Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Why Do Authors Do What They Do? ~ A Living Example . . .


Unless you’re a writer/author (and, you can be an author without publishing) you may not know about all the weird and wonderful decisions we make during the process of turning ourselves inside-out onto the page

This is a special Friday Behind The Scenes post about the short novel Notes from An Alien which is still for sale and still free :-)

If you’re a person who can’t stand spoilers of any kind (some of these Friday posts have Hard spoilers {plot reveals} and some have Soft “spoilers” {background info}) I recommend you grab a free copy and spend a weekend (or, less) reading it.

This post has some very Soft “spoilers”

There are two reasons I make that recommendation:

— you’ll get more out of these Behind The Scenes posts and learn more about the writing process

— you’ll be able to ask Any questions you like about the book in Any of these Friday posts, in the Comments or by sending me an email

And, there’s a certain reader of this blog who happens to have read Notes from an Alien and happens to have written a review and happens to have already asked a number of questions in these Friday posts and just happens to be my Best Friend :-)

Her name is Jane Watson and I recommend you read her latest novel, Hindustan Contessa

Jane has given me a number of additional questions about my book so let’s get on with answering them:

* How did you prepare to write this book? ( you may have already touched upon this as a general explanation of your writing practice but perhaps you’d like to go into more detail regarding this book?)

I want to start my answer, Jane, with two quotes from my favorite secular writer, C. J. Cherryh:

“Where do you get your ideas? You inhale them, breath by breath, and stale air is just not good for creativity.”

“Deal with the Devil if the Devil has a constituency–and don’t complain about the heat.”

The first quote covers the 20+ years of experience I suffered through to arrive at an awareness that I needed to write this particular book—mostly, time dealing with religion and spirituality and doing massive experiments to see what works

The second quote deals with the roughly two years from a clear conception of what Notes From An Alien should Do and the finished manuscript.

Notes deals with three Worlds’ journey to enduring Peace and the 20+ years of inhaling the ideas for the book taught me that the primary barrier to Peace is what Fundamentalists might call Sin, what sincere followers of organized religion might call Straying from The Path, and what New Agers might call Accumulating Bad Karma

So, I couldn’t ignore the Dealing with the Devil that “modern” culture shoves down our throats and there was ample evidence of many large Constituencies; therefore, I had to conceive a plan for the book that translated Earth Concerns into my Aliens’ Concerns—plotting and outlining

* Did the writing develop organically in a freeform manner or did you plan it?

Actually, Jane, both—I had a scene by scene outline but, by chapter four, the poor plan was bleeding liberally from the many small cuts made but a growing surge of organic writing

* You’ve spoken about some of the symbols and metaphors used in the book. Tell us a little about your choice of Point Of View and Voice.

Well, Voice just “happened” but came from the 20+ and 2 years of experiment and planning.

Point of View does tend to vary in the book—usually third person omniscient but sometimes third person limited and, for the most documentary segments, what I call third person formal. There’s also a bit of first person in some of the more dreamy scenes.

Again, though, the shifts in View just “happened”—driven by all the Inhaling of experience and the fevered planning

* I feel that some of the book has a very lyrical descriptive nature and some has a more pared back expository nature. Why do you, the author, think this dichotomy of style evolved? Does it serve a planned purpose or did the subject matter just lend itself to this?

Once again, Jane, the difference between lyrical and expository “got planned” in my unconscious during all the preparation then “just happened” during the frenzy of writing

* You cover a great many years in the book in a short space. Why did you not let it run out into a longer more epic work? Did brevity serve a purpose?

I didn’t realize the purpose of the brevity until the book was finished.

I just wrote what my Muse urged me to write

Then, after a few reviews, my previous knowledge that the book was, definitely, niche and would only appeal to a fraction of the ocean of readers became expanded from the awareness that the brevity or condensed nature of the book could facilitate a possible increase in readership.

It’s one thing to read a niche book, it’s quite another to have to slog through a long one

After Notes from An Alien was finished, I, the guy who’s somewhat like other folks, wanted it to be longer and more complex.

But, I, the guy who was the author, knew it was just as it needed to be

Of course, there was the aborted plan to write a collection of short stories that paralleled the novel but the post A Writer Discovers How To Say “No!” To Himself . . . explains how I dumped that project and began the series we are now experiencing, Behind The Scenes . . . :-)

Thank you, Jane, for posing those questions!

So

Anyone else want to ask any other questions in the Comments?
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Read more Behind the Scenes posts…
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

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2 responses to “Why Do Authors Do What They Do? ~ A Living Example . . .

  1. Jane Watson July 21, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Thank you for answering all my questions! :-)

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai July 21, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Any Time, Jane :-)

      Like

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