Tuesday, May 15, 2007


News: New novel out — Fracture.

It’s available at lulu.com as a paperback ($US14.67) or as a pdf ebook ($US3). Check out my website.

This is a near future romp with a couple of lesbians, a transsexual and one old-fashioned “God’s gift to women”.

Characters are interesting creatures and you never know exactly what you’ll end up with when you start a book. In The h’Slaitiarr Conspiracy the character Wandar originally started out as a man (Walter) who I saw as being German, but when he started reacting to his partner Anil in an odd sort of flirting way, I realized I had a problem since I didn’t see Walter as being gay. At that point, I was a third of the way into the first draft and it stymied me a bit. Back then I usually went power walking 9 klicks, five days a week, and whether it was the extra blood rushing to my head as my heart pumped harder, I don’t know, but I always found it helped my creative juices and on one of those walks it hit me: Walter was a woman!

And so Walter became Wandar, a dominatrix from Poland (don’t ask me why) and everything fell into place. And in so doing, it affected the plot because a sexual tension arose between Wandar and the main character, Rodan, that hadn’t been there before.

Something similar happened in the third book, Pyran’s Dilemma. This was originally the follow up to The h’Slaitiarr Conspiracy when I had no thought of writing a trilogy.

The opening chapter began with Rodan’s friend Rob Burton, who had only appeared in one chapter in the first book and who was to be a main character in the second. It was after his rejuvenation and he had a desire to work on termination parties for some reason he couldn’t fathom. I had most of the plot fleshed out, but the story was still shorter than I wanted and I knew I needed some extra subplots. In that first chapter Rob had a manager, Samantha Jervois, who was basically to be met once and that was all and was there to show how Rob had changed after his rejuvenation, but when Samantha’s boss, Alex Bose, called to order Rob to the company’s head office, a conflict between the two women just wrote itself as I typed. They’d had a personal relationship and Alex had been Samantha’s subordinate within the company until Alex had stabbed Samantha in the back to get the promotion that Samantha was going to get.

I realized I had to either cut this out or use it in some way. And then, at the end of one of my walks, as I had struggled with it, the idea finally came to me. And then, a third of the way through this book, when Rob managed to interrogate the robot Aldar, I realized that there was another story that needed to be written when I had to come up with a history as to Aldar had gotten into this situation and that helped me complete the missing plotlines.

So what have I learned? It’s important to get your characters right, even the minor ones, but it isn’t necessarily important that they be right the first time. Writing any story is an exercise in exploration. I like to have a reasonably fleshed out roadmap of what I’m going to write so that I don’t get bogged down with writer’s block, but that doesn’t mean I can’t change direction if something arises in the story. The worst is that you might have to go back and rewrite possibly even whole chapters, but if it leads to a better story then it has to be worth it.

And after all, isn’t revising what writing is all about?

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