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Hi, I’m Adam and I’m a writer. That makes me sound like an alcoholic. I’m not. In fact, I hardly drink at all. Don’t like the taste of most booze. Unlike Sunita Kumar, who is partial to a cherry vodka or three.
Anyway, I thought that I would share a little bit about my writing process that helped in the creation of my new novella Murder Planet, now on sale through Breaking Rules Publishing. Please buy it. You’ll enjoy it.
Having to juggle a full-time job and a social life alaong with my writing has resulted in me doing “little and often” writing. I try to do at least 10-15 minutes a day (except Sunday) of ‘writing’, which covers everything from plot development to research to the actual typing.
I use both a desktop PC and a tablet for my writing, with Microsoft’s OneDrive allowing me to access my writing from wherever I am in the world, along as I have a Wi-Fi connection.
However, for planning, as someone born in the relatively early days of home computing, I still use paper nearly exclusively for jotting down notes and making various rough drawings of things – I carry a notebook in my workbag so I can write down ideas when they occur to me, although I admittedly don’t always do so immediately. It’s hard to do that when standing in a crowded commuter train.
In fact, I am currently in the process of scanning my extensive collection of paper notes that go back over 20 years.
Notes for a character that ultimately did not make it into Murder Planet
One of the fundamentals of any fictional work is memorable characters. Sunita Kumar, my main protagonist, has evolved considerably over the years – she was originally a captain in her 40s and her daughter a stroppy teenager. Her general disregard for social conventions is based on some of my own favourite female characters in recent fiction; for example, I can spot elements of Sameen Shaw in Person of Interest, although Sunita lacks her combat skills.
Indeed, television shows have proved a major influence in my character creation. The whole concept of ‘Spacees’, basically Romani (albeit from all ethnicities – Sunita is of Tamil heritage) in space, originated from an episode of Call the Midwife featuring their waterborne cousins. In creating a new culture based on an existing one, I am trying to be culturally true to a group and avoid using negative stereotypes; Sunita’s wedding had a tacky carriage, but she was pleased when it got set on fire in a mass brawl.
In particular, the cult classic Blake’s 7, which I watched in re-runs when I was growing up, has had a major influence. Fans of it may be able to spot a reference or two in Murder Planet.
Another major influence was Alien – a classic space horror that has stood the test of time. The aesthetic of that movie has strongly influenced the story; the crew of Tulyar are basically truckers and wear jumpsuits like that worn by Sigourney Weaver in that movie. That whole aesthetic has a name – cassette futurism – something I learned the other day.
Any space drama needs a ‘hero’ ship, that looks cool even if it is a complete pile of junk. Tulyar is intended to be an ageing but still highly capable merchant ship. The vessel, down to its name, is inspired by the British Rail Class 55 locomotive, known universally to railway enthusiasts (like me) as the “Deltic” and much loved by them. 100 mile an hour capable in an era where that was uncommon, they accelerated services in Britain’s East Coast Main Line and remained in service until 1981. The blue and yellow paint job that they sported from the mid-1960s onwards is shared by Tulyar, one of the six survivors of the 22 built.
The good ship Tulyar. As you can see, I am no artist.
As for other influences, I would say that my writing style borrows from Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy and Terry Pratchett. Although I have yet to include any Persian cats, submarine commanders with Scottish accents or carnivorous luggage. Yes, I know two of those were from movies.
The process of science fiction writing, especially if you want to do anything on the ‘harder’ (i.e. more realistic) end of the scale, means doing some research. This especially applies in the field of space travel, where astronomers are discovering new planets outside our Solar System all the time. Recently, the International Astronomical Union (who famously decided that Pluto was not a planet anymore) have officially named many stars and exoplanets that previously lacked official names and I am using some of these in my stories.
Research can take you down interesting and unusual alleyways; my writing and online roleplaying over the years has included searches on the history of inhalers, historical railway sleeping cars and communist dogs. If you’re interested in the last one, please contact me.
You will almost certainly not use more than a mere fraction of your research in your actual writing, but the preparation will not be wasted and will often be fun.
Writing and Checking
While I will often have a broad plan when I am writing, my overall method is done somewhat organically and in no particular order. My drafts will be peppered with square brackets ([ and ]) that indicate where bits I have yet to write will go. This also makes it easy for me to find where they are by searching for the square brackets.
If I get writer’s block, I will usually go and do something else until it passes. Inspiration usually turns up completely unannounced.
While I am usually particularly good at spotting other people’s errors, it is not always as easy to spot my own errors. Spellchecking only covers so much and when you’ve spent hundreds of hours on a piece of writing, it is easy to become blind to any potential plot holes. I still do read-throughs, but I’ve often managed to publish blog pieces and then spot an error. At least I can edit a blog or social media post; in other cases, you just must live and learn.
This is where being in a writing circle help; I go along, read out an extract (which means you spot typos as you go along) and then get feedback on my writing. Even if the group isn’t a science fiction specific group (my one isn’t), you will get valuable help in your writing and be able to return the favour. Also, you might even get a few extra sales out of it!
So, there you have it. A brief guide to my writing process. I hope that it’s helpful to you and if not, I hope you’ve had fun reading it. I do try to write entertaining stuff.
Murder Planet is available to buy now via Breaking Rules Publishing.
I was recently asked to say a bit about my writing style and how it seems to be Totally Different from the main stream of Story Tellers who are pumping out book after book. This conundrum, “to be quite honest,” is something that I’ve never actually thought about.
Well, let me rephrase that.
For those that are in the know, Alaska Angelini is a Very Famous Author and Dear Family Member of mine who is to blame for my decision to finally become the writer that I’ve professed that I was always going to be.
That’s because The Darkened Maiden of Erotica beat me to it first.
And, she unknowingly stoked my jealousy button after I learned of her success.
Before I got started, I asked my Cousin what her best advice would be when writing a book and this is what she said.
Write your book Exactly how the characters speak to you, Bad Words And All. Don’t obsess on what they are, “or not,” doing or saying and allow the story line to breathe and grow. If a publisher has an issue with it, they will tell you.
That was the exact same advice she was given.
I believe that’s the difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional writing.
I see the Traditionalist always worrying about what is being said and done within the pages of their book. Personally, it feels as if They are trying to please the masses instead of growing and expanding the depths of their inner Author.
“To Me,” this stifles and damages the free flow thinking of the Story Teller.
DON’T DO THAT!
If the characters are pulling you towards letting their freak flags fly, allow them that honor. The reasons and actions of why they do what they are doing will end up making a Great and Insightful Tale.
By following that advice, my first book, (YEAR OF THE CICADA,) NOT ONLY turned out to be One Hell Of A Story, but I also expect it to be one of the Most CONTROVERSIALLY ENJOYED Books to be written in this day and age.
At some point, If the world ever decides, “once again,” that certain books must be banned and burned for their content, I’m Absolutely Certain that It’s Boundary Breaking Pages will place it high on the list of OH MY GOD, HOW DARE HE GO THERE!
I believe that willingness of letting it flow formatting is what will end up making me a Great and Sought-After Author.
That, and the fact my books are designed to keep My Fans on their toes and always Second-guessing what kind of outcomes might just happen to be laying around that next corner of Intrigue, Shock and Suspense.
Still To This Day, I’m one of those readers who will put a book down, “and probably never pick it up again,” if I’m not engaged within the first Five to Ten pages. And if by some chance it hasn’t enthralled me by the end of that first chapter, our time together is officially done.
That is the Main Foundation when it comes to my writing.
I expect my readers to be Fully Mesmerized and Addicted to my stories by the time they turn that next page.
The other reason I consider myself a Non-Traditional Author is do to the fact that I Refuse to write my stories just to please everyone out there. Because of how different people can be, I know for a fact that the miracle of making the masses happy ISN’T going to happen.
Besides that, I would be doing myself a Horrible Injustice.
To me, a Traditional Writer goes with the grain and is afraid to make waves.
LOLOL, That’s So Not Me.
I Love Making Waves.
I’ve made So Many Waves with YEAR OF THE CICADA, “Do To Its Graphic Language, Sexual Subject Matter, Adult Situations and Taboo Characters,” that only a few of my friends and family members who are free thinkers have been able to finish it.
And Those that did, Loved Every Delectable Page.
To This Day, I blame my dad Denise Lancaster for that wicked sense of writing and humor that I Purposely place in All of my books.
In 1974, “at the age of 5,” we went to the drive-inn to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In 1979, “when I was 10,” he let us watch Dawn Of The Dead. At 13, “2 weeks before going to Boy Scout Camp for the 1st time,” he took us to see Friday the 13th.
Needless to say, the SECLUDED camp was on a lake in the deep, dark woods of Conroe Texas.
“And by the way,” our campsite was the VERY LAST ONE at the Far End of the Pitch-Black Woods.
Right Where A Serial Killer ALWAYS Starts!
So, I guess someone could Honestly Say that there has Never been anything Traditional about me or my upbringing. That darkened foundation was also do to the fact that I was a geek growing up and could always be found hanging, “and performing,” with the Drama club and those that were deemed outcast.
Being an Ex Carnie with a quirkiness for Evil Clowns is another Cherished Gem as to my weirdness too.
They are physically making me input that acknowledgement concerning their influences about my writings because they want their involvement literarily acknowledged amongst the public and academic world also.
Anyways, back to the main reason of why I’m writing this piece about the difference between Traditional and Non-Traditional writers.
If I was to ask you to name off a handful of Traditional writers, most people couldn’t do it. But when it comes to Non-Traditional Story Tellers, we can All spout off Author’s like King, Rowling’s, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe.
They have all gone against the grain at some point in their writing careers and have the success and cult like followings to show for it.
That is the path I hope to not only be on, but that is the plan I will continue staying with.
I hope to Never have my literary accomplishments tossed into the everyday pile of, “Whatever”. My goal is to Stand Out, Cause Waves and to be Unique in Every Aspect of my writing.
And that’s the choice Every Writer has to make when entering the Gladiator Arena of becoming an accomplished author.
Once You enter the battlefield, are You just going to go along with the flow or stand your ground and fight for what is yours. I can Honestly say that if you are one who tends to blend in with all the others, your success as a Remembrall Author will More Than Likely Not Happen.
But, if you are willing to Fight, Bleed and Stand Up for what You Believe In; the Starving Reader of Non-Traditional writing will come knocking on Your Door for that next Block Buster of a Novel that could end up changing the world.
So, Never Back Down or Succumb to those who might mean well or act like they have your best interest at heart. For if you do; that one story only you can tell the way it Demands To Be Told, will fade away into nothing and people like me will never get the pleasure of reading a tale that could have been your magic carpet ride to Literary Acknowledgement, Phenomenal Success and quite possibly Fame and Fortune.
No Matter The Cost, Your breakout moment will eventually come when You are Finally Willing to be Your Actual Self and allow Your Soul and Spirit to write the way it is meant to be written.
Never let other’s enslave that which was meant to be free.
You and Your Free-Thinking Words.
To All my Brothers and Sisters who are walking the same path that I am currently on, I say this.
Write My Friends.
Allow the Idea to lift you up.
Enjoy its refreshing wordage upon the page.
And, “once you’re done,” soak in the accomplishments warm embrace.
The words, ideas and memorable characters that are crying out to speak, will all be heard once you find your peace and that sweet, sweet spot of contentment which only comes once you are willing to surrender to that which is demanding to be written.
Now, its your turn to make a decision.
What kind of Author are You planning on becoming.
Traditional OR Non-Traditional?
“AND FOR GOD’S SAKES!” Don’t Let Or Allow Others To Make What Could Be An Enslaving Choice For You.
This is Your Walk to walk and No One Else’s.
So, Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing.
Your success will only materialize after you begin placing one word after the next.
Hopefully I Will See You at the finish line, but Only You can choose and make that Life Changing Option.
I wish All Of You the Best and Happy writing.
Sincerely E.A. Green / The Greenman.
If you are interested in reading any of my Non-Traditional writings, “Year of The Cicada, Father May I, Flesheaters, Just Jellies, My kids series Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite, and some of my short stories,” they can ALL be found at Breakingrulespublishing.com or that other place called Amazon.
Look for the release of my next Non-Traditional Novel, REAL SKIN, here in the near future.
My name is Aaron Lebold, and I am a new author at Breaking Rules Publishing. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Christopher Clawson-Rule and all the other great staff at the organization for giving me the opportunity to have my work distributed and recognized.