Thursday, August 20, 2015

Writing Updates!

I finished the first draft of a parallel story/sequel to My Dad Invented a Time Machine. It's tentatively titled A Victim of Time Travel. I like the title, but it gives too much away. If you've read My Dad Invented a Time Machine, you already know what's really going on in A Victim of Time Travel. It's a story about a confused girl whose world has been turned upside down. Basically, it's MDIATM from Jessica's perspective.

I started writing what will probably be a longish short story. It's an idea I've kicked around for 10 years or so and attempted to write a few times without much success. But the story won't leave my brain, and I felt it was time to get it out once and for all. I don't really have a working title for it, but the folder it's saved under is called Another Dimension. Basically, a senior in high school discovers a mirror in his closet is a portal to an alternate reality. Nothing original there, but that's not what the story is about.

I'm getting ready to start what I hope is the final draft of The Fossilized Galaxy. I thought I would have released the book by now, but the third draft, while much better than the second draft, still wasn't good enough. I think I have way too many characters, and at times, they all seem like the same person. Not good.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Author Interview Question #1

No one has asked me for an interview (yet), but I thought I would go ahead and answer some of the common questions an author might get asked.  That way, if I ever get asked to do a real interview, I’ll already know what to say and hopefully won’t sound like (or read like) a mumbling idiot.  So here goes.

Where do your ideas come from?  Where do you get your ideas?  How do you come up with your ideas?

Or some other similar variation.  It's easily the most common question authors get asked.  And to authors who do a lot of interviews, it can get annoying, so don’t be surprised if you get a snarky answer like, the Idea Fairy or the Idea Bank.

The last variation I listed is probably the best way to phrase the question.  It implies that the author has a realistic method for producing ideas, which is at least partially true.  While ideas generally come about in the same fashion, there’s not some switch we can turn on whenever we want to and make one pop out.

When I get an idea, I’m usually thinking about something that happened, and if I don’t already know, I start thinking about why it happened.  What events transpired to make it happen?  Just last week I was at the hospital with my wife, and the nurse kept getting the year wrong.  It’s a common enough occurrence in the new year when the calendar flips over and you can’t get your brain to accept that the 14 should now be a 15 after you’ve been writing 14 for an entire year now.  Except we’re almost halfway through this year and the nurse kept writing 16.  Why would her brain be convinced that it was next year already?  Because she’s a time traveler, of course.  Why would someone, a nurse in this instance, travel back one year in time?  Is she there to prevent some horrible tragedy that killed a bunch of innocent people?  Did she forget to attend her best friend’s birthday party, souring the relationship, so went back in time to make things right?  Did she just want to place a huge bet on game six of the NBA finals?  Maybe all the nurses at this hospital can time travel.  Maybe they’re all really bad at their jobs and they use time travel to fix their mistakes.  Imagine a hospital that could time travel so that their doctors could try every possible solution to save a dying patient.

Boom!  You have an idea.

Is it an original idea?  Probably not.  With millions of people thinking up and writing stories for thousands of years, are there any original ideas left in the world?  Probably not.  Does it matter?  Apparently not.  If every author waited until they came up with a truly original idea, meaning they read and watched and listened to everything ever conceived by humanity, they’d never get around to writing anything.  Just try to put a fresh spin on things and be as entertaining as possible.

I have one published book, so far.  It's a middle grade time travel adventure called My Dad Invented a Time Machine.  If you can’t already tell, I love the concept of time travel.  Who hasn't thought of it on occasion?  The possibilities are endless.

Much of my book takes place in the future with futuristic things.  People get around with magnetic boots.  The world looks dull and gray until you are injected with nanobots that act as a liaison between the world and your senses, bringing everything to life.  Houses are packed into giant, wall-less skyscrapers, so that each level looks like a normal neighborhood with open air where the street should be.  Students pack into a giant building full of tiny, elevator-like rooms and strap themselves into machines that force them to move their muscles while they experience a virtual school, where not all students are real people and some are even viruses that have infected the system. As much as I felt like I was creating a brand new world, it's more likely than not that as I imagined what the future might be like, every single idea I came up with has already been thought of and written about in some fashion by someone before me.

So how did I come up with the "idea" for My Dad Invented a Time Machine?

A dream.  The dream itself didn't make much sense.  I was in the garage of the house I grew up in, standing on top of a wooden waterwheel (the kind that used to be set up in rivers to power factories in the olden days), trying to keep my balance as the wheel rotated.  That's all I can remember happening in the dream, but I woke up with the notion that this waterwheel powered a time machine, and my dad had invented it.  The title has been with the book since its inception.  I thought I would rename it if a better title presented itself, but nothing ever did.  I had to go to work that morning, but as I took a shower, the who, what, when, where, and why aspects of the story began to formulate in my mind.

While I didn’t spend six years writing the book, six years passed from the morning I got the idea until I finally published it.  I rewrote the book half a dozen times until I had something I thought other people might want to read.  I’ll talk more about my drafting process in a future interview question.

My Dad Invented a Time Machine is 99¢ at Amazon.  It’s a short read at just under 25,000 words (more on editing later), but in my very biased opinion, it’s well worth your time and money.  Or you can wait around until I list it for free every few months.  In that case, it’s well worth your time, which is money, right?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My first book has been out for a couple of days now.  A couple of friends have bought it so far.  Thanks guys!  Tomorrow and all this weekend, I'm doing a free book promotion on Amazon.  So, if you don't want to spend even 99 cents on something you're not sure about, perhaps free will be motivation enough.  I understand that even a free book will cost you your time to read it.  I hope you like it!