Free for a short period Lightspeed Frontier: Kicking the Future by Adam Corres Amateur media archaeologist and space explorer, Exia, travels light years from Earth in her own space ship to record old and lost TV and radio signals from … Continue reading
Soul of a Warrior by Denna Holm A handsome blond stranger shows up at Kimi Wicker’s place of work claiming to be her mate. But he also claims to be from another world. She does what any sane woman would … Continue reading
The year is 2078. The former United States of America is a bleak and fading memory for the few citizens of New America. Nearly five years after his wife was taken to a birthing camp by Secans, New America’s mercenaries, … Continue reading
WORLDS OF WONDER by Roxanne Bland I recently read about a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, a star nearest to our Sun. It’s been dubbed Proxima b. About 1.3 times the mass of Earth—a guesstimate—the planet sits in the “Goldilocks” or … Continue reading
|Author Zackery Humphreys|
I prefer this more organic way of creating as it bleeds into my writing. Each sentence inspires the next, and the next, which can sometimes lead to the creation of more ideas as I go along. It’s like stream-of-consciousness with punctuation. I prefer this to a solidified outline I may have already thought about ahead of time. It’s more exciting to write organically and it’s hopefully more fluid for the reader.
For the entire process, I continue lying in bed thinking, jotting down notes, and writing until the project is finished and I’m dead tired!
Speaking of “finished,” the question I’ve been asked probably more than any other is, “How long does it take you to finish a book?” Well, it took me seven years to write Epsilon A.R., from the first word to the final product. Enough time to nearly get through all of high school and college.
This isn’t to say I was working on it constantly though. I started the novel as a fourteen-year-old in my sophomore year of high school and finished the first draft about four months later. That one draft sat on my hard-drive for years without a single word changed.
It took certain things in my life to stop for me to be able to start the project again. From that point, it took another four months to finish the second draft, and about two months more (I’m now twenty-years-old!) to finish the draft I sent out to publishers.
That being said, I’m half-way through two novels within five months along with a few other finished projects on the side. It took me seven years to finish Epsilon, but expect the sequel much sooner. I’ll leave the long waits to George R.R. Martin. Long waits are not usually my thing. I’m impatient and goal-oriented. I like to bunker down and get things done, which is also why I have so many other projects on the side.
In-between the times I’m writing on my novel, I do smaller writings such as screenplays, plays, short stories and poems, some of which will be included in my next book. Writing Epsilon, however, takes a much different type of focus than anything else I do. When I sit down to do it, I start around midnight after all of my rehearsals. This is when the rest of my life can shut off and I can find peace and quiet to write and not think about anything else.
I sit at my desk, put in my earbuds (which don’t play anything) for added silence, and focus all of my attention on it. No one would know just by looking at the page, but I am a perfectionist when it comes to my work, especially Epsilon. I designate certain line spacing, fonts, and sizes for nearly everything. It needs to be laid out perfectly in order for me to focus solely on the writing. I always tell my friends, “I’m not a perfectionist, but when it comes to my work, it needs to be perfect.”
begins to have dreams; something strange and rare in Epsilon. In his dreams, he
meets a man named Harry and everything is fine- until Harry dies.
wakes up, he shrugs it off as if nothing has happened. It was only a dream. But
then the next day, he is suddenly arrested and sent to prison for killing
Harry, whom ALN-896 assumed was just a figment of his imagination.
inside prison, ALN-896 begins to learn about everything the government of
Epsilon has been doing and he plans on escaping. Not only from prison, but from
Epsilon. This one decision turns him against everything he has ever known and
forces him to face against centuries of lies. To escape means to live. But what
will it cost?
bubbled through his pursed lips.
from the exposed wire. He fell to the ground and wiped away the spit dribbling
down his cheek. His heart raced, and sweat poured down his body.
had ever experienced.
never should have grabbed that wire…
around. No one saw what had just happened. He was alone on the desolate stretch
of Simov Street.
I did not get hurt.
get back into his car and let a nice cup of tea calm him.
green tea was automatically dispensed into a cup. He let the liquid slide down
his throat, easing every muscle that had tensed. He melted into his plush seat
as he let his mind come to a halt. Then the silence was interrupted by a
robotic voice. “ALN- 896, your vitals are irregular. Is everything all right?”
one of the house’s trashcans as I was instructed to, but I noticed an exposed
wire on the ground. I went to cover it back up when it…”
touched the wire. He hadn’t been electrocuted, but something strange had
occurred. The only thing he could get out of the experience was that he had
seen a black-and-white tie floating in the darkness behind his closed eyelids.
Nothing surrounded it, but he knew it had been attached to a body. One he
hadn’t been able see, but one he knew existed somewhere within the black.
it shocked me,” he lied.
You still need to inspect the trashcans for Monday’s workday. After your tea,
you need to continue.”
When writing science fiction, what does it take to ‘build’ a new world for your novel? Research, research, research! Although science fiction appears to be top-heavy with spaceships and space battles, to be among the stars means there are other planets to consider, which will be my focus for this article. Otherwise, I find it effective to use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a guideline, to make sure I cover all the bases.
|Attribution: Maslow Hierarchy of Needs|
First, start with the physical world. If humans are already on your ‘new world’, they will have brought human developments with them. Even if you envision pod houses floating about with anti-gravity and geopositional guidance systems, you should know, and occasionally address, building considerations that your reader would otherwise question. For example, how is waste recycled in your traveling pod-home? Where and how do you renew your water supply? Even if you only provide half a line as a description, “… he moved it to the flash-bin,” or “… as he hovered six meters above the lake to up-vac another thousand liters…” your reader will understand you took the time to build your world thoroughly.
If your planet has life-forms, look at the life-forms on Earth. We have creatures that fly, swim, crawl, jump, run, slither, and glide. We have plants that grow out of the ground, fungi that grow under the ground, aerial plants in trees. We have microbes that range from beneficial yeasts to Ebola. Take some time to consider evolution and look for little details that may escape notice. For example, you may have your aliens use cilia to communicate in addition to sensing their environment!
There are an estimated 8.7 million species on Earth. Just look at this excerpt taken from
|Spiders and scorpions||102,248|
|Flowering plants (angiosperms)||281,821|
|Ferns and horsetails||12,000|
|Red and green algae||10,134|
do not include domestic animals such as sheep, goats and camels. Nor do they
include single-celled organisms such as bacteria. The original data can be found at: http://bit.ly/UMehiN
complex, what about other biospheres? A
little research on your part will go a long way!
hierarchy is safety. How do your
pod-homes keep from running into each other?
What kinds of unique employment are available to your characters due to
the physical aspects you design for your world?
How do your spaceships know where, when, and how to achieve parking
orbits? When you latch onto an idea,
make certain you follow through with your reasoning, whether you explain your
reasoning right away or not. In my To Be Sinclair series, there are regular
EM transmitters for most purposes, but for travel between the stars I needed a
mode of instant communication. As a
result, in book one, DIGNITY, I
mention ‘quantum transmitters’:
had never been inveigled nor enchanted, the two massively complicated
techniques used in producing quantum transmitters, with any other particles
whatsoever, much less with the highly-classified materials, filaments, and
diaphragms used for transmitters.
Nevertheless, I do not describe their design more fully until book seven, NOBILITY, because I had no need to do so until then.
One book I am writing has a lot of unique life-forms that love to gobble up human life-force, so I have bounty hunters who expand the ‘clear zones’ for human habitation. Even after a human presence of 70 years, the clear zones barely total 500 square kilometers, perhaps 1/3 the size of Connecticut. Why? Unless you have driven cross-country or hiked for a distance of 20 miles, you probably do not realize how enormous our planet is! The U.S is 6.5% of the world’s land-mass, Connecticut is only 0.01%, and by land-mass I mean only 29.2% of the planet’s surface. And life-forms tend to reflect one quality above all others: tenacity. So if you have a colony of humans, consider how long it would take for them to tame the planet.
If you think about the other needs listed in the pyramid, such as health and resources, your mind can explode with the possibilities, especially if you combine the two. What will human occupation do to the resources on the planet, health-wise? Will human microbes destroy the beautiful ganglionic spider-beings excreting the planet’s most valuable export? Would the humans need to be quarantined, or would the spiders? Then turn it around – what natural resources might affect your colonists, and would it slowly kill them off, or would living on the planet mean the people are constantly ‘high’?
The third step given by Maslow is love and belonging. When creating your society, consider what the goals of the establishment by humans were. Did the explorers want to bring life-forms back to Earth, were they escaping overpopulation, or do they simply plan to rape the planet of its natural resources? Explorers want to understand, people escaping overpopulation want to expand, rapists want to exploit for gain. It is an especially effective story-telling device to have your protagonist represent qualities that contrast with their society, determined to Make A Change.
Now look at the descriptors: friendship, family, sexual intimacy. In what ways will your heroine’s personality differ from the prevalent ones in her society? Why does she stand up for changes, anyway, and how do they affect her family, her lover, and her friends? The social system you devise should reflect everything from the base of the pyramid!
The best part about world-building in science fiction is getting to create intelligent aliens! Take everything I’ve mentioned above, and apply it to your alien species. I would encourage you, however, not to completely eliminate humans in your writing. Unless you anthropomorphize your aliens extensively, the fact is that you are writing for human readers, so if you try to eliminate the human element altogether, your readers may have little sympathy for your protagonist. Little interest = boredom = reduced readership. And we don’t want that, now, do we?
Why does Emperor Victor Sinclair fall
madly in love with Lady Felicia Sorensen?
She is a High Royal lady
scientist in a heavily patriarchal society, and the Emperor has only dated
socialites who see him as an icon and a prize. Felicia’s intellect and
capacity to see him as a man with more than sexual needs instantly inspires
Victor to want her as his Empress, for he needs true love and support, not a
lady who will be a burden upon his time and energy.
Although he entices her with all the
resources at his command, from sexual stimulation and outrageously expensive
gowns to promising she can ‘write her own job description’, Felicia cautiously
learns the differences between love and manipulation. After an
interplanetary invasion and being censured by a ducal panel, all due to one of
her inventions, she must choose between toughing out the extreme social and
political pressures of a high elevation, and pursuing her scientific
achievements. And Victor finds a way for Felicia to do them both!
of the seven-part To Be Sinclair
series. The saga begins with DIGNITY
and its companion volume MAJESTY,
which describe the romance and first years of marriage of the Emperor and
Empress of the Sinclair Demesnes. A few scenes describe sexually explicit
Eva Caye is the author of the To Be Sinclair series of science fiction romances.
After 17 years of teaching, a health crisis
forced Eva to re-evaluate her life.
Morphing from dilettante writer to crafting 8 books in two years, she
published her début novel, DIGNITY,
in August 2012, with MAJESTY expected
out in October (update to follow).
She lives in Louisville,
Kentucky, in a tiny, century-old farmhouse with her incredible husband and two
and Hello October!
October is all about science fiction and fantasy books. Writers are invited to write in about their genre. I’d like to know how they build their worlds, how do they research worlds that don’t exist and how far can they stretch reality and still remain credible.
If you have any questions to my line up of authors feel free to put your questions to them in the comment box below.