How did “Plausible Realities, Improbable Dreams” originate? What inspirations did you draw on?
The story started as a lighthearted writing exercise because I thought it would be fun technical challenge to try and write a story about the multiverse collapsing since the main character slips through multiple realities. I thought it would just be an excuse to allude to a whole multiverse of alternate universes and to use my most delicious prose. Then I wrote the first few paragraphs and realized that this was a love story, a tragedy, and that it was far less lighthearted than I thought it was going to be. I realized that my premise was actually the backdrop—the multiverse breaking doesn’t matter. Losing the people you love matters, trying to hold on to a relationship in a world that intrudes on it matters, caring about others’ wellbeing at the cost of your own matters.
I wish I could say I drew inspiration from This is How You Lose the Time War but I didn’t read it until after writing. What I actually drew inspiration from was the concept of AU fanfiction.
What is your writing space like? What do you like to have around for optimal creativity?
In the real world, my writing space is usually my thirteen-inch laptop on my desk covered in Post-It notes, except when it’s my phone while I’m on the bus, my laptop while I’m lying on the couch, or my phone in the middle of the night at two in the morning in bed when I wake up in a cold sweat with a really great idea that is never as good in the morning.
Also, more horrifyingly, my online writing space is the unholy combination of Google Docs, digital post-it notes, Sublime Text Editor, and the private discord server that I established as a panopticon to force me to write in front of my friends.
I suppose what I’m saying is that like certain plants, I’m optimally productive under adverse growing conditions.
Did you get stuck at any point while writing this? How did you get past that?
I got stuck right out the gate! I rewrote the beginning of this story four entire times before I figured out how to make it click. I actually thought that I’d never get past the beginning—and then I realized that I was writing from entirely the wrong perspective. The story was originally from Roshan’s point of view in the first person, and was completely the wrong voice for the narrative. Once I realized that Cat needed to be the point of view character in the third person, everything immediately gelled and the rest of the story was very quickly written. Figuring out how Cat and Roshan see the world, where their personalities mesh and where they diverge, really solidified the narrative for me. Writing a romance is always a fun challenge in convincing the reader that an emotional bond exists and can be perceived by the reader looking in.
Where are you in this story?
All the water imagery is because I think about writing in the shower a lot. All the foods they eat are things I wanted to be eating at the time of writing. My dad is a physics professor so the lab is spiritually my memory of going to work with him as a kid. The sense of kaleidoscopic and expanding worlds, histories, and responsibilities that intrude on your personal relationships is, regrettably, also my presence.
What are you working on lately? Where else can fans look for your work?
I’m working on the second draft of a novel about a kid who really wants to learn magic and a mentor who really doesn’t want to teach them, a tentative fiction podcast project about love stories and ghosts, and a whole folder of short stories that I am definitely not procrastinating on finishing. You can find a list of all my published work on my website at isabel.kim, and if you want to say hi, I’m on Twitter: @isabeljkim.
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