Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Inspiration for Writing

I was thinking of a challenge that I gave Stephanie awhile back, an examination of where inspiration comes from. I decided to take my own challenge.

Just in case any readers of this blog aren’t aware of this by now, I love science fiction. Especially when the two parts of the name (Science and Fiction) come together.

When I write my own science fiction I get my inspiration in two ways. Either I have a great idea for a story and I blend the science into it, lovingly working on the storytelling and character development, summing up the science in very well crafted and concise paragraphs taking weeks to get the proper flow so none of the elements drown each other out. I then send those stories out to magazine editors who tell me that my story was the worst piece of gibberish they have ever read.

The second way I get my inspiration is to have a fantastic idea for a technological feat, like wrapping up a small star in buckypaper and harnessing its energy to create a livable solar system, or pushing someone out of space-time and having them react in horror as their observable universe grows smaller and smaller until it becomes smaller than their own body. I then quickly force this great imagery into a story, taking about 10 seconds to work on the storytelling and maybe 15 seconds on the characters and send it off to magazines that specifically state that they are not interested in imagery and only care about character development. A few months later they send me a check.

Either this shows me my strength in writing is my imagery, or that editors have no clue what they like.

The problem in having my strength being in coming up with unique new technological feats and writing about them passionately is I have to keep topping myself. Which might be a problem with my new series of books about the 23rd century solar cold war.

The idea for the trilogy is a simple one. One group (Ganymede) uses their technological skill to the betterment of mankind. This threatens the existing power structure (Earth) who tries to stop them.

I originally envisioned this as standard trilogy, Book One: Introduces the players and ends in a draw. Book Two: The heroes are foiled and find out the enemy is more powerful than they think. Book Three: The heroes regroup and press on to victory.

Now I’ve got two problems: In the first book, The Setting Earth, I used my technological imagery to give a solution to end all human poverty and scarcity (With no inventions that aren’t being worked on today). For the second Book I’ve got them building several thousand square kilometers of solar panels at Mercury’s Lagrange point with the sun in order to do three things. First block 90% of the sun’s light from hitting Mercury so it can be terra-formed into an Earthlike planet. Second create a 180 Terajoule pulse to power a particle accelerator that can produce a gram of matter and a gram of Anti-Matter per hour. Shrinking the solar system by allowing anti-matter propulsion ships to go from Earth to Saturn in two weeks instead of months using He3 fusion reactors. Third, the matter they create allows for faster than light communication through Quantum entanglement. They are also planning on using the 180 Terajoule pulse to create a million ton singularity to power an interstellar probe by Hawking’s radiation to meet the extra-terrestrial civilization they have detected through the gravimetric ripples left by the spacecrafts traveling 50 light years from the Solar System.

The easy problem is I’ve got to come up with an even more elaborate technological feat for the final book. I don’t know what it is yet but I will think of something.

The tough problem is I’ve fallen in love with my characters and having them go through the set back in the second book isn’t something I look forward to.

So, that’s how I get my inspiration, I think up fantastic technological imagery that people who say they don’t like technological imagery love. Then I struggle over the storytelling that I care about but all the people who say that’s what they want, can’t stand my storytelling.


Stephanie B said...

I so hate marketing writing. I love writing. Seriously adore it. I have played with technology and images before, particularly in short stories, but my novels are all about people (OK, the short stories are, too).

They don't sell either. Of course, I haven't tried to market a story or a novel (I mean, put some effort into it) for so long, I have no real idea, but I've done the marketing routine unsuccessfully before. And, when I finish this novel (yes, all about characters), I'll have to stop procrastinating and try all over again.

Damn it.

Project Savior said...

Let me know when you finish (or if you're like me get to the point where you think rewrites are becoming counter productive) and I'll share what I've learned in getting a book published.
I hate writing query letters as my books tackle a lot of subjects and it's tough to boil down to one page, a book that has the main character with OCD dealing with biology, insect behavior, and quantum mechanics.

Stephanie B said...

I might just take you up on that. But not until I get this novel's first draft finished and go through one more revision on the second novel.

Sweet of you, though.

vet said...

If you're having trouble giving the characters a setback, then develop some characters you can sympathise with on the other side. For them it'll be a triumph. And your story will be waaay better.

I have a lot of sympathy with people who resist the "betterment of mankind". Because what "betterment" always boils down to, in the end, is growth - expansion - consumption - more of everything. What their evil tyrannical governments are trying to do is contain that.

Take the Great Wall of China, for instance. For centuries, China was plagued by barbarian nomads from the north raiding its territory. It kept making peace with them - but every time it did, its own people would move and settle further north, driving the nomads off their land, and the nomads would, not unreasonably, take that as an act of aggression, and the whole thing would start over.

The Great Wall put a stop to that. It was a big, visible symbol that said to the people inside, "you can cross this if you want, of course we can't really stop you, but if you do then you're none of our business and we won't take responsibility for you." To the nomads, it said "This is our land and we're not going any further. Thank you for not raiding."

And that's how oppression works. Few people oppress just for fun; there's always a reason for it.

Project Savior said...

Thanks Vet,
I love the understandable Bad Guys. My favorite bad guy was Donald Sutherland as the Handicapper General in Harrison Bergeron. He killed his own daughter and brought the world to the brink of destruction all in order to preserve the system which he felt saved people from themselves.
I'm slowly fleshing out the Evil counterpart to the female lead. Who feels the 9 billion people of Earth have a greater right to the riches of the solar system than the 100 million colonists.