Notes From a Twenty Year Almost Career. The guest musings of Indie Author Terrance Foxxe
Get lazy. Don’t bother with researching squat. It’s not that important. You can fake your way through anything. They don’t call it fiction for nothing.
I have invented many a world. Some familiar, some strange, some extreme. Readers can tell if a story rings true. If it doesn’t . . .
Blues for a Red Planet
was one of those created-world stories. I took a manned orbital flight around a living and vital Mars, added a monumental disaster, an exploding planetoid between Mars and Jupiter, had that lone survivor get lucky and land on Earth roughly three million years in our past. His present, our past. What I had pointed out to me was, Earth would have been pelted with debris from the exploding planetoid, too. Life might have been wiped out on one planet, but the other planet would have suffered something terrible. Nuclear winter terrible.
My lone survivor lived in the sun, ate freely, and helped found modern humanity.
It’s not a concept, it’s a writing reality.
What is logical progression? One thing leads to another thing, which leads to another, which leads to another. A bowling ball gets knocked off a roof, hits a window ledge, and gets bounced out into the street. Five stories below is where you are. You hear a strange sound, possibly a shout of exclamation or warning. Maybe you hear the ball hit the ledge, a hollow thwok sound. You look up and see the ball falling. You either let it hit you, or you get the hell out of the way. That’s what logical progression is.
New writers tend to rush the process, and you can’t. Each scene has within it potential. Each scene moves at its own pace. Logical progression demands a scene is what it is, is detailed or not, takes as much time to unfold as it does, builds up a sense of what comes next, or builds up suspense, and does all this within the confines of your character’s perception. What they see, touch, taste, hear, smell, feel, physically or emotionally.
This is their world, after all, and you are simply their scribe. Your characters, they don’t know you exist.
Your characters don’t live in your world, but in their world. Do you know how their world works? Do you know the streets of their city, and the flavors of people you find section to section within their city?
Do they live on a space station, another planet, or as part of an alien culture?
Do you have what it takes in knowledge to define their existence? Can you find that knowledge? Probably, sure.
In building worlds you need to know mast from bow if you’re writing about pirates, and it doesn’t matter if the pirates are on this planet or another, solar sails or canvas sails. You need to know how things work, what to do and why you do the things you do. You need to know the details. God is in the details.
Your characters need to know what the consequences are to their actions.
The characters you put in your literary world need to know what to do, but they act as themselves. What they would do, and not what you want them to do. Logical progression. Details.
In writing my second novel I had a lot to learn about Heaven and Hell. I had to learn the story of the Christ. Every word had to ring true in a horror story that relies on Revelations to make my plot points. I had to know the rules my world depended on in order to bend or break them. I had to know the details. Mix in logical progression, how one detail affects my character’s actions and/or reactions, you got movement, you got plot, you got a book.
What not to do!
deus ex machina
. God in the machine. Angels coming out of nowhere to save, at the last minute, your hero.The Soap Opera Effect.
Life has its ups and downs, but you don’t go down in a jet every time you board a plane. The people who inhabit the world of soaps do, and they live through it, only to be saved by a fisherman, who then takes advantage of their amnesia, and on and on. Pointless suffering. All of your suffering should have a point to it.
Do your research. Examine, study, talk to people. Your average working Joe or Jane doesn’t mind talking to you about what they do. In fact, most will be thrilled that you sought them out, and are listening to what they have to say. They, indirectly, get to be in your book! And, it’s kind of fun. You don’t get to carry a gun and solve real crimes, but I have witnessed an autopsy. In real life, the inside of the human body reeks.
“Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.”
– Mark Twain
Terrance Foxxe is crazy enough to share everything he knows about catering to readers, because readers matter most to the Indie Author of today, and tomorrow. He had two books published under his real name, only to discover publishers really suck. After being royally ripped off and then some, he is the Indie Author of A Post-apocalyptic Story of Love,$2.99 USD & In The Dreaming, $0.99, both for the Kindle. Links provided. He’s now a happy man. Buy his books. Read them. Write reviews.
He blogs at http://terrancefoxxe.blogspot.com/