Scribbling or writing?I always used to call my fiction ‘scribbles’. The stories were written by me, for me. I never allowed anyone to read them. They were a physical manifestation of my imagination. Every so often I would open a notebook or a file and read it, like other people look at photographs.
Then I turned fifty. After four decades I was ready to make the next step. I would write a book with a beginning, a middle, an end and readers.
The world was easy; my imaginary world of the far future. Earth is a merely a myth, traces of which appear in languages and cultures. Humans have spread across outer space along routes linked by ‘holes’. Countless human civilizations have prospered and then declined. Some were restricted to a single planet. Others cut a swathe across Known Space.
Characters were more difficult. I knew that the main characters in my scribbles were a bit too perfect. Even if they have been damaged by past events, they rose above it. They preferred solving problems to creating them. They built rather than destroyed.
So I created Jax. I am three books in and I still do not know how Jax will turn out. Like his father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather, Jax was conceived and raised to be a hereditary dictator. His task, like theirs, is to unite the clan. His great-grandfather was a megalomaniac. His grandfather was a monster. His father murdered two of his sons for political gain. All three were utterly ruthless. Could any or all of the three have been like Jax when they were young?
The other main characters are easier for me to write: Rae with his shadowy origins and non-human genes; Tre whose life was destroyed by Jax’s father and yet is sworn to protect Jax; Ean with his unflinching determination, limitless patience and clear-sighted morality; Kip who is intent on living his own life rather than becoming a weapon of mass destruction.
As for the themes, they are familiar. What is family? Is humanity a matter of genome or behaviour? Are some people more valuable than others? Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?
So now there is a book, Cast Adrift, and it is published. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. Will it have readers? Will you be one of them?
I invite you to my imaginary world (www.mannahpierce.com).
see my review of this gripping Sci Fi story - next post.