Yesterday I wrote the Prologue and the beginning to the first chapter to my next scifi book, The Scalar Magnitude, which is the sequel to The Serapis Fraktur. I know, I know, I’m supposed to be writing the first book in my mystery series, The Madison Picker (I’m 50k words in so far) and I will, but I saw a great YouTube flick featuring extreme athletes a couple of weeks ago which sparked an idea for the beginning of my second scifi novel.
Writing is tough. I’ve written for about 50 years. We writers take what we can when we stumble upon it and (literally) file it away. I have huge files of bits and pieces, words and phrases, pictures and films, to support my writing projects; both types: my nonfiction professional work writing and my for-fun fiction writing. I have an enormous resource of information squirreled away to support the fiction genres that I work in: scifi, mysteries, fantasy, and children’s. All are informational.
Inquiring minds that pick up and start my book tend to remain engaged, enjoy my style, and go the course because my works are substantive. The reader learns something at the same time s/he is entertained. So much fiction in today’s market is fluff. Look at the top ten sellers at an airport newsstand. Typically they harbor lots of action but are mostly fluff for the unthinking masses, racy, lewd, unfit for the discerning mind that prefers not to be immersed in obnoxious themes of extreme baseness. In a word, garbage.
My style is old-fashioned, like Richard Connell’s Most Dangerous Game or Jack London’s White Fang, or Alas! Babylon by Pat Frank. I like old-fashioned. However in today’s market for today’s impatient, clueless masses, action from line ONE is the new norm. To illustrate: The latest Star Trek movie opened with a chase scene, for Pete’s sake. I love Star Trek, have watched it since 1966. But … not everything needs to BEGIN with an explosion or sex or killing. Now examine the rest of the movie thoughtfully. What substance was imbued? … Uh-huh, correct. Almost none. Some gee-whiz tech for sure but very little social, anthropological, cultural, or entrepreneurial substance. Just fluff. Why? Look around you the next time you happen to be at a shopping mall. Watch the people … and you’ll know why. Most of them don’t read.