Getting really excited for this one. I love working on stuff for anthologies. So far I’ve participated in two of the three “Fables for Japan” volumes. And it is an experience I’ll never forget. So when I was turned onto “Futuredaze,” I knew I had to submit something. Not only is it an anthology, but a YA SciFi one at that!
So over this weekend I began brainstorming on ideas.
First thing I did was refresh my memory on SciFi themes. To make sure nothing popped out at me that I may have forgotten. I tend to lean toward more “hard” SciFi, and even though this is YA, I wanted to keep that aspect of my writing personality and run with it.
With that said, one of the questions I love playing with in SciFi is, “What does it mean to be human?” I then answer it, or at least ask it, within the context of a SciFi background.
My first idea that really grabbed me was a take on “Frankenstein’s Monster.” In this case the idea germinated with how does the world react to the first Cyborg? There have been plenty of stories dealing with Androids. But what about a person who is mostly cybernetic, but with a few human parts left.
Specifically, what if this where a young boy–say ten–who was in a tragic accident? And his parents, unable to bear losing him, agree to allow his brain to be transplanted into a cybernetic body. This had a lot of possibilities to me; a lot of questions. Is he still human? How does the world react to this? How does he feel about it? Could someone so psychologically young be able to comprehend the gravity of their situation?
I was really digging its direction when my brain threw out a red flag. One of my fellow writing group members had something similar. Not necessarily about a boy and a cybernetic body. But it was close enough that I no longer felt comfortable going through with the idea.
Then it was back to the drawing board.
A bit bummed, I watched some Youtube videos and then headed to bed. And in that wonderful twilight of sleep, I got it. The idea that was both unique–at least to me–and that still dealt with the question, “What does it mean to be human?” I then fell asleep…
Some of you are thinking, “Ha! He didn’t write it down. He forgot it. Silly, sad, Jeffrey.”
But I didn’t remember it. So, shame on you. Because I have a ethos that I go by. I don’t write down general ideas. And I’ve been called crazy for it. But my belief is, if it was a strong idea, it will stick with you. It will resonate with you and your brain will continue to mull over it.
Come morning time I did a bit of rethinking and pulled it back up. Now was the time to start writing down the details. Within an hour I had the basics completed with the central conflict ready to roll.
At this point I don’t mind telling you all that it borrows from Star Wars and Les Miserables (considering I had just seen the show, it is no wonder). Quite a pairing, isn’t it? But there are two elements in both that my subconscious latched onto. Clones and little kids scavenging the battlefield for ammunition.
That’s what I’ll leave you with. I hope it makes some of you sit up with interest like it does me.
Received an email from Amazon last night, stating that I shall be receiving my first deposit for my short stories. That’s right everyone, I can now say I’m a paid author. You will now all refer to me as Professional Author Jeffrey N. Baker now.
Excuse me, I’m having to extract my tongue from my cheek.
Seriously, I do find it kind of cool. Though I think for the most part my foray into self-publication, for the time being, is at a standstill. I won’t be pushing the work like I had been. The marketing involved is too time consuming and I would rather spend that time writing, polishing, and getting a novel finished.
The process was worth it, I’ll admit. I learned a lot and next time will know exactly how to go about getting my work out there and into people’s hands. But for the time being, I’ll throw both works up on Smashwords for free in the coming months. Sales have nearly dried up as it is, so I don’t feel like I’ll be losing out on anything.
In other news.
A writing friend, Gary Henderson, sent me a link about an upcoming Anthology for sci-fi YA. It is going to be called “Futurdaze.” It sounds like a load of fun which I’m going to jump on with a quickness. As I get deeper into the literary world, I find that I want to get my name out there more and more. And I think this is an avenue for that.
Speaking of anthologies, I will have another submission appear in Volume 3 of “Fables for Japan.” It is titled “Brothers’ Three” and gets a bit dark. What makes this particular submission interesting is that it is my first comic I’ve ever written. Thanks to my good friend Chris Bivins for lending his amazing art to tell the story visually.
Once that book is out, I’ll be sure to let you all know.
Well, that’s all for today. I’m sure you had a stupendous time reading my words. Right? Write.
Last night my wife and I went to see “Les Miserables” at the Fox Theatre. I have seen the musical twice before. Once at the Atlanta Civic Center and once on Broadway. Naturally, the Broadway cast set the bar for every future cast. And that’s a high bar.
But, I’m not here to talk about the pros and cons of each character (though believe me, I could, and in great detail). Instead, I want to talk about adding new material to old work. Specifically, after its release.
See, this tour of Les Miserables added in some new music. From what I could tell, it was there to help “clear up” confusion in the plot. However, they only succeeded in making some hamfisted entries that felt incongruous to the rest of the music/score. Though, to my wife who had never seen it, she couldn’t tell otherwise.
Another way to put it is this. Say someone took the original “Star Wars” franchise and added in new musical scenes with crappy CGI. It breaks the original flow and doesn’t support the original tone. I’m glad no one has done that….
This got me to thinking about different mediums of entertainment, and how they approach adding new material. For movies, we get this in director’s cuts. Plays will often shift things around and play with settings and how they are presented. This happens a lot with Shakespearian plays. “Ooo, let’s set Hamlet in the African plains and make them all animals!”
But how does this work with books? I’ve heard mention that Orson Scott Card has gone back and edited Ender’s Game a few times. Cutting and adding (I wish I knew the details. I suppose I could look it up, but I’m being lazy).
However, on the whole I can’t think of many authors that do this. It seems like, for the most part, books are left alone. We, the author, don’t go back and twiddle with something that’s already been published. We just let it stand on its own merits. Is there something about print that makes us feel it is immutable?
For my digital short story, “Slip Drive” I did several edits after its release. There were several issues that I and others had overlooked so I wanted to be sure to address those. And Amazon makes uploading a new version very easy. Which I think is a blessing and a curse to the self-publishing industry.
The feeling of the immutable printed book, I feel, drives us to be more meticulous with our presentation. Where as digital distribution (for some people) gives the publisher a license to “get it out quick.” We can always worry about the minor details later, right?
I suppose, for the most part, I’m rambling. But for fun, let’s calling it musing over the concept of tinkering with already published work. And why some mediums are more likely to keep tinkering, while others just let it go.
That makes it sound more important, right? Write.
I have a good wife. Last night she looked at me and said, “Go write.”
She can be very persuasive.
So I sat down in my little writing nook in the guest room and pumped out a few pages. I can’t say that I’ve broken my rut. But I can say that I’ve taken my own advice given to beatbox32 and powered through. With the help of my wife’s shove.
Not much to say on the novel front other than that. I’m getting some things done and should have two more chapters for my local writing group this Sunday.
Well, March has come and gone and I have a small update to how “Slip Drive” and “Hiroko’s Tale” have done over that month. Hiroko didn’t do much of anything so I won’t speak on it, but “Slip Drive” ended up selling 30 copies over that month. That is actual sales, not freebies. I make that distinction because I see a lot of people talk about their numbers, but they tend to only mention their free units.
With that said, I think 30 copies with no advertisement on my part isn’t that bad really. A little less than one a day. I haven’t had anymore people leave reviews but with the ones that are there, I think they help give me the few sales that I do have.
My next step is to put both “Hiroko’s Tale” and “Slip Drive” up on Smashwords once their KDP Select enrollment is done. Hiroko was done on the 16th and I have to wait until the 29th for “Slip Drive.” It will be interesting to see how things work when they are on more than one platform.
Well, it can’t hurt right? Write.