not to mention a half dozen or so shorts to write. The way I see it, it’s job security. I’ll never be bored and if I ever get an audience, they will have tons of reading materiel to catch up on and a very complete universe to explore. Win-win for everyone.
Setting the majority of your stories in the same universe used to be common practice for writers like Heinlein and Asimov, but these days, it’s less common. At least to the extent that I am pursuing it. I’ve always loved vast fictional universes and that’s part of the appeal for me of Space Opera. So I’m only too happy to do the same in my writing career. At the rate I’m producing, one novel and two shorts per year, I could have a very nice little universe by the time I become too feeble to do it anymore. My only regret is not having started sooner.
My father was not much into fiction, but my mother certainly was; I guess I took after her more than him in that respect. I just never figured anyone could make a living at writing. So I never pursued being a writer until later in my life. Had I kept writing short stories in HS and beyond, I might have improved my craft sooner and maybe I’d be doing it for a living by now. But we can’t change the past, only the future. So I write and I write, making up for lost time.
Last night my oldest son had to write a short story using his spelling words. He’s ten, but he showed a good grasp of vocabulary and sentence structure, not to mention dramatic flare. I hope I can encourage him to continue dreaming up crazy stories and writing them down. After all, it’s what his old man does. So he must come by it at least in part naturally. As long as he realizes that he could someday do it for a living, I’ll be happy. Meanwhile, his old man slogs along, happily creating a vast and elaborate universe in which at the moment, nobody else knows about.