Monthly Archives: March 2015

To Outline or to not Outline, That is the Question

I just returned from a “traveling light” vacation with my wife, which meant no laptop. No laptop meant no writing, which was a good thing. It forced me into some serious thinking about “my next science fiction novel.”

One decision made was a working title, as “my next science fiction novel” is a bit wordy. I’ve decided on Mindfield. Many thanks to our friend Pam for suggesting it. (Pam is the daughter of Krin, the namesake of the empathetic co-protagonist of my Truth-Teller books.)

I’m excited about Mindfield’s concept and storyline. If the written product is anything like what’s in my head right now, I should have a winner.

I want to write this novel more efficiently. Some authors might sneer at that concept. I’ll agree a purely character driven novel probably can’t be written efficiently. On the other hand, I believe most successful authors of plot driven book thrillers do a detailed outline. Most novels lie somewhere in between these two extremes. Mindfield will have a strong protagonist, who’ll experience serious change during the course of the book, but it will also have a twisty-turny plot.

I’ve always done a rough outline, followed by a first draft. That was fun, but then things got messy. I’d add or delete characters. I’d change plot points. These resulted in tedious rewrites that took time and weren’t fun. All those changes made it easy for me to miss the renaming of a city or a character. That meant more typos to catch, and I hate typos.

I believe that having a more detailed outline should produce a better result with less angst and effort. That outline includes decisions on point of view, characters, protagonist and antagonist, and story arc. I’ll be sharing these over the next few weeks.


Filed under Art and Craft of Writing

The Genesis Of My Next Sci-fi Novel

Just because I’m still rewriting Magellan’s Navigator doesn’t mean I’m not planning my next Sci-fi work.

First there comes the concept, the germ, the seed of an idea. Many book ideas surface in my head, but an idea takes a second  and writing a book takes months. So I must thin these seedling ideas, so the best can grow.

It all starts with what if?

What if the protagonist thinks they’re human, but they’re really an A.I., or maybe they are human, or something else entirely, like an alien. My reader will take this journey of self-discovery with my protagonist set against a little space opera and a little romance.

Think Blade Runner meshed with Old Man’s War.

Future blogs will discuss my own journey in first designing and plotting this book, and then writing it. There are many things to decide. Whose and how many points of views should I use? What events propel the plot? What is the “world” in which the story takes place?

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Filed under Art and Craft of Writing