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Write What You Know

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Write what you know

It’s what every writer has been told in every class they’ve ever taken. For a long time, I took it literally and despaired. Because I loved all things genre. I loved science fiction–“hard” or “soft”, whatever that means–fantasy, horror, mystery… You name it, I loved it. But how could I write it when I was only allowed to write what I knew?

I didn’t know enough about science to do science fiction, I thought. I certainly didn’t know enough about crime-solving to do mysteries. But, oh how I wanted to. I kept thinking of stories, kept writing stories, that had fantastic elements. Stories my teachers frowned upon in school, but my friends loved. Stories that came to me down a dream-pipe, completely without my assistance. When something beautiful shows up, just like that, dressed and ready to go, how do you ignore it?

Then I learned the truth. That the ‘what you know’ meant what you knew as a human being too. So stories weren’t all about the academic or procedural research. They were about translating the human experience. Your human experience. Because yours was the only one you were an expert on.

I should not have taken so long to figure this out–after all, if that rule was literal, how could Ray Bradbury write the Martian Chronicles, or Carl Sagan write Contact–but it was a daunting thing, all the same. Now I not only had the responsibility of credibility that research catered to–I had to bare myself in public in certain ways. I had to write what I knew, and in doing so, tell the whole world a little about myself. I don’t remember who said it, but they were right when they said a writer is someone who appears in public with their pants down.

It’s not an easy thing to put down your thoughts, hopes, dreams, nightmares so others can share them. There’s always that risk that you’ll be rejected. Or laughed at. Or worse, that no-one will care. But for everyone who has the courage to write what they know, they take a chance that somewhere, someone will find a kindred moment.  A shared experience. Somewhere out there, a bond will form between writer and reader, between two people who have never met. And it will be a deep and lasting friendship.

So to those of you who have had the courage to risk yourselves in the telling of your stories–take a bow. It doesn’t matter if you get paid to do this. You know what this really means, this writing what you know. You deserve to celebrate yourselves a little.

And to those who haven’t had the courage to try yet. Well..what are you waiting for? Write what you know.
We’d love to hear from you.

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The Next Big Thing

I’m participating in a fun author blog hop called The Next Big Thing.

I was tagged for this exercise by the talented Susan Elizabeth Curnow, who has a wonderful science fiction novel out called Game of Adversaries.

I was lucky enough to read this book at the beta stage and I’m so happy I get to finally see it in print and check out the published ending!

She blogs at http://susanelizabethcurnow.weebly.com/games-of-adversaries.html. Her scifi novel presents unforgettable characters and inventive alien societies clashing over the future of an incredible world.

What is my next big thing?
A science fiction mystery novel coming out in the fall of 2013.

What is the working title of your book?
Lex Talionis (The Law of Revenge).

Where did you get the idea for the book?
Several things came together in my head one night while I was lying in bed. Bats in the roof were keeping me awake, and I’d just seen what my 9 year-old mind thought was one of the best movies ever. A made for TV romp called Ice Pirates. I started thinking about mercenaries flying around space, and how cool it would be if the leader was a tough-as-nails girl.

What genre does your book fall under?
Science Fiction Mystery. Is that even an established genre? No idea.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Lex: Well, that’s a tough one. She’s not classically pretty to my mind, but she’s arresting. I must have dark hair, even if I have to give up her green eyes. I recently discovered Rachel Nichols in Continuum and I like her because she reminds me of Lex, but she’s a bit older than I’d want.

Elena Satine isn’t bad either, but she’s also older. Chloe Grace Moritz and Hailee Stanfield can act the part, and they’re young enough, but are they too young?

And I’m taking this waaaayyy too seriously now.

Michael: Tom Sturridge

Colin: Matthew Morrison might be okay

Anton: Idris Elba in lieu of someone bigger. If I could have someone the size Michael Clarke Duncan and with Idris’ acting chops I’d be in heaven.

Andor: Steven Amell  or Sam Worthington

Ru-ad: Ben Kingsley or Bill Nighy

Oux: Andy Serkis ::grin::.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young woman searches for the her identity–and the men that murdered her–with the help of the alien that brought her back from the dead.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published by Dragonwell Publishing. http://publishing.dragonwell.org/

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It’s been in existence in one form or another since I was a teenager. However, I sat down and finished the first real draft over a period of about six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m not sure I have a genre to compare it to.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
When I came up with Lex, there weren’t a lot of kick-ass leading women in science fiction. I wanted to write about a real person, with problems, flaws and loves, and I wanted her to be strong and unique, but vulnerable too. I wanted a kick-ass woman I could relate to.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
At its heart, it’s about revenge and the consequences of choosing that course of action. But the universe Lex lives in has humans practically on the bottom rung of the ladder, and I also explore the future of eugenics and how it might influence warfare.

Next up, I’ve tagged awesome authors to participate and tell you about their Next Big Things:

Walter Williams http://renakuzar.livejournal.com/ has a historical fantasy novel coming out from Dragonwell this year called The Garden at the Roof of the World. I had the pleasure of seeing early drafts of this book, and I can tell you, he’s captured the past in beautiful passages that make our history as interesting and wondrous as an alien world.

Tara Maya http://taramayastales.blogspot.com/ has book 6 of her Unfinished Song series launching soon. If you’re looking for a fantasy with a unique magic system, these books are for you!

Welcome

Hello and Welcome!

This blog is about me, you and the stories in-between. I’ll be talking about what moves me, what inspires me, what frustrates me–anything and everything about the craft of writing. As I’m also in the middle of publishing my first novel with an indie publisher, expect to see some of the process as well.

I will probably update this once a week. I’ll only do more if I find I have more to say. But sometimes the blog will be about other things I like too–for example, movies, books, and my mostly quiet life in the Caribbean with my extended family and my shared puppy, Loki. (How is he a shared puppy? Well, he has two mommies, a grandmother, a grandfather and a daddy to start with!)

Feel free to check out the rest of the site. I’m most excited about the area called ‘The Trunk’. There, I’ll post free stories that are finished, but unpolished, polished but never sold, even stories that sold. I’ll also have stories from different stages of my writing development (let’s just say I started a looong time ago). I hope that it will tell you something about me, what I write and where I’m coming from as a writer. Some of those old stories are unsalvageable. Others might be. You, dear reader, get to choose which is which. There is a poll under the stories and if you like an unfinished or old story, then vote on it and I’ll finish the story, just for you. Or re-write it, if that’s what you want. I won’t do so until I get more than a few votes so feel free to vote away.

That’s it for now. Don’t be a stranger.