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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ready to Write?
So, I had my concept - how was I going to put it all down? I had so much material that there was no way I would fit it into one book. (Or two bigs one's come to that).
Being an avid Sci/fi-Fantasy fan, I was initially delighted - I thought - I have enough for an initial trilogy (With plenty left over to build into a follow-up trilogy) - Fantastic! People love reading a series of three or more books don't they?
Well, yes they do!
But the trouble is, for them to be able to get to read them, you have to get the idea past agents and publishers, and thats harder than you think.
Why?
The stone cold answer is costs, schedules and risk.
If you are already established and people are reading your books - presenting your soundly researched and well constructed series will no doubt result in your arms being snapped off by happy agents/publishers and a gleeful rubbing of hands as they prepare their schedules around a "dead cert"!
When you're unknown, you've got to accept the reality of the fact... YOU ARE A RISK!
All sorts of factors intertwine and combine to get your manuscript properly edited, prepared and into print, and if you don't prepare that first book properly, you can be making a huge hurdle for yourself.
So - right from the word go - prepare, prepare and prepare some more, BEFORE you start writing.
Ensure your first book, EVEN if it's part of a series, can come to a proper conclusion "on its own".
In this way, you will make yourself a much more attractive prospect, and the agent/publishers will feel your story is less of a risk, not just financially, but to the schedules they have to prepare ahead for.
So, having prepared, having researched, you want to get it written down
Very few just sit down in front of a computer and begin thrashing out chapter after chapter.
Most are like myself.
I made an outline - or skeleton as I liked to call it - onto which I hung the main organs of the story - the vital plot points and developments that made my story my own and kept it unique.
Over these I put the outer layers, the muscles and sinews, that gave it depth and character. (Things like well researched and grounded scientific, technological and psychic knowledge/understanding/systems. What is our current understanding - how can it be extended to fit my concept and yet remain believable? Who are my characters? Where are they from, what do they look like, what's their history? How do they react under certain conditions and how will their journey help develop my story?)
Guardian Angels details the adventures of a futuristic global Fire & Rescue, Police & EMS Emergency Service. So, for me, part of this layer entailed making contacts in those services, finding out what their standards of practice are, how they react under certain conditions. How could I adapt their current practices into my concept and expand it into the Sci/Fi-Fantasy realm, but keep it realistic without losing the "feel" or futuristic exitement.
Regarding the abilities - what abilities are there? What are their strengths/weaknesses, how would they develop, how would a person be trained to use them, what rank structure would be incorporated into this, etc etc - and these are just a few of the things to consider in this layer.
(Do you see how much preperation is required?)
This allowed me to be much more flexible as I began to put the actual story into writing, (The outer layers), and I found that, as the story began to take shape in print, I was able to think of alternatives and much better plot twists, (some short term/others for later books) that I would not have been able to work into the outline had I not prepared so thoroughly.
Also, I made a schedule and stuck to it.
I know these things may sound ridiculously simple, but so many aspiring authors fall by the wayside because they go exhausting themselves in a hurried panic to get things "in writing", giving up because they see from the word "go" their dream just doesn't gell.
I wanted to be a successful author.
I had a concept that would work.
I had sufficient material to ensure the story contained well developed characters using well grounded special powers based on thoroghly researched science/theoretical science/ and accepted working practices used by experts throughout the world.
I'd also done research on how to write action scenes, fight scenes, normal everyday scenes, how to mix the style a bit to report the story from different angles to keep it fresh and help the reader see it from different perspectives.
And all this before I'd done any writing!
Thankfully - that comes next time.... See you then

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