Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Preparing To Write A Book . . .

If you’re new here, please notice, in the left side-bar, the link to get a free copy of the novel I published a year and two days ago :-)

Notes from An Alien isn’t really one book, though.

It’s one story told in three ways—a novel, a collection of short stories, and a collection of poetry.

Some feel it’s science fiction and I can’t fault them since it happens 12 light-years from Earth—still, I feel it’s a history of a civilization that finds its way from rank greed and war to enduring peace and tranquility

I spent over 20 years in research before I wrote the first book; though, while I was doing the research, I didn’t know it was for a book

I’ve spent a year doing more research since publishing book one and may take another year before book two is released.

My “normal” method of preparation for writing is to read various other works, chosen with a combination of reason and intuition, to have those works Massage my mind.

I know some authors who can’t read other authors while preparing for their own book for fear of “copying”.

I’ve never had that problem

I just finished re-reading the 928-page Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson and am finishing the second half of God Passes By by Shoghi Effendi, which I’ve read before, either two or three times…

I tucked Cryptonomicon into the middle of God Passes By specifically to “embed” a cult-classic into a reading of a religious history

Next, I’ll be reading seven short stories and three novels by Fritz Leiber because my all-time favorite author, C. J. Cherryh, said she learned to write by reading Fritz :-)

If I told you what I’ve already read and what I have yet to read, beyond the above, this would cease to be blog-post-length

I will mention, though, that I unearthed my original notes for book one and incorporated some of them into the notes I’m keeping for book two—35 pages and counting

One reason I read so much to prepare to write is that the Massaging I mentioned is my way of inputting emotional-textures and letting them stew. When the pot is boiling just right, I write………

How do you prepare for your writing?

Do you consider all the preparation just as much a part of Writing as the physical writing itself?
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8 responses to “Preparing To Write A Book . . .

  1. martinaseveckepohlen May 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    You really put a lot of research into your work, Alexander. This working and boiling of ideas is similar to my method. I find it difficult to read German while I work on my book. But luckily there are lots of English books to read :-)


  2. Mollie Player May 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I agree absolutely, wholeheartedly that reading is the best prep for writing. Thanks for making your book public. I will read it at some point. Don’t worry about genre picking, though. Vonnegut was a sci fi writer and he was the best there is (besides Hemingway). Besides, sci fi is just awesome. Writing some myself and would love your imput once I get a first draft…


  3. Simone Benedict May 4, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Delightful post. My research process is more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of approach. With the “hard” research that is. Like the dimensions of a silage ditch. I’ll look that up during the editing process. Maybe. With the research involving the bigger questions in life, that takes me years and years!


    • Alexander M Zoltai May 5, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Well, Simone, my years and years are also due to my need to write about the “bigger questions in life” and I’ve found that the Massaging of my mind, with its consequent stewing and boiling will give me new particular creations as the need arises


  4. Jane Watson May 5, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I draw pictures and make mind maps but I love the phrase the ‘massaging of the mind’ and I guess that is the end result I am looking for, which results in a kind of relaxed inner space that my mind can play in. How does one know ‘When the pot is boiling just right…’ though? That’s a difficult question I know but I am interested in what others have to say on this….:)


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