A New Science Fiction Story Begins

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Well, I’ve started thinking about my next Scifi WIP. At the moment it has no title. That will occur to me much later as the story gradually unfolds. So far all I have is the vague preamble below.

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      There was a time when mankind’s only means of exploring the Universe meant either sending unmanned probes to various locations across our solar system, or exploring beyond its borders by using powerful telescopes, parked in stationary orbit above the Earth and dotted across the planet. That all changed in the twenty-second century when fusion propulsion became a reality, and a way of keeping a human being alive for the duration of any flight, further than the inner limits of our solar system, was finally worked out.

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Out of those few words will come the story itself. How it starts, where it goes, who and how many characters are involved, only time will tell. But one thing I can definitely say is that one of them will have a hidden agenda, which means that the story will, in all likelihood, be dark. Developing he/she or it and their reasoning is the fun part for me.

When will I publish? Next year.

Will it be an eBook or a paperback? Both.

Will it be published using Amazon exclusively? Definitely not! With this one I’ll be publishing the eBook version via Smashwords, and the paperback version via CreateSpace. But all of that is many, many months away.

Will I be asking Chris The Story Reading Ape to come up with an eye catching cover? Yes, but much later on.

Well that’s all for now. From time to time I’ll be publishing progress reports here on my blog.

Spot you later,

Jack  😀

Finished, at least for now

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Derek Haines

Phew!!! At long last I’ve finished the first draft of my erotic science fiction novella – The Guardian. It ended up at just over 30,000 words in fifty-two pages. My good friend and fellow author Derek Haines has also finished his latest comical scifi novella entitled March. He’ll hate me for saying this, but to give you a flavour of Derek’s humour, think of what Douglas Adams’ character Ford Prefect got up to in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – sorry Derek.

So, between us we are now reading through each other’s books. In Derek’s case March is a follow up to his highly successful and absolutely hilarious trilogy of Glothic Tales set in an imaginary place on the other side of our galaxy.

For the moment I will be devoting all my time to reading his latest through while I wait for his verdict on mine.

More later

😉

Come On, Own Up, How Many?

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Here is a question for all my fellow writers, both published like myself, and those who just love to write for the sheer joy of doing so. How many hours do you spend writing each day and how many words is usually involved?

Ever since I changed the way I write from how I used to in the past, when I would spend hours to achieve a daily word count in the thousands, I now stick rigidly to a short but extremely intense daily session. I find this is the method that works best for me. If you are wondering how long, these days I limit myself to adding no more than one to two hundred words per day. In my case I start writing at five in the morning, finishing promptly at eight am. I find that to continue beyond that three hour working window of 100% concentration, means that silly errors will inevitably begin to creep in due to my state of total mental exhaustion by the end of each session.

The rest of the day is taken up with a lot of thought about where the story wants me to go next, not the other way round, while I carry on with my normal daily activities. You must remember that a story is a living thing…

Years ago when I was still in the workforce I used to spend two to three hours writing each night from Monday until Friday. Then on the weekends I would write for twelve hours on both days. On public holidays the number of hours sometimes stretched from twelve to eighteen. While to the unitiated, endlessly pouring out words might seem to be the only way to write a story, trust me when I tell you it isn’t! In fact its often the worst possible way of going about it. If you don’t believe me, just look at the hundreds of thousands of poorly written books out there by writers who convinced themselves that high daily word counts is the only way to go. A daily three hour session is by far the best way from my point of view.

I would love to hear how you go about it, but I know you lot of old. Most of you are too damned shy! Don’t just leave it up to the normal three or four regulars to comment. There is absolutely no excuse for you not joining in. You never know, you might even gain some useful ideas and tips on the subject from one another. So leave your thoughts for others to read as comments below this post.

😉

A Quick Update

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Thoth

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Just a quick update to let you know how my latest science fiction WIP The Guardian is progressing. I’ve added a paltry one thousand words since the previous post on the subject. While it may not sound like much, in doing so I have now expanded several passages that desperately needed attention. Plus, at long last I can finally announce that I am now completely satisfied with the private scenes between Adler and Lynne. Specifically I am referring to when they are share their infrequent extremely passionate moments together as their love affair continues.

Meanwhile I have to say that I’m still not fully at ease with how the next chapter entitled Cat and Mouse, (which I have finally begun) will work out. Unlike all of the chapters before it, this one is going to be complicated in the extreme. Why? Because of way the story dictates that it be written. You all know how I’ve often said on numerous occasions in the past that any given story always writes itself, and that all you can ever do is slavishly follow where the story wants you to go next.

Well I’d better get back to it. Like all writers, I am merely the slave of my muse who even while I write this post, demands I get on with the next one thousand words.

Oh, if you are wondering why the picture of Thoth? It’s simply that he was the ancient Egyptian god of knowledge and writing. Even though I don’t necessarily believe in such things, at the moment I’ll take all the help I can get until I finish writing this particular science fiction novella. Maybe he’s looking over my shoulder as I write it. Then again, maybe he isn’t.

Click here to find out more about Thoth if you wish – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoth

Oh well, I must crack on. More later from this particular member of Thoth’s army of lowly scribes…

😉

At last, I’m back at the coalface once again

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How I picture my heroine, Lynne Crawford

After almost three weeks of endless pontificating I’m once again back writing my science fiction WIP, The Guardian.

The story was at a crossroads. I had several ways in mind for where it may go next. Each one wholly dependant on a specific character, or characters, and how they had reacted so far. I gradually eliminated each of them in my mind for varying reasons. That’s why it’s taken me all of this time to finally decide on which character, so that the story can continue.

If you are at all familiar with the way certain wooly headed academics behave, it will come as no great surprise that I’m using my character, Professor Ephraim Adelmann, once again. Having worked with academics like him for a quarter of a century, I know how they think. Most of the ones I knew seriously needed a notice slung from around their necks, clearly stating to all and sundry that under no circumstances should they ever be left alone for one second. When it comes to common sense, most truly classic academics have none. Ephraim is no exception. In short, he has… Whoops, I almost told you then. All you need to know for now is that this part of the story unfolds back where Adler and Lynne first became aware of just how much danger they faced when they arrived in the Valles Marineris on Mars.

Here’s hoping The Guardian keeps its distance!

More later

😉

The Guardian – Another Progress Report

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Is This The Guardian?

As of now, I’m four thousand, three hundred and forty-seven words, or if you prefer it, ten pages into the WIP.

Finally, I’ve solved the previous problem I had regarding the addition of more characters. Plus, I’ve more or less completed the core of the second chapter. At least now, I’m satisfied with what chapter two is all about.

There are three new characters, loosely based on people I knew way back in the nineteen sixties when I served alongside them in South East Asia. The new characters are an ex Royal Marine, an ex US Special Services soldier, and a former nurse in the Israeli Defence Force.

How long each of them lives for, how much we will learn about them; whether or not they can handle themselves in the situation I am about to drop them into alongside Adler and Lynne, only time will tell.

One thing is certain; Lynne will have to watch the nurse like a hawk. On that subject, I’m saying no more. You will just have to read The Guardian to find out why when I publish it won’t you.

Sorry this progress report is a short one folks. But by now those of you who have been following the reports will realise that I do a lot of thinking before I write each chapter, and each mini scene within any given chapter. Chapter three definitely needs a lot more thought, and some more research, this time on future weaponary which might be available in the twenty-second century, even though I have already begun to write it. It’s high time I stirred things up a bit. Up until now the storyline has been steadily building up to this next chapter and the ones to follow, while establishing a few facts about the characters.

PS – I already did the weaponary research last night. Made my selection of weapons needed. That leaves me more time for thinking. 🙂

More later

😀 😀 😀

At the moment, The Guardian is a red pen free zone

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Is this The Guardian? Wait and see…

One of the joys of writing a first draft is that it is a red pen free zone. Until you reach the end of the story, anything goes, incorrect spelling, incorrect punctuation, even the wrong words and phrases – you name it and you will find you have added it. Beginning the first of many editing sessions is the time to take a critical look at what you had initially written over the many months since you started.

By not worrying too much about what you have written in the first draft, it allows you to get that idea out of your head and onto paper, or in my case, this laptop’s screen. Initially you can write the way you think, instead of observing the standard form of English required for the finished product. To look at it another way, just imagine that at this stage your WIP (work in progress) is nothing more than a very long letter to a friend or relative. While it tells the tale, inevitably it is a tad mixed up. Everything you wanted to say is right there in front of you. Now all you have to do is make sense of it.

The time when you have to become your own worst critic comes much later when you begin that first editing session. To achieve this you have no choice but to become totally ruthless – not an easy process when it comes to your literary toddler. But until you delete some passages, replacing them with others. Cut and paste a particular sentence, or sentences, into the correct place, or maybe even totally rewrite a paragraph or chapter, you haven’t edited it properly.

As for my new science fiction novel, The Guardian, I have finally written the core of chapter one in just 1,996 words. In it I have established the three principal characters Major Adler Stevens, Lieutenant Lynne Crawford, and The Guardian itself. All the way through the chapter, the characteristics, quirks, likes and dislikes, all part of the relationship between the two humans, have been revealed. Not so with The Guardian. All you know about it at this stage is that it watches anyone it deems to be a threat, and…

Oops almost gave something away then LOL.

Fleshing out the chapters will come much later, once I have finished writing the first draft. Now it’s on to chapter two for me.

More later, be good.

😉