Saturday, 30 June 2012

"The Balthazar Experiment" Experiment

One of my goals as a writer was to write a middle-grade science fiction novel. I've always loved sci-fi. I love the idea of SPACE and I love robots and hoverboards and phasers set to stun and all of that techie goodness. But I had no idea of the intricacies of these things. Therefore, I knew writing a sci-fi novel for kids would be a great challenge for me.

As I was writing my series of books called THE HOLE STORIES, in the back of my mind I kept seeing this robotic finger running down the cheek of a very young boy. The boy was looking up with adoration and love in his eyes. What I was seeing had nothing to do with what I was writing, so I stored it away.

When I stepped away from THE HOLE STORIES for a while, I decided to pursue the story behind the strange, touching image locked away inside of me. I spent several months researching robotics and space exploration and climate change and I cobbled together several dozen pages of notes (and facts) I would use in my story. I outlined my first six chapters in detail and began to write.

I like to think I have an organic style of writing. Usually, I have an idea in my head as to where I want my characters to end up, but how they get to that end can change from day to day depending on how I am feeling. I had never outlined any of my chapters before, so when my story started to take on a life of its own, moving in and out of my outline, I was thrown for a bit of a loop. After writing my first few chapters, I was actually getting frustrated with the lack of control I had over the novel (which is strange, because it is that organic, lack of control I usually love). This frustration quickly turned into writer's block. Like so many other novels before it, my just begun sci-fi story for kids ended up in my DEAD STORY FOLDER. It was easier, at the time, to move on to something else than to pull all of my hair out trying to break through the wall I had inadvertently built in front of me.

When my adventure with THE HOLE STORIES finally ended, I was looking for something new to write. My book of ideas was full of potential, but nothing was grabbing my attention...making me want to invest. And then one night a few weeks back that image appeared in my head again...that robotic finger running down a young boy's cheek. Because I had fleshed this scene out a couple of years back, I knew a bit of the back story behind it. I also knew I was being told (by my subconscious) to finish the book. I printed out a copy of what I had written to date and I read it and I couldn't believe how gripped I was by what I had written.

Writers are usually quite humble about what they have written (at least I am). I'm usually happy with what I write, but I will always tell people that I could have written it better. I was suddenly very excited about what I had written and a new feeling was welling up inside of me: anticipation. I couldn't wait to see how the story was going to end. Unfortunately, I was still suffering from that darned thing called "writer's block." Maybe you've heard of it.

When I decided how I wanted my "writing career" to move forward, and the stress of trying to get published again and making money from my words disappeared, I opened myself up to a whole new way of writing...a whole new enjoyment. And because my motivation to write had changed, I decided to do a little literary experiment to try to finish my first work of science fiction. I decided to put a little healthy pressure on myself (for I have always worked best under pressure) and write it as an online serial novel. That way, when I get to the point where I am stuck, timeliness (and hopefully, your interest) will help me move it forward.

The novel is called THE BALTHAZAR EXPERIMENT and beginning Monday, July 2nd, 2012, I will upload a new chapter every Monday until the book comes to a proper conclusion. Right now, a conclusion is in my mind, but as I said above, how we get to it is all up to fate, my fluctuating emotions and constructive comments from my readers.

So put on your helmets, strap on your jetpacks and join me, if you the stars.

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