The Colony

Well life has been pretty sweet to me and thought I’d take a little break and tell ya about it.

colonycoverThis will be the cover of the book I just finished writing, which I had an enormous amount of fun writing. It’s pretty awesome :) One day people are going to ask me how I wrote it so I’m putting it down here for posterity while it’s still fresh. I’m telling you this book is kick ass.

It’ll be a bit while it gets edited and pared down a bit (it’s at 424 pgs now) and formatted and jiggered and put into the pipe, so you can’t buy it now but I am happy to announce it has been written, which is 99.99% of what it takes to write a book.

It started out as a kind of YA adventure, a 13-year-old boy who was living on earth only 50 years in the future. So what would that be like?

So then the theme became okay well civilization finally collapses, there’s some kind of big Apocalypse, there’s wars and chaos, people fighting in the streets over cans of food, crazy “preppers” hiding out in bunkers, the whole works.

Well what comes after that? So in this book the Apocalypse is a few years in the past and people have moved on. From there we meet “The Colony”, which is a group of people living together in a mix of old-time farming and modern day technology.

Now this is what I wanted to explore, essentially could you take about 100 people and give them a decent life if they were almost self-sufficient? So on one hand they’re gardening tomatoes by hand and the next they’re using a 3D printer to create their own high-tech gadgets.

So from there the theme led to okay well these Colonists are the protagonists so mostly you want to like these characters. You can’t make them some kind of saints or else it gets too boring, so there has to be some conflict but you still want to like these guys.

So at this point it’s still kind of a nice little YA book, the focus on this boy and his buddies, all of whom are gearing up for an Initiation Rite. When they pass a series of trials they become adults. Just as a side note, this is all because I’ve been reading shit about liminality, which has interesting mythical semiotics, I’ve noticed.

So these kids are gearing up to pass a series of trials to become adults only now the conflict starts seeping in. Turns out that some of the adults aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and in fact some of them have major problems.

Don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers here, I’m keeping it vague on purpose :)

At this point we’ve got quite a cast of characters, the Initiates who are still kids and the adults with their drama going on. And I realize that I want to break out of this becoming some kind of medieval morality play set 50 years in the future.

The book then switches gear, now we’re in with a totally different group of people who live together in a different colony on a nearby piece of land. These guys are living in a totally different way than the first group, so now we’ve got another 20 plus characters who step “into the scene”. Yikes!

In total there are a great deal of “primary” characters plus a host of “secondary” characters, at which point you, the author, are put in what’s known as “Tolkien’s Dilemma”. If you start throwing too many names out there then it becomes an “epic”, a kind of book a small group of people will find amazing and the rest of the readers will throw the book down in disgust, finding it too difficult to keep track of so many imaginary people.

So at this point I must say is where I’m damn excited about the book I wrote, because I managed to get a beefy cast of characters in here, make them unique and interesting without cramming a hosepipe of information at the reader.

For instance, in books I absolutely loathe it when there’s paragraph after paragraph about how people look, as if a detailed visual examination is a sufficient substitute for communicating personality. No.

I think of it exactly like talking to your girlfriend (or bf, whatever) after you come home from a party. “Hey, what’d you think of that guy sitting across from us?” and you discuss the person. Those details, that little “snapshot” of who that person, is how I got all those people “on stage” in this book. Sum it up in a snapshot and let their actions and talking do the rest.

So that worked out fabulous. So now with the Other group of characters to work with, the book went way, way, way past the YA stage and landed straight in “adult material” land, which makes it sound like a porno book, which it’s not. But it does have its bare naked adults being adults section in it and I must say some of that shit is muy caliente. Awesome.

Now we’ve got an adult book, two separate but interacting groups of people and compare and contrast how their lives are going some 50 years in the future. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not good, depends on who you are. So there was some fun elements writing that stuff in.

Then the last stage of writing this was to take a metaphorical stick of dynamite and light it. In other words, you push the action, keep everybody moving, no long naps and pondering about life while lying beside the pool or else it turns into a dreamy literary book, a Jane Austen classic. Speed works, and it gets the characters up and jumping and having some fun.

And then it turns out that out of this cast of characters, the woman named Stormie Roberts, who is conceptually pictured on the cover, became the central protagonist. She’s a pretty cool chick and she gets up to some interesting things but I do need to add an aside about who this person in.

In real life there is a woman named Stormie Roberts, and she’s had a rather tough go in life, and yes that’s her real name. She’s survived some things that people shouldn’t have to and I wanted to do something for her. Since I write books, I wrote the character Stormie Roberts to give the real person some encouragement because she’s pretty bad ass and maybe that’ll cheer her up. If she ever read this and likes it, I’ll be quite honored.

And then on top of all of that, the book is just fun to read. I really blasted through writing this and it was a real pleasure. This is where I also confess that while it’s true my fingers are moving the keys and typing the words, it’s not necessarily “me” writing these books. I guess what I’m trying to say is that every day I’d sit down and say “ok now I’m writing the part where X does Y” and it would begin that way and then do something different or add something totally unexpected (by me).

So I sort of half wrote it and the other half popped out sort of “by itself”. Which since we’re talking about how to write books, a technique I use involves understand how the brain works. Again FOR LEGAL PURPOSES I am not a neurosurgeon. This is just a simple summation!

Your brain has a left and right half, more or less “identical” except one key difference has to do with verbal skills. Basically one half of your brain is much better with words (including writing) and the other half can do it but in a different way but less well.

The problem is your “weaker” half brain section that deals with words is dominated by a related section that loves music. So what I do is I always listen to music when I write. But which music? I don’t want to listen to some beautiful lyrics or “haunting verses” or get me distracted by listening to music when I’m trying to write. I want simplistic music.

For this I personally use europop or eurotrance. Some Russian trance songs are perfect, since I only “hook” on the chorus or a few words (I’m not good at this language) and I’ll just put them on repeat. The music fades out of your active consciousness and the two halves of your writing brain can cooperate, writing the shit you planned and the interesting twists and turns you didn’t “plan”.

If you’re not a fan of Russian music, try any euro-techno remix of an ABBA song. Solid gold!

Anyway, the book turned out great. I really love it and I have a feeling a lot of people will too.

Oh BTW I realized today that a chick with a bow and arrow might make people think of the “Hunger Games”, plus my book is also set in the future. Honestly I’ve never read that book or seen the film but I’ve absorbed the basic concept of it somehow anyway. The book I wrote and that one are just kissing cousins at most, assuming what I’m imagining that book to be like is true.

Plus I’ve got lots of the usual “callbacks” that I put in the stuff I write, particularly a nod to the usual suspects, Enki and Inanna :)

Will let you know when it’s ready! As the British say, I am fucking chuffed by how this book turned out.

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