James Scott Bell is a published author with a diverse portfolio of fiction, from period short stories about boxing to zombie lawyer novels (don’t ask). Anyway, in the promotional material for his writer’s coaching service, Mr. Bell divides writers into two groups:
Plotters map out their stories in advance, making sure they know how it’s going to end before they even start writing.
Bell calls the other type “Pantsers,” but that’s an unfortunate choice of words. Puts me in mind of bullies yanking down a freshman’s shorts in gym class. Whatever you call them, they just start writing, with implicit faith that their stories will find their way to the end. They plunge ahead. So maybe “plungers?” That’s got an unsavory connotation, too. We’ll have to work on it.
Of course, most writers will find them in both camps to varying degrees at different times of their lives. For the first two published novels of my career, I have definitely been a hybrid of the two.
When I was a kid, Bill Eadington was the likeable low-key guy who married my godmother, Margaret Dean. The Deans and McElligotts grew up next to each other on Coronado Drive in Fullerton, California. When I was little, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were cooked in both kitchens and passed over the side fence. On the Fourth of July, our two families, plus our neighbors on the other side, the Bakers, and another family down the street, the Marcons, managed to spread the party across all four yards. It wasn’t exactly Norman Rockwell, but it was close enough.
In our little town, Bill was descended from citrus industry royalty. Back when the land around Fullerton was just one big orange grove, the Eadingtons and the Bastanchurys were the kings of the Valencia orange. There are still streets named after both families.
To rest of the world, for most of my adult life, William R. Eadington, Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada, Reno, was the go-to guy on the subject of the gaming industry. I’ll let his own school say it:
Eadington is the current holder of the Philip J. Satre chair in Gaming Studies, a professor of economics, and director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). He is an internationally recognized authority on the legalization and regulation of commercial gaming and has written extensively on issues relating to the economic and social impacts of the industry.
John Scalzi is a science-fiction writer, and a former President of the Science Fiction Writers of America. For reasons passing understanding, he gained the attention of an unpleasant fellow who roams the ether under the modest pseudonym of “Vox Day.” (more…)
January 22, 1973. The United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that no government, state or federal, had the power to outlaw abortion, that it was an individual choice. That has been the law of the land ever since, but many will not rest until that decision is reversed.
What would happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned? My next novel drops you right into the middle of a world where that has already happened.
Last week, I offered a small preview of my upcoming novel, which takes place in the year 2019.
For this week, I give you another:
Part of Valentina’s volunteer work involved holding the hands of terrified young Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish girls, and doing her best to translate for the doctor as he explained the procedure. She had seen the results when these girls went to back alley quacks, so when her adopted country went a little crazy, so did she.
She had to be crazy, to be sitting in this fast-food joint in rural Georgia, hundreds of miles from home, engaged in activity that almost every state in the old South had branded as criminal. If she had been in Alabama, she would have been aiding and abetting a murder, and subject to life in prison according to the new statutes on the books there.
In plain fact, however, she was helping to drive a pregnant seventeen-year-old girl to Ohio.
So, in the year 2019, driving a pregnant girl to Ohio is considered murder in Alabama. Very strange…
Sometime soon you may read a novel that begins like this…
Her name was Bethany McDaniels. She was seventeen years old and she was eight weeks pregnant. A high school junior in a small town in northern Georgia, Bethany had promised her mother, her father, and her pastor that she would save herself for marriage. That was what good Christian girls did. She had learned this at home and in church, and at her lunchtime Bible study group. She had believed it, too, praying every night since she was thirteen for the strength to stay pure.
But Rance Garrett had been a good Christian boy…
So how does that opening paragraph lead to the FBI and ATF pursuing two killers in a manhunt that crosses the South from Texas to the Ohio state line?
Senator Remington Jeffries is the father of Colin, our hero in Human X, and plays a much bigger role in the follow up novel, which I am currently writing. Since he’s is so important, both in the life of our protagonist and in the story to come, I thought you’d like to meet the man.
Beware, the following does get a bit wonky (politically nerdy, that is)…
Washington, D.C. — Senator Remington Jeffries is best known outside the Beltway as the man who orchestrated a revolt within Republican ranks, some might even say a revolution, leading to the formation of the insurgent Constitution Party. Before that, however, he served two terms in the Virginia House of Representatives before taking over his father’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. After eight terms in the House, he was elected to three terms in the Senate.
Unlike other conservative uprisings of recent times, the Constitution Party came from the center and not the far right. The change in the political landscape has shocked many experienced Washington observers from both the left and the right. The Republican Party has been reduced to an also ran in the Senate, while settling for a three-way tie in the House.
The Constitution Party’s relatively small delegation in either house is offset by it’s ability to form a majority with either party, giving it’s leadership a surprising amount of power during negotiations.
As the new election year of 2040 dawns, the senior Senator from Virginia sat down with this author to discuss the future of his party and his hopes for a possible Jeffries Administration after this November.
Back from vacation, everyone. Hope everyone’s 2013 is off to a happy, healthy, prosperous start. If not, at the very least I hope your hangover cures were mostly successful.
Starting next week, I will be giving away six autographed copies of Human X, one every week. The first week will be an opportunity for my Facebook fans and the second will be for readers of this website. Stay tuned for more details.
As I said in an earlier post, the arrival of my Kindle truly reawakened my passion for reading. The ease of finding, purchasing, carrying around a new book whenever I wanted, all without requiring me to find a new space on my already crowded shelves, has turned me back into the reader I used to be. But that doesn’t hold a candle to what it did for my mother.
She was constantly reading as long as I can remember. A visit from my sister, Maureen, would usually involve the exchange of multiple books before they parted. But Mom is now 85. Her knees and back aren’t what they used to be. Spending hours browsing the shelves of her local Borders was no longer in the cards for her, even before Borders went to that Big Bankruptcy Court in the Sky. Some time last year, she was actually reaching the point where the stack of books next to her favorite chair was down to its last volume. At that time her knee was really bothering her, so the idea of going to Barnes and Noble really didn’t appeal to her. Then her youngest son came over with his new purchase, the latest (at the time) Amazon Kindle.
I started writing when I was barely in my teens (maybe earlier, it was a long time ago, after all). My first novel, HUMAN X, was published in 2012. My second novel, The Coat Hanger Railroad, will be published in 2013.
I began taking pictures when I was even younger. I would love to write and take photos at the same time, but I would need to grow a second set of hands.