So for the past few weeks I've been compelled to work on Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind. The story's been pulling me in, in a big way. The story's not connected to The Omniverse in any way, shape or form; in fact, it's a one-off, and the only non-genre story I've ever written.
Of course the drawback to working on Nevermind is that it pulls me away - as the title of this post suggests - from working on The Aeon's War, the third installment in The Omniverse series. And as much as I wish I could flit between the two projects, the truth is that doing so hurts the writing. So while at any given time I have at least a couple of works going at the same time, I can only ever focus on one at a time. And much like children in need of attention, it is the stories themselves that dictate which gets worked on.
I've talked a lot about this story over the years, but I don't think I've ever really gone into great detail. Well, as I'm planning on launching it in the coming months, perhaps it's best that I do so. So starting this week and off and on leading up to its launch, I'll be using this space to talk about Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind a little more.
I first started work on Nevermind in 2002, though I'd had the idea kicking around for a couple of years already, by that point. I wanted to tell a story set in and around college life in the early 1990s, and my goal really was to see if I could write something outside of the fantasy/science fiction genre.
My focus shifted back to The Omniverse when I landed the original publishing deal for The Unearthing, and Nevermind sort of languished as I concentrated on writing Through Darkness and Stars and reviewing the outline for the subsequent volumes of the story, including the aforementioned Aeon's War, which, I promise I will work on again soon!
For Nevermind, I came up with six characters, all of whom began to "speak" to me in the first person. This led to the concept that each chapter should be told from a different character's point of view, relating their own experiences and opinions as the story progressed. In one form or another I've been writing and rewriting it ever since; chapters from the earliest version of the novel appeared online at PHYTE.ca, where they were quite popular. Though the site seems unavailable now, those chapters are likely still out there, somewhere, if you can find them.
What started as a writing exercise and thought experiment (Nevermind was written without a traditional story arc or plotline, creating a more fluid, character-driven piece) became a story I obsessed over, feeling the characters' lives as if they were the lives of friends and loved ones.
I think that, despite its setting in the early 1990s, that the story, situation and characters have a universal appeal, and if not, there's plenty of frank depictions of sex and drug use to drive up marketability. In any case, Nevermind remains one of my favorite stories to have worked on.
Next time, I'll talk about the enormous musical playlist that, for me, is associated with the story.
- Steve Karmazenuk
- Steve Karmazenuk is an author, music journalist and freelance writer from Montreal, Canada. He also works in post production in the Canadian film industry. His novels include The Omniverse Series: The Unearthing and Through Darkness and Stars, and as the fictional account of the Grunge Music era, Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind.