Here’s a brief synopsis of TEST OF MAGNITUDE:
Revenge is only justice when it can be administered without hatred.
Welcome to the Tora star system, home of the spectacular Cardinal-4 space station overlooking Amulen and Banor, twin worlds that share the same orbit. One visit and you’ll understand why this station is the pinnacle of Torian achievement and a wonder of the Erobian Sphere.
Unfortunately, your timing isn’t great. Many centuries of peace and prosperity are on the verge of collapsing for members of the Erob coalition, as signs of the first interstellar wars loom. The half-breeds tell us it is because we are now forsaking the ancient law, and have thus allowed an evil infection to begin spreading through the galaxy. But those Erob half-breeds have always been a little over-dramatic, haven’t they?
Brandon Foss, an unhappily married Virginian in his early thirties, awakes from a strange dream to discover he has been abducted from Earth and kept in cryonic preservation on Amulen for two decades. One other resuscitated human is with him, a knucklehead who almost seems as alien to Brandon as their reptilian captors. A friendship of convenience forms as the two Earthlings soon become unwittingly intertwined in Torian politics and military affairs—at a time, it turns out, when the Torians desperately need just such intertwining.
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Now here’s Andy to talk about…….…wait what’s wrong Andy?
Help! Kidnapped by my Characters…
I thought I wanted to be a fiction writer. To be able to actually control the story, wow—that sounded great. Too often, I have been betrayed by books and television shows (think Breaking Bad) that started out great and then turned in a direction I didn’t want to head in. Things could have been so good between us if the story stayed on track towards where I wanted it to go!
So, I learned how to write fiction. This was my first surprise. I have enjoyed a little success as a non-fiction writer, and seem to have been blessed with a creative imagination. My grandmother thought I should become a writer. You can’t get it from a higher authority than that, right? But I figured I better brush up on the craft a little, so I bought a couple books and soon discovered I had no clue on how to do it. Those books recommended additional books and so on. Eight books later (and the one on self-editing read three times through) I was finally ready to dive in and bang out my novel.
Now, one of the books I read was Stephen King’s On Writing, in which he stated he never plots his books. In his words, he just creates some characters, puts them in a precarious situation, and watches them work their way out of it. That seemed weird to me, but the idea of skipping the plotting part (which, quite frankly, doesn’t sound like much fun) was appealing. I had the storyline pretty much figured out in my head and could just work from that. I created the situation, described some characters, brought them to life with a little background and emotional concerns, and dropped them right in the middle of it.
Now the fun starts. I’ll have this character do that and the other one do this. But wait—the background and emotional concerns I assigned one of the characters would lead him to go about that in a slightly different way, wouldn’t it? No big deal, we’ll do it his way. This was the beginning of the end of my career as a director.
My book didn’t turn out the way I intended at all. The characters dictated something entirely unanticipated. It’s a sci-fi space adventure story that takes place in a star system with two worlds sharing the same orbit. The natives are an advanced race, and the two populations have merged together into one identity and one government for both planets. I planned on one of the planets “going bad” and ending up getting destroyed as a result. Didn’t happen. Not even close! The characters did what they wanted instead. So, I invented new characters to try and contain the situation, but they too rebelled. It got so that all I could do was frantically keep up with the turn of events, writing as fast I could to report them. Writer? No. I have become a stenographer.
The worst part is that the story demands a sequel. Yeah, right. Like I’m going to let those guys loose on my word processor again to wreak whatever havoc they see fit. Only, I can’t get it out of my mind. They are in my head with all their suggestions and I feel I will explode if I don’t release the building pressure on my keyboard. All right, all right. Maybe one more book. But you guys need to behave this time, all right? And I want to destroy one of the planets—if you’ll let me.
Andy, thanks for joining us today and sharing this look at how characters seem to have a mind of their own no matter what you have in store for them. Characters do get away from you from time to time and that makes for such intriguing stories.
Now let me tell you a bit more about Andy.
Andy lives in Southern California with his beautiful wife and two neurotic cats. He writes when he is not fly-fishing from his kayak or travelling.
The two greatest things to happen in the 21st century so far, according to Andy, are the craft beer revolution and the advent of the self-publishing business. These are good times if you are blessed enough to be in a position to enjoy them.
Andy wishes you much benevolence and advises you to lead a balanced life, always. Tulros.
For more on Andy and his (I mean his characters’) writing, visit his website.
Thanks everyone for stopping by today. What are your thoughts on characters kidnapping a story?