So back in…2012? Back in the 2.0 days, Wraith had a friend visit him in Colorado and in that time, fully indoctrinated said friend to Cookie.
This is how I met Shade.
After reading 2.0 Shade…fully became a fanboy, and did what any good fanboy does and immediately write fic starring an OC. (More people should do this. Or at least volunteer for cameos)
And he wanted to get the details right, or had questions about how some mechanic worked, or something. So Wraith made a Skype group for the three of us (remember that? remember when Skype was good???) and I clarified whatever he was asking about and continued to do so for the next few chapters.
And it was…fun.
I’m tooting my own horn here a little, but it wasn’t the first time I’d had fanfic written of my stuff – even back when this was all Matrix fanfic, I had a few people write fic-of-my-fic, and with a couple of them, I brought them on as co-authors if I felt that they added a different perspective or explored a different part of the world that I was neglecting.
But I didn’t want to get attached too fast, this was just some guy writing fic and having fun. So I tempered my brain a little and acted normal, posted it as fanfic, but helped with edits and stuff so that it was as canon-compliant as possible.
There’s this old notion about the writing of Good Omens, that “Neil wrote the serious stuff and Terry came behind and sprinkled in jokes”, it’s not actually true, but I was kind of getting the vibe that Shade could provide the missing component of humour from the series.
I mean, I can do jokes, and funny stuff. I’m sure. But…Shade was something else. Like when I’d brought on co-writers because they were exploring something different in the fanfic days, Shade – and Vincent – were an element different to anything else I was doing at the time.
Stef is wonderful, and scrunkly, and we all love her, but…she doesn’t quip in fights, she doesn’t get along with groups of people, and there are certain types of stories I just can’t do with her, because they’re incompatible with her character.
So I thought about asking Shade how he felt about becoming part of canon, and as I was slowly gathering the courage to do so, I was looking at various bits of Cookie and seeing how things would run if he were slotted in.[At this time, I can’t remember if we had decided on the 3.0 reboot, or were planning on introducing Vincent post-Blue-Dust (Book #6 in 2.0), but the more time went along, the more sure the 3.0 reboot came and I started to look at where we’d drop the Yankee (affectionate) into the mix.]
What sold me on it being a good idea was that…there were all these little spots where he just fit? Scenes that had an extra talking to Mags or Curt that could easily be Vincent, story beats where it would make sense for someone to have extra backup and – crucially, and the thing that really sold it – in Book #5 of 2.0 there was a fancy gala, and in that book we a ticket left over, one that given by the people throwing the ball, but hadn’t been used by Stef & co.
And obviously, obviously, it was Vincent’s ticket.
So we talked, and…Shade said yes.
So. Yes. As Stormy said, I read the entirety of 2.0 back when it was five books long over the course of three days, after spending a week vacation with Wraith. I then shat out the most stupid, blatant Mary-Sue crap that you write when you fall in love with something but haven’t written anything and haven’t a clue where to start. It… worked. But more importantly, I asked Wraith, then Stormy about world-building that hadn’t been mentioned in-canon yet.
Then, I finished that terrible, poorly-thought-out one-shot, and said “Okay, I know this guy is on the wrong side of the planet, but, like, can I do a thought experiment and see how he’d get on with the main cast?”
It worked. It worked too well. Worse still is now I had an intimate knowledge of the characters only rivalled by Stormy, who literally created them. Magnolia in particular being very much compatible with my writing style. Shortly after this little experiment, Stormy pointed out the aforementioned little places in canon where Vincent would fit perfectly.
And thus, the bastard wedged himself fully into canon.
If you’ve read the books thus far, you know that it’s about someone with problems, and pain, and the story of having to deal with both a real and fantastical world where everyone has to deal with all sorts of shit, and it’s depressing and real and hits you hard in the feels.
Vincent is going to be a complete shift in tone, and he’s here to mock the shit out of reality and all of the horrors it brings. So, uh. I hope you got some chuckles out of Stormy’s wit in the first books, as I’m about to stop writing this blog post and start brainstorming some really absurd shit that’s going to be the first Vincent POV chapter in book 4 that’s going to either make you laugh your ass off, or regret the English language entirely.
Many years and another entire reboot later, in the year of our lord and saviour, Jonesy, 2023, it is finally, finally time to unleash Vincent upon the world.
Book #4, Ebb and Flow, will be co-written by me and Shade. I’ll write the serious, morose, and downright depressing stuff (as I write this, we’re six chapters in and we’ve got a new clear winner for “Most Traumatised Character in Cookie”) and to make truth from an old story, Shade will run behind me and sprinkle the jokes in.