The logic of Andalusada and sloth

It's been a long time since I did anything that merited the tag "regular writing." The most I can say is that I've reliably posted weeks in review for Andalusada consistently - that I've been writing on the Scrapbook rather regularly indeed.

I mentioned that I started a standardization campaign on Friday. It's sent me looking back over dozens of former pages, editing them to fit my new standard policies - and rereading them, because I usually haven't thought about any of them except to look them up for links. And it's left me wincing a lot, because of how awful my writing can get over there. And how inconsistent.

There's one thing about it that's managed to routinely get my attention, though: the times when I stop to explain why I wrote Andalusada the way I did on that point. Those side notes are fascinating to me. And since this is (alas) a vanity blog, and Andalusada is what I'm thinking about at present - and since a lot of those notes are going to get obliterated in the great reformatting to come - I'm going to start discussing the overarching forces that have shaped my work as a Demiurge.

The first of these forces, and it's a shameful one to admit, is sloth.

Some people can organize. Some people know enough to outline extended timelines from scratch, I imagine. Some people know how to research everything they need to know before they start. I am not one of those people, and Andalusada reflects that.

The first take on Andalusada was years ago, written up as a GURPS setting. (Which is still how I think about it.) A smattering of details survive to the present day from that thread - the CRC being the most notable, and the sense that France and Great Britain (it was still the UK then) were entering their decline as the UCNA and Japan took their places - but two things about that thread strike me now: most of the broad strokes didn't survive in any recognizable form, and that the timeline was really convergent. Disgracefully so, in fact. There was a German Empire; there was a recognizable Great War. Everything was as it should be IRL, and couldn't possibly be in a world 850 years gone from the day El Cid turned south.

Did I change any of that? Hell no. Fundamentally, Andalusada's history runs mind-numbingly parallel to our own. There are some differences - Lutheranism goes a little wonky, and Calvinism doesn't do quite as well, the Treaty of Westphalia is butterflied away and government goes a bit wonky after that point - but it's still way too canny to be plausible. Part of this is because I tell myself that I'm writing a setting (which merits a post of its own in this series), but most of it is because I am lazy.

Look at Constantine Eschas, for instance. (Who converts to Catholicism in 1492, why? So that he converts in the year 7000 AM, when the Byzantine world ended. That's the kind of thinking that governs the dates that I have pinned down for certain.) For his marriage to be possible, Hungary needs to be a nation that doesn't count as "Latin," somebody that the Byzantines would consider marrying one of their heirs to. How far do I need to go back for that to work? Let's put it this way: at this moment I have several books about Hungary, Constantinople, and 11th-century Croatia, because Hungary inherits Croatia in 1102 IRL, and that changes both the demographics of Hungary (which prior to that was, with all the Romanians and Rusyns, much more Orthodox) and its alliances (because Croatia gives it an Adriatic coast, bringing it into closer contact with Italy and thus Rome.) I have less than ten years to delay this from where I began, and I didn't even realize it until this week because I'd never thought that anywhere in the Balkans would be that significant that soon. Because I am lazy.

As of 9/24, when I've written this, there are entire centuries that I know nothing about. You'll see the occasional reference to "the Turks" on the Scrapbook. You know why I call them that? Because I have no idea who they are. I don't know how the Crusades play out, except that St. Francis joins one; I know nothing at all about the shape of the Islamic world, except insofar as it involves al-Andalus. I know nothing about the glorious Byzantine civilization that "the Turks" replace, except that it falls in 1476. (And you know why 1476? So that historians can say that the Eastern Roman Empire fell exactly 1,000 years later than the Western one.) The obvious and intelligent thing to do would be to start writing, in a nice linear fashion, and game out what the situation is in Spain and how that affects who goes on which Crusades and stuff - but I haven't done that, because I am lazy.

There are a few centuries about which I've written almost nothing on the Scrapbook - 1300s and 1400s most pronouncedly. Wanna know why? It's because I don't know what the global situation is like when the Hordes come through. I know that the hordes do come through, and that they do at the very least topple Kievan Rus' (because they're around to meddle with the history of the Russian city-states, in such a way as to screw over Muscovy at a critical moment that leaves it open for the rise of mighty Tver) - but under whom? Who could they be under? I know nothing, nothing at all, about what's going on in Central Asia before the Russians screw up their war with Persia during the Great Realignment and a Sorani Kurdish dynasty takes over, because I am lazy.

I'm pretending that I'm writing helically. I know the starting point; I know the ending point; if I build forward from one, and backward from the other, eventually these things have to meet in the middle, right? Wrong. They don't have to meet at all. I need to make them meet. And that's a scary proposition, because I am lazy.

I am a lazy writer, and Andalusada is challenging that. I'd like to say it's "helping me" challenge that, but I'm honestly not sure. All I can say is that the laziness has hugely shaped the details of how the world has evolved.

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