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To Published & Beyond — One Author’s Voyage Pt.1

For the next few weeks I’m going to be talking about my path to becoming a published author of science fiction and what life has been like for me on the other side. My novel, Starfire, was conceived in a Laundromat back in the year 2000. I was fresh out of college and had just moved into a basement apartment, ready to take on the world. For years I had been messing around with characters and concepts surrounding my world of Sauria, but I’d never actually gotten a story to coalesce into a novel. I decided it was time to change that.

For the next few weeks I’m going to be talking about my path to becoming a published author of science fiction and what life has been like for me on the other side.

My novel, Starfire, was conceived in a Laundromat back in the year 2000. I was fresh out of college and had just moved into a basement apartment, ready to take on the world. For years I had been messing around with characters and concepts surrounding my world of Sauria, but I’d never actually gotten a story to coalesce into a novel. I decided it was time to change that.

So each week when I took my laundry out for a refreshing, I took along a notebook and scribbled down ideas and concepts for different stories. It was in that Laundromat that I first met Rathe and conceived of his quest to discover the Starfire. It was a very exciting time for me.

I knew practically nothing of the publishing world or how to actually go about writing fiction. I just knew what I liked from all the science fiction and fantasy books I’d read up to that point. I’d taken journalism classes and one creative writing class in college, but nothing really focused on fiction writing. So I started that first chapter pretty blind as to what craft was all about.

The actual writing went quite slowly as so much of my time was spent writing and re-writing the first chapter while building out the lore that would fill up the rest of the story.

I think the early days when I was just learning and before I had gotten immersed in the culture of Christian writers were some of my freest days of writing.  There’s something to be said for writing in ignorance of the rules. In fact I’d advise anyone who has a dream of writing to not focus on the rules of the craft until you have at least one full manuscript written. You can always re-write what you’ve written, but it’s very hard to polish an idea.

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Kaci Hill
Member

I love these stories. 0=) And you sound a little like me, though I was writing fantasy and reading suspense & mystery (and some sci-fi).

I knew practically nothing of the publishing world or how to actually go about writing fiction.

Me either. I went to my first writer’s conference as a high school senior. It was fun, but at the time, I wasn’t really thinking of writing as something beyond “just something I do.” The business end really wasn’t a blip on the radar.

I just knew what I liked from all the science fiction and fantasy books I’d read up to that point. I’d taken journalism classes and one creative writing class in college, but nothing really focused on fiction writing. So I started that first chapter pretty blind as to what craft was all about.

I took one journalism class and a fiction writing class. Most of what I’ve learned, I picked up from other writers, editors, book reviewers, e-zines, a couple message forums, blogs, and writers’ conferences. Enough to get myself in trouble.

The actual writing went quite slowly as so much of my time was spent writing and re-writing the first chapter while building out the lore that would fill up the rest of the story.

I’ve been writing since I can remember, and I don’t recall rewriting anything (or even reading it) until somewhere in college.

I think the early days when I was just learning and before I had gotten immersed in the culture of Christian writers were some of my freest days of writing. There’s something to be said for writing in ignorance of the rules. In fact I’d advise anyone who has a dream of writing to not focus on the rules of the craft until you have at least one full manuscript written. You can always re-write what you’ve written, but it’s very hard to polish an idea.

Ditto…

Mike Lynch
Member

I too enjoying hearing about a writer’s journey. In fact, I pretty much did the same thing in this month’s CSFF post. We seldom think abou the story sitting behind that book on the bookstore shelf, even for a prolific author. Was that book inspired by a story on the news, a happenstance conversation, or was it born out of a childhood experience? The inspiration for a story can come almost anywhere, even at a laundromat. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Mike

E. Stephen Burnett
Guest

Stuart, thanks for this great start to a great series. I look forward to reading more about your journey to publication, especially for a once-thought-unpublishable novel such as Starfire!

I took along a notebook and scribbled down ideas and concepts for different stories.

One thing I enjoy doing is going back after a novel is finished (I’ve only been able to do this two or three times now!) and looking over my original ideas for the story’s and characters’ direction. I’m curious about what ideas were eventually scrapped from Starfire — among those you may be willing to reveal, anyway!

It was in that Laundromat that I first met Rathe and conceived of his quest to discover the Starfire. It was a very exciting time for me.

I hope you don’t mind if, while reading this, I was playing music in my mind from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

By the way, Starfire won’t be in your local Lifeway Christian Store, but you can find it on Stuart’s site, and of course at Amazon. Here’s the cover:

Oh snap! That is actually the wrong one. My badness!

Here’s the real cover.

Royce
Guest
Royce

Inspiration came while doing the laundry? Interesting. Of course when I was a small child, I used to fantasize about the front loading dryers as being submarine or spaceship vacuum locked doors. My writing inspiration has usually happened while mowing several acres using a human-powered reel mower. I guess that is why my writing involves so much struggle.