Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

A Writer Discovers How To Say “No!” To Himself . . .

So, there’s this writer from Kettering, Ohio, USA who self-published a rather strange short novel.

Not strange in terms of “peculiar”, “weird”, or “fantastical”.

More like strange as in “unusual”, “singular”, and “curious”.

He garnered one excellent review, some fairly decent ones, and, also, folks claiming the book had deficiencies.

So far, this story is fairly normal for a book that isn’t crafted to a genre formula.

This writer isn’t young.

He’s been around for about six decades and the book had been attempting to be born for nearly eleven years—various incarnations examined and abandoned.

Once he got down to finally writing it, he realized he’d been getting ready for over twenty years

It was, as he put it, “The most important thing I’ve ever done in my life”—a life full of creativity and innovation.

During the finalization of the manuscript and due to a number of pre-readers requesting certain “adjustments” to the book, he thought he’d follow the novel with a collection of short stories that went “behind the scenes” and “filled-in” details and character situations that existed in the novel’s World but hadn’t been specifically rendered.

All serious novels are like this—saying what they say and leaving various things unsaid, some inferred, some appropriately neglected.

Creative writing is known for the phenomenon of the book telling the writer what “should” happen

So, even though this man had lived enough and written enough to let him feel comfortable with the “strangeness” of his novel, he’d wasted two years planning for the follow-up book of short stories.

When he came to his senses and realized the second book might actually impair appreciation for the first book, he also realized, once again, how the times he’d “wasted” in his life had always held the seed of greater productivity—humans are like that, learning through “failing”

Now, we’re caught up to the present of this writer’s life and he can reveal he’s been describing himself in the third person in this blog post.

Here I sit, having “wasted” two years getting ready to write a book that I’ve decided I should not write and realizing the powerful impetus given to my creativity by letting the seed of redemption sprout.


Yes, as in “ransom”, “restore”, “re-establish”.

When I realized the short stories wouldn’t be written, I also realized there were 318 people who’d received a free copy of the novel as well as a number of email updates about the “sequel”—some expecting, excitedly, to be Beta Readers

It was only two days ago that I had a post here that said, “My next book will have eight Beta Readers and two editors“.

Obviously, I’d been of two minds for a number of months, possibly a full year

The die-hard writers out there will realize how valuable this chaotic time has been for me.

So, what has sprouted redemptively?

I’ll be sending those 318 people an email with a link to this blog post.

I’ll also be reserving my Friday posts (I don’t blog on the weekends) for answering the needs of readers who’ve found something “missing” in the novel—I’ll blog about the events and characters who weren’t visited in the book—I’ll even provide more “backstory” and “midstory” for characters who were in the novel.

If you’ve read Notes from An Alien, do, please, use the Comments to ask me to “fill-in” the spaces you felt were vacant—to elaborate on issues you felt weren’t sufficiently “covered”

If you haven’t read the novel, grab a free copy right here!

Mondays through Thursdays will be business as usual on this blog—posts about Reading, Writing, and Publishing with links to other helpful, interesting, and, at times, unusual spaces on the Web :-)

If you don’t or can’t ask me questions about the novel in the comments of this post, come on back next Friday—the book isn’t all that long anyway—deep? sure, but easy enough to read in a week, as long as you’re not working three jobs or raising five young children or courting a high-maintenance Other

[ EDIT: I’ve added a special page to collect all these Friday posts—Behind The Scenes . . . <<< You may want to bookmark that link…]
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page


16 responses to “A Writer Discovers How To Say “No!” To Himself . . .

  1. Barbara Blackcinder February 22, 2013 at 4:02 am

    I’m shocked, I don’t know what to say….


  2. Alexander M Zoltai February 22, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Give it some time, Barbara—I know something will come to you

    Plus, you have an advantage.

    You can talk to me on Book Island :-)


  3. Freedom, by the way February 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    hmmm. As I spend the majority of my writing time in that detested world of marketing & advertising, I have learned a thing or two that apply to all creative endeavors. One is, never be afraid to throw something away. I hope you experience a sense of freedom!!


  4. Alexander M Zoltai February 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you, Freedom!!!

    That last sentence was what I’ve been saying to myself since I solidified the decision to not write the short stories.

    It’s also my heart-felt response to Freedom, by the way :-)


  5. penpusherpen February 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    HI Alexander, many thanks for your comment, I think you were the first to mention the poem,… I’m on a sort of whistle stop tour, trying to catch up with some of the wonderful bloggers I’ve missed. So forgive me if I just say Hi and bye for the moment, and I’ll call back soon.. xPenx


  6. Alexander M Zoltai February 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Happy to have you blow through

    Poetic breezes are refreshing :-)


  7. Barbara Blackcinder February 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Across a prairie, a flower grew,
    It was a flower of no particular hue.
    Yet it shadowed a fragrant bouquet,
    So it turned and was out of the way.


  8. Alexander M Zoltai February 22, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Dear Barbara,

    We both know that a poem can mean one thing to the pesron who wrote it and many other things to the folks who read it

    The meaning I glean, at least for now, is that the collection of stories I won’t be writing is the flower of no particular hue and the fragrant bouquet is Notes from An Alien… :-)


  9. Barbara Blackcinder February 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    And a flower with no hue is one that hasn’t opened fully


  10. Alexander M Zoltai February 22, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    So, I did catch your meaning


  11. Jane Watson February 23, 2013 at 6:02 am

    I could ask about the stories ‘behind the scenes’ in “Notes From An Alien” but I honestly don’t want to look beyond the novel :-) It has its own integrity and should be allowed to have its own space.

    However in your Friday ‘Behind The Scenes’ blogs I would be happy to know some of the philosophy and ideas that fuelled the writing of the novel. To me a written novel is like a highly polished stone that is thrown into a pool. The ripples it creates are the ideas the work throws out beyond itself…

    So I’m not looking to plug up any non-existent black holes in the book here, I am wanting to examine the ripples and eddies it creates across the universe.

    And I’d like to know something about the novel’s symbols. Tell me more about plasma….another kind of ripple in the endless pool of space….

    Finally, I agree with Freedom: “never be afraid to throw something away…” but I would like to add that in so doing, you set it free, you open its cage, give it wings and who knows where it may then fly…:-) :-)


  12. Your Teacher (@YTatLE) February 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I kind of thought the short stories had been written already. Did pen never touch paper, or did you turn your words into little paper planes and let them take flight?


  13. Alexander M Zoltai February 23, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I only got tremendously prepared to write the short stories before I found the wisdom to not pen them :-)

    Now, though, I’m tremendously ready to do posts on Fridays that reveal things Behind The Scenes of Notes from An Alien


  14. Alexander M Zoltai February 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    What a lovely thought, Jane, that my not writing the stories has released a possibility for another creative person to pursue

    Knowing “…the philosophy and ideas that fuelled the writing of the novel.” is as “simple” as realizing the philosophy and ideas of the novel’s characters

    I will, however, make those more explicit in my Friday posts, along with the symbolism I employed; but, I’ll more than likely be doing that by revealing what’s behind the scenes; and, you as a writer know the penetrating power of what lies within a novel’s symbols and what can be said by carefully not saying something else—you did write Hindustan Contessa after all :-)


  15. Pingback: What Made You Write That Book? | Notes from An Alien

  16. Pingback: Why Do Authors Do What They Do? ~ A Living Example . . . | Notes from An Alien

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