Tuesday, January 28, 2020

#130 Inside the Emotion of Fiction "TIMESPLASH" by Graham Storrs

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****Graham Storrs’s Timesplash is #130 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no. If yes, what publisher and what publication date? It has been published three times; first by a New York small press that no longer exists, in 2010, then by an imprint of Pan Macmillan that also no longer exists, in 2013, (yes, the publishing world is in turmoil these days!) and, finally by me. The latest incarnation was published in 2018 so, although it is getting a little long in the tooth now, it isn’t s long ago that I gave it another polish, edit and proofread.

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? 
I began wring this book in 2008, had a final draft by 2009 and had it fully edited and published by 2010. However, there is a sense in which I kept on re-writing it after that. It’s second publication in 2013 involved a complete new edit with a second publisher and its third appearance in 2018 entailed re-editing it from scratch all over again. By the time of its very first publication, I estimated that I had read through the “finished” text about 17 times. By now, it must be double that!

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail.  2008 was a great year for me. Not only did I start to get some success as a writer but I quit my job and moved out to the country. Until then, I had done almost all my writing in cafes and parks during lunch breaks and tea breaks while at work. 
Since then, I mostly write outdoors, typically in my gazebo but in bad weather (increasingly that means extremely hot weather) I write in an armchair in my TV room. I live on a mountaintop at 1,000m (3,000 ft) in the bush, surrounded on all sides by forest and wildlife. As I write I am often distracted by creatures moving around me. There are dozens of bird species here – including several types of parrot – that I see regularly, plenty of lizard species – mostly skinks and dragons but I once saw a metre-long lace monitor stroll past – snakes (all poisonous but very beautiful), as well as kangaroos and wallabies, which are often feeding just a few metres from where I normally sit. It is a beautiful and peaceful environment to work in and I love it. That is where I wrote Timesplash – and about a dozen other novels since then.

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? My writing habits vary with the book I’m writing. Timesplash was a joy to write. I’d go out in the morning and spend as much time as possible working, then go out again in the afternoon. (Above Right:  Graham's Gazebo)
I’m a very slow writer (perhaps a thousand words a day if I’m really going well but probably an average of about 500 words). Many writers blast through to a first draft in a matter of weeks and then spend months revising it. My first drafts can take a year or two – sometimes more! – and I still take months revising them! Timesplash was relatively quick – maybe 18 months from start to final proofreading. (Left: Graham's TV Room with armchair)

I write straight into a laptop using a word processing program (LibreOffice – a Microsoft Word clone that is free and excellent – and do not ever print it out onto paper. I’ve tried using systems like Scrivener but I don’t get on with them. Basically, my writing style is to start at page one and to keep going until I reach the last page. I keep notes on the characters and locations in a separate file and that’s all the structure I need. Anything more just gets in the way. (Above Right:  Graham in his computer room)
What excerpt of the book was the most emotional for you to write? This excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer.
Sandra got up and paced across the room. She stood with her back to him.
“Maybe this was all a mistake. I didn’t know you were a spook. I thought you were just, you know, a cop.” She turned to look at him, concern all over her lovely face. “It’s because you’re young too. I thought …”
He walked toward her. “You thought I’d understand?”
She nodded.
“Understand what, Sandra?”
She looked up to the heavens, looking for the words, then back at Jay. “Me, I suppose.”
He took a step closer. Suddenly, she looked like she might cry at any moment. Her eyes glistened, her lips pressed together and her nostrils narrowed. He could have reached out and touched her troubled face if he dared, if he didn’t dread her flying away like a startled bird.
“Look, I’ll try,” he said. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone you’re here unless you want me to.” His own words frightened him. They took him over a line he shouldn’t have crossed, putting him where his heart had already gone.
With a sob of relief she closed the distance between them, wrapping her arms around him and burried her head in his shoulder. “Oh God,” she gasped. “Oh God, thank you!”

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you to write? And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific scene/excerpt? Timesplash has two protagonists, Jay and Sandra, who are young and damaged and caught up in terrible events but they find each other and fall in love – in a rather tragic way. Although I struggled throughout this and the next two books, to like both my “children” equally, I confess I always secretly preferred Sandra. She had more to struggle against and more to overcome. She wasn’t always quite strong enough and sometimes she failed – but only for a while. When her relationship with Jay was brand new she didn’t know how to trust at all. Nothing in her life until then led her to believe that she could. In this scene, Sandra, in desperate trouble, is throwing herself on Jay’s mercy for the first time and I found writing her growing revelation that there is goodness in the world very poignant.  (Above Right:  Graham holding the Timesplash series in June of 2018)
Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. I’d love to show you my working but I never keep it. All the literally dozens of revisions I’ve done to the texts of every book I’ve written, I have deleted once I achieved a final version that I and my editor were happy with. Quite often I have deleted large chunks – whole chapters sometimes – and rewritten equally large chunks almost from scratch. Sometimes this was because the section was superfluous – there’s nothing like reading a book you’ve written from beginning to end to spot those needless diversions, or those bits of background or explanation you thought were so vital at the time but turn out just to have been road bumps on the reader’s journey. Sometimes it was because the writing just wasn’t good enough. I often think of writing as a performance – like a musical performance. I sit at my keyboard, like a pianist and, knowing the themes and the overall structure I’m aiming for (because I obsessively think about these things) I then produce a virtuoso improvisation. Which sounds great until you realize, on reading what you wrote, just how many bum notes you put in there. Luckily for me, my performances can be fixed in the studio, as it were.

Other works you have published? Timesplash was my first published series of novels. It comprises three books; Timesplash, True Path and Foresight. The series follows the story of Jay and Sandra and their entanglement with the dangerous time travel technology that destroys their youth and dogs their lives.
Recently, I completed the last book in my 9-book “Placid Point” series. This actually comprises three different 3-book series set in the same ‘world’. 
The Placid Point universe is one where, not long after today, the first transhumans are created when human minds are uploaded to computers. The consequences of this ripple down the millennia. It is a universe in which, although we don’t know it, countless alien civilisations fill the galaxy. most of them far more advanced than humanity ever becomes. In chronological order, the three series are:
The Rik Sylver series – Set about 80 years in the future, this introduces the transhumans of Omega Point and the disruption the new technology causes on Earth (and on the Moon, which is being rapidly colonised), all seen through the perspective of a Lunar private eye, Rik Sylver, whose life becomes horribly mixed up in the vicious politics of the transhumans and their human enemies. The three books are The Credulity Nexus, The Sentience Machine and The Dissonance Factor.
The Canta Libre trilogy – Set 300 years after the Rik Sylver series, at in a time of interstellar expansion, this story begins with humanity’s first contact with alien life. Earth’s Emissaries, aboard the space ship Canta Libre, are completely unprepared for what follows and for their future roles as Supplicants and Warriors. And, in the end, having stirred a hornets’ nest of alien enemies, they bring it all back home to find nothing is as they left it.

The Deep Fracture trilogy – Now 10,000 years on from the events of the Canta Libre trilogy, humanity has spread across a thousand planets. Even though shielded from alien interference in its affairs, it has failed to thrive, instead engaging in endless interstellar wars between neighbouring fiefdoms, erasing its past over and over. Only when a strange destructive force begins fracturing Human Space, do some people realise that humanity is under attack and that the only people who might be able to help are the mythical god-like beings of Omega Point. But Omega Point, when they find it, is nothing like what they expected and neither is their mysterious enemy. The three books are Loner’s Deep, Omega Point and Nadezhda

Outside of these series, I have written four standalone sci-fi novels, including Heaven is a Place on Earth, Cargo Cult, Time & Tyde and Mindrider, as well as a few collections of short stories  - including one rather large collection of crime stories called Sisters. This last is particularly interesting to me at the moment because I am currently writing my very first crime novel (not in the tiniest bit sci-fi) where the main character from the Sisters stories appears as a minor character in the book.

Anything you would like to add? I’ve met lots of writers over the years. We all do things differently, we all have different circumstances and opportunities, we all work in different genres, and we are all very different people. The only thing we have in common is the passion to write and to keep on writing no matter what. I think this blog series demonstrates that as well as anything you’ll ever see.

Graham Storrs Biography
I’ve had a few jobs in my time. My first real career was as a research scientist, first in academia and later in commercial R&D. I became a software designer specialising in AI and user interface design (I even won awards for it). I then ran some large multimedia development centres for multinational software companies, and ended my working life running my own usability consultancy. I now write books and I suppose you’d say I’m retired. I’ve has published short stories and novels covering all the major sci-fi themes, including time travel, dystopian futures, transhumanity, alien invasion and space opera. Within each theme, I’ve tried to mix it up, writing thrillers, adventure and comedy. Keeping the science real is as important to me as keeping my characters plausible and my books and stories are heavily researched. (Above Left:  Graham with his daughter Katherine)
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/graywave
or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrahamStorrsAuthor
For details of all my novels and short stories, visit http://www.grahamstorrs.com/


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