Friday, November 9, 2018

Slogging Toward Spontaneity

In my optimistic youthful days I imagined writing to be an alloyed joy; envisioning hours spent flowing golden words onto page after page of a compelling tale, and having writ, hardly pausing my moving fingers to erase or revise a line of it.  I imaginged swimming in the clouds of creativity, grasping truth and raining delightful insights on my (mostly imaginary) fans.  I threw my stories about with great abandon, waiting for the adulation that would surely follow.

And waiting.  

As rejections amassed to a startling number, I began to intuit that perhaps my masturbatory tales were not so brilliant as I imagined and that my words had been more base metal than golden.

Thats when I realized that the writing game involved more than dreaming fantastic stories and vomiting words onto pages upon pages. Not only was laying out the story line properly important but writing also involved honing descriptive and narrative words into something meaningful to editors and readers instead of being random reflections of my own not-so-deep thoughts. I realized that there is craft involved that must be mastered.

My discovery that writing is an iterative process that never really begins to take shape until I have the rudiments* of a rough draft or a sketch plan/plot.  My first drafts are more often than not, sloppy messes of awkward phrasing, poor to horrible word choices, and a jumble of rambling chunks that are poorly organized relative to each other.  My second or third draft will see actual scenes being formed, which allows me to arrange them in the order that best tells the tale.  Another pass-through lets me filter each paragraph to contain but one strong thought as it advances the plot.

Once I've done these simple fixes I embark upon the long, slow slog of polishing each sentence, selecting the best way of phrasing an idea using the most effective words.  I've discovered that, as I slog along, my paragraphs become clearer and better serve to propel the plot.  I also often sense the emergence of rhythm or melody in the scenes.  I sometimes play these against the bass line to create novelty, heighten tension, or convey more emotion than mere sentences can achieve.

These are the actions that take me through consecutive versions until I reach the point where I am finally ready to present it for the judgement of others.

Then there are the revisions...

*Character(s), settings, chronology, and tone 


Friday, November 2, 2018


I was recently congraduated for my productivity when I announced that my three (3!) of my novels would be completed within a rather short period.  The truth is that this is more a confluence of circumstance and editorial processes than a reflection on my less than rapid drafting.  All will be available in trade paperback, eBook, and audio formats.

SHATTERED DREAMS is a mil-scify novel about encountering a deadly and intracable alien force and the eithical/moral choices that humanity must consider when faced with certain eradication.  This novel illustrates how various levels of commmand act through the eyes of a disgruntled marine who grows into his ultimate destiny.

This novel is a compilation of several short stories and other material from several anthologies and magazines. It is the result of two years of effort to compile and write the major portions of the story's arc.

Can now be ordered as pre-release.

DREAMS OF EARTH is the culmination of a five-year effort to imagine what space-faring humanity would become over a  long time span. In this I deal with what facets of we humans posess, which will be retained as we continue to become into a star-spanning civilization , those which may emerge as we continue to evolve, and which aspects might shrivel through disuse.

Throw in genetic modification, the impact of environmental effects, and social pressures as gaps begin to grow to produce a diverse and varigated "human' race.

Oh yeah, I threw a few aliens into the mix as well.

MAGICIAN is a reissue of an expansion of my Nebula finalist novella MAGIC'S PRICE (Analog, March 2001.)

Unsatisfied that I left my young protagonist being carried away from friends, family, and certain death in the novella, I decided to follow him as he tried to discover the magicians' secrets.

But first he must master the sklls of surviving the wilds of this partially terraformed planet from the three who accompany him.  As he learns his own limitations and struggles to adapt to the magicians' society he uncovers far more about his past and what the future promises than he ever thought possible.