Author Interview – Dan Harris : Part 1

Last week I was interviewed by Tim Flanagan, a fellow SF author and an indie publishing enthusiast. Tim likes to share the stories of other indie authors on his very popular blog, and I was delighted to be featured. Check out this installment for my thoughts on the writing process. Parts two and three will be out later this week.

TIM FLANAGAN

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWithin the Indie Author Hub, you can learn about other authors, their thoughts and opinions, what makes them tick and how their writing process works for them.

All this week I will be releasing segments of an interview I conducted with fellow author, Dan Harris, an inspirational Sci-Fi writer. Have a look at his profile and books here.

Part 1 : Dan’s Writing Process

What inspired you to become an author? I’m honestly not sure. I’ve been devouring books since I was about four years old, and writing stories on and off since I was twelve. But it was another fifteen years before I said to myself ‘look, you’ve got no excuse for just talking about writing a novel, instead of actually writing one’. Which did the trick, as I sat myself down and, over the course of a year, banged out Ascension Point. If I wasn’t an author I…

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Indie, Trad, Hybrid: An Impartial Look from Chuck Wendig

There’s been a lot of noise in the internet’s publishing circles over the last few weeks, with the always spirited ‘indie vs. trad’ debate reaching even higher than normal levels of shrieking and hair-pulling on both sides of the aisle. I’ve been pondering a post on the topic, the thrust of which would be this:

Neither indie nor traditional publishing is necessarily right for every author, so every author needs to weigh the options objectively before deciding which way to go.

Happily, the always entertaining and informative Chuck Wendig has gone and written it for me. In this post, he breaks down, item by item, the pros and cons of both traditional and self-publishing, with the calm objectivity of a writer who has done both successfully, and typifies the new breed of ‘hybrid’ author.

Any writer who wants to publish fiction at any point in the future, whether you’re a first-timer or have already published, whether you think you’ve already decided which way to go or not: this is worth reading.

Neil Gaiman: “It’s Time To Be Dandelions”

I’ve already lauded the speechifying of Amanda Palmer on this site. Her husband, the wildly talented Neil Gaiman, gave the keynote address at the London Book Fair/Digital Minds Conference. It was something special.

“I worry that too many of us, like the man in my calendar anecdote at the beginning, are certain that if only we can get 1993 to come back again, we’ll clean up; if we hold our breath and close our eyes and guard the gates with bigger and more dangerous weapons that time will turn backwards and it will be yesterday once again–and we all knew what the rules were yesterday. The rules of publishing were simple: authors, agents, books. Incredibly long lunches. That was publishing. It’s not any more. These days the gates being guarded are gates where there are fewer and fewer actual walls.”

SF Writers + Science Researchers = Getting Big Stuff Done

My mum pointed me in the direction of a fantastic project that Arizona State University are running with legendary sci-fi/historical fiction author Neal Stephenson: Hieroglyph.

Full article here:

The project teams up writers and other creative thinkers with scientists and engineers to write science fiction stories that envision a near future radically changed by technological innovation. Hieroglyph aims to break out of the gloomy, dystopian rut that dominates so many of our visions of the future by inspiring people to think critically and creatively about science, technology and society.

It’s a fascinating and wonderfully ambitious idea; using the wild and speculative imagination of SF writers to generate actionable ideas that could turn out to be the Next Big Thing. And ASU professor Ed Finn supplied a great quote that really encapsulates everything that’s great about SF:

“What science fiction can do better than almost anything else is to provide not just an idea for some specific technical innovation, but also to supply a coherent picture of that innovation being integrated into a society, into an economy, and into people’s lives. Often, this is the missing element needed to bring some new idea to life.”

Great stuff. I’ve signed up to contribute, and I can’t wait to see where this leads.

On To The Next One

With Venus Rising successfully wrapped up and shipped out, I’ve turned my attention to the next book in The Unity Sequence. It’s actually been outlined for a couple of months, but on hold while I finished the edits to Venus Rising. Today I… I want to say ‘broke ground’ on the first draft, but that only applies to buildings. (Note to self: Coin a phrase for starting first drafts. Spread it around. Become famous…. Profit?) Anyway, I had a few hours free while Mrs. Dan was out, so I banged out the first 2,800 words of what’s eventually going to be Causal Nexus. 

In structure it’s going to be a little bit different to the other two books. Ascension Point and Venus Rising are both made up of chapters four to five thousand words long, each with four to six scenes. This works well for a fast-paced story, with quick POV shifts between scenes and lots of action. But Causal Nexus is going to be a slower-paced, more character driven book, so those 2,800 words are just the first scene… and also the first chapter.

There’s still going to be a lot of action, but the story takes place over just one day, and shows how the lives of seven characters–most of whom don’t know each other–can interact in shocking and dramatic ways. I really want to dig into the characters’ thoughts and feelings, and bring across how different they are and how each of their lives touch the others’.

It’s going to be interesting to write, and a bit of a change in style for me. I really enjoyed writing this first chunk, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.