More important is that I crossed the 5,000-word barrier. I like milestones and that's a good one.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I completed the fifth chapter of Novum-2 today (3,600 words). Based on where I am in my outline, it looks like this book is going to be twice as long as book one. So much will happen in this book, and still that's nothing compared to book-3.
Stay tuned. Exciting things are ahead...
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Thursday, October 24, 2013
"I'm going under,
drowning in you,
I'm falling forever,
I've got to break through,
I'm going under"
I saw a woman's face falling away from me into the depths of the ocean (falling forever). That image triggered a story arc that now spans four books, and for anyone who read the first book, that exact scene haunts my main character’s thoughts and dreams, all the way to the final scene.
So, what was the "spark" for your latest story?
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Thursday, October 3, 2013
My first book, Cyberdrome, was a combination of "cyber" (meaning man-machine interface) and "drome" (meaning arena) since my story took place inside a virtual world inhabited by digital avatars controlled either by humans or computer programs. It was essentially a meeting place for humans and A.I.
I consider it a coup d'état that I was able to snag the title "Novum" for my newest science fiction book (and eventual series) before any other SF author. Why? From the Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction:
novum (n.) [Latin for "new"] the primary element in a work of science fiction by which the work is shown to exist in a different world than that of the reader. "...the term refers to those concrete innovations in lived history that awaken human collective consciousness out of a static present to awareness that history can be changed."That describes my story so perfectly that I was actually panicked that someone else would publish something with that title before me, even though the term has been used in science fiction circles since the 70’s.
So how important is the title of your book, and how did you come up with it?
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Friday, September 6, 2013
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I love my new story, and I'm very happy with the quality of the manuscript, the Kindle and paperback covers look great, and I like the book descriptions, both long and short versions. I even have the website created and uploaded, ready for visitors. Everything is in place and ready to start promoting. However, all I want to do now is write another book (actually the sequel to Novum), and then the one after that, and the one after that...
What's wrong with me? At first I assumed that I was just burned out from years of promoting my first book, but today I'm wondering if I'm actually becoming...dare I say it...a writer? More specifically, a writer who cares about quality and finishing books but doesn't care one lick about sales...a writer who just wants to write.
Anyone else in this strange place, or at least visited it sometime in their past?
Monday, June 17, 2013
On the positive side, I am very happy with the 26,000-word story as it now stands and will feel no trepidation when I release it to the world. Hopefully, that will be in a month or so . Stay tuned...
Friday, April 19, 2013
While comparing this story to my first full-length (95,000-word) novel, Cyberdrome, I have to say I really prefer shorter works. It's not that I'm lazy; it's just that I really prefer to read medium-length stories, especially if there are more stories to come in that universe (I have outlined 4 stories in this series.) Novellas tend to be more concise and to the point (i.e. there is no room for rambling dialogue or "filler" chapters in a 20,000-word story.) Novellas are also closer to the structure of screenplays, which to me is a good thing.
More on the uniqueness of novellas in the link below:
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
As soon as I finish that, I am going to start writing a short story (10-15k words) that I outlined 10 years ago. After that, I'll go back to book #2 in the new series.
I'm on a writing roll!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
For Cyberdrome, which was my first full-length science fiction novel, I knew I would be taking several months to write it (actually turned out to be several years) so I knew I would need a very detailed outline to keep the story coherent over many writing sessions, sometimes separated by weeks, or even months.
Since I decided to plot Cyberdrome as a scene-based thriller, I created a very complicated excel file that contained dozens of little details, like character profiles, scene descriptions, which characters were in any given scene, location descriptions for each scene, tension level of each scene, character arcs for each major character, etc. I also plotted words per scene, words written per week, and tension level scene-by-scene (important for a thriller). In hindsight, I think I spent far more time on that darn file than actually writing the manuscript!
For the science fiction series I am writing now, which is planned as four ~20,000-word novellas (with 8 more stories outlined if the series does well), I simplified everything and just created a number of MS Word documents in advance. These included;
1) A short outline which is a paragraph description of each book in the series
2) A detailed outline which is a page or two long and describes the major events of the book, and sometimes a bit of dialogue if it's important.
3) Character profiles for all major characters, including a picture of an actor matching the part. I find that if I add a real face to the part, it forces me to make that character more three dimensional.
4) Background info like the "history of the world" leading up the events in the story (my series is maybe 150 years in the future)
5) A list of any "secrets" I plan to distribute throughout the series.
6) Setting descriptions: Most people wouldn't do this, but since most of my stories take place on board a cargo submarine of the future, I created a detailed floor plan of the entire ship, and then my brother rendered the whole thing, inside and out, in 3D. So now when I walk through a room, I can describe every detail if I want, because I can actually look at real images of it. This really helps me "live" in the space I'm describing.
So, before I started writing the manuscript, I printed all of this out and placed it in a 3-ring binder, so that while I am writing, I can reference everything quickly.
Now is this new simplified method working any better than the older, more complicated one? I think it is. However, what is probably more important is the fact that I am now writing as often as possible, at least 3-4 times a week, even if it is only for 30 minutes at a time. I used to think I needed 3-4 hours in order to organize my thoughts and make the characters come alive, but that's why it took me so ling to write my first book, because I seldom found 3-4 hours free time in any given day. Now I find that by writing several 'quickies" a week, the story stays in my head and I can actually output quite a bit in those 30-minute sessions.
So that's my method. What's yours?
Friday, February 1, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
My first science fiction novel, Cyberdrome, was such a struggle because it was originally going to be a movie script, then it turned into a graphic novel, then finally a traditional novel (with a few of my brother's illustrations moved to the end.) I was also trying to base it on a computer game my brother and I had created years earlier, but at the same time, trying to infuse it with cutting edge technology and still make it a character-centered story. Add to that my brother kept designing really cool vehicles and gizmos that sent me down new avenues of thought on a weekly basis. That's why it ultimately took me 7 years to complete.
Thinking back on those days, it reminds me of Ridley Scott's problems with bringing "Prometheus" to life on the big screen, in that he apparently kept changing his mind about what the story was ultimately about (from what I've read anyway.)
So after my experience, I decided that all future books would be outlined beginning to end, in detail, and "written in stone" long before I started typing a single word of the manuscript. I also decided to create this story with no outside influences this time. I've been doing that for about a year now and I even have all of the characters and sub-plots firmly established on paper and in my mind.
I should add that my brother, Dave, is still involved, but this time he doing what he does best, which is bringing the futuristic submarine (where 80% of my story takes place) to life, inside and out, using CGI modeling. Even he doesn't know the plots of any of the stories yet, although he will be the first to read them when they are finished.
I am completely ready for this and it's showing in how ridiculously fast this first story is flowing out of my brain and into my laptop.
More as it happens...
Monday, January 7, 2013
Why am I writing again? Well, I have been outlining dozens of stories, and tweaking them over and over, but nothing really jumped out at me, at least enough to force me to "make" the time to write. With a full-time job in science and raising two kids, I simply don't have the free writing time I used to. Then I finally settled on one particular story that takes place on a distant ocean planet (I'm an oceanographer so it made sense to "write what you know") and I began outlining what was going to be a series of short stories or novelettes. I've been tweaking that outline for over three months and two weeks ago I thought I had a perfect 8-story arc completed.
Then this past week I had a major brainstorm and slashed some of the middle "filler" stories and merged some of the others, to come up with a 4-part story (actually 5 parts counting a stand-alone prequel story I want to write) that is very tight, action-packed, full of deception and mystery, and yet centers on one man's struggles to deal with both his tortured past and his troubling present. It is also an "epic" story in that it deals with the very survival of humanity in the distant future.
In addition there is a subtle "moral" to the story--which follows some of my own rather liberal beliefs--that of the importance of embracing differences in people and of not fearing change. I know so many people who distrust anyone of a difference skin color or background, and others who live in fear of tomorrow and what it may bring, and I just wanted my story to discuss those subjects without preaching.
I also like that I came up with a survival story that takes place not in a stereotypical post-holocaust "dystopian" future, but rather a utopian world that has just gone wrong from neglect and is now falling apart. It is actually a play on the word "Utopia" which many believe means an ideal place, but literally means, "an imaginary and indefinitely remote place."
So anyway, there I was, Saturday afternoon, realizing that I no longer had a valid excuse to keep me from starting down the path to bringing this epic story to life. So I just started the simple act of putting fingers to keys and the story just flowed out of me and onto the computer screen. It was almost magic!
At long last I am heading down the writer's path again, and it looks to be an arduous, and yet adventurous one!
I'll keep you posted as I go...