22 February 2011

The spark that lit the Muse of fire...

Every time I get a new follower I feel the need to post something! So here is something I thought of posting a while ago but did not. I try to answer the question of How did I get started with this madness?

I read a lot of sci-fi as a teenager and eventually I wanted to tell my own stories, so I did. I tried to emulate my favorite authors, including plots, character quirks, snatches of favorite dialog, and so on. Eventually I was putting enough of my own spin on the stories to begin calling them original creations.

The technology limited me at first: the manual typewriter (later electric) were my prized possessions. I planned out novels but my actual writing was limited to short stories. In high school I wrote a "1984" ripoff that was 66 pages single-spaced, including 10 chapters--the longest thing I'd written to that date. I wrote screenplays as a way to get the whole story out without having to fill in the details in novel form. Finally, I got a computer (Tandy 1000, monochrome monitor, no hard drive, dot-matrix printer) and, being able to save my work and edit later, the manuscripts expanded quickly.

Gradually, my reading expanded into mainstream and literary fiction, including the literary canon, and so did my writing. My sci-fi transitioned into magical realism, then contemporary fiction. I let myself be inspired by my surroundings. When I lived in Japan, I wrote a Japanese novel: a modernization and role reversal of the Madame Butterfly story. I set aside my sci-fi completely when I entered graduate school, taking creative writing classes. In an MFA program such dalliances were verboten so I wrote a serious literary fiction novel as my thesis--which is now my ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) entry: A BEAUTIFUL CHILL, a "ribald tale of the girl who got away."

Now I'm back with my sci-fi series, expanding the first novel into a trilogy (second novel completed, third begun). I can return to it after years in literary fiction because I finally recognized that at the heart of a tale of interdimensional intrigue is a romance. The two protagonists, beginnning as high school sweathearts, take turns saving each other from the hazards of life on another world. They eventually figure out that, despite their many lovers and spouses, they remain each other's soul mate, something that transcends social coupling or physical desires.

That's where I am now.

Oh, and the MFA thing... I'm not sure how much credential it carries these days but I do know that an MFA and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee at a rather upscale, pricey coffee shop!

What got you started?  I'll bet you've forgotten.

No comments:

Post a Comment