Congrats to Aarron Mondello as our winner of the March 16th’s Friday Story Prompt Challenge!
Stay tuned for more prompt challenges in April!
I have a question for writers in regards to character development:
Now that you’ve given your answer, how much of this is actually intentional or accidental?
I’m getting ready to start the Planning stage for my first book, Storms of the Heart. I have already mentioned this in an earlier post that I was going to include some PTSD issues for one or more of the major characters basing on some of my own personal experiences as well as of a loved one. For this project, some of the things I’ll be writing into the characters will be intentional. This got me to thinking…do we always do it intentionally, or do some bits of our soul just happen to end up in these fictional beings?
How much are we willing to bare it all for our readers? Or, is it more for ourselves?
What do you think?
Today I have a special guest with us-author of several Science Fiction novels, Huck Krueger!
If you were to introduce yourself to a group of strangers, what would you say?
I’ve told people that I’m a pilot and a writer. But since I put my plane away and don’t know if I’ll ever fly it again, I might say, “Hi. I’m Huck. I’m a writer and a former pilot.” Or I might leave out the word, ‘former,’ for now.
Tell us what first drew you to writing.
Like most kids, I had fantasies, and I enacted them in my play. In my teen years, I still had those fantasies, though I didn’t play any of them out with toys or action figures. I started drawing cartoons and comics. But I knew I didn’t have any special skill at it and never assumed I’d sell any of my comic stories. Many of those comic stories and booklets are sitting in a box in my basement.From sixth grade through junior high, I was fortunate enough to have teachers who were enthusiastic about writing, and they had taught me the concepts of English grammar and writing basics. Then I ‘saw’ the ‘window’ to write my fantasies out in stead of trying to draw inept comics.I’ve thought that if I ever publish a big-time seller, I’ll dedicated it (my first book anyway) to my junior high English teachers.
What do you write?
I’m interested in science, especially astrophysics and aerospace. So I write Science Fiction mostly, though I’ve dabbled in romance, contemporary and wartime settings. My science fiction is most often involving space travel or life on other planets. I don’t care for the pure fantasy involving the supernatural or spirits, or worlds and creatures that likely wouldn’t exist.
I read a lot of history too, but I shy away from writing stories in that genre because I worry about being historically inaccurate. With sci-fi there’s usually more suspension of belief. I can be ‘way out there,’ and feel comfortable that no one will definitively prove that what I write can’t happen.
You’ve just released a book (or two) this year, correct? Can you tell us some about it (them)? Where can we find your books?
My latest novels are a series about four crew-members who fly an Astral Research Vessel, or ARV, throughout the galaxy to study stars and nebulae. The crew consists of two men and two women. My main character, Miles Wendel, is the pilot of their ship. Tana Vargas is their engineer and bio scientist. Li Keung is their astrophysicist who mans their science equipment. And Cassie Nystrom is their captain.
Their ship is ‘sustained’ by force fields and is often invisible. Only the objects and equipment they access or touch become visible. If someone wants privacy, say in his or her quarters, then the walls will appear, usually throughout the living compartment of their ship.
Their ship is capable of ‘bypassing the speed of light’ by what I’ve termed, ‘Hyper Sub-dimensional Transition (HST),’ which means they enter alternate dimensions of space/time and fly a ‘shorter’ distance to their destinations.
Of course, at their destinations, they encounter adverse situations. In each of the four stories I’ve conceived so far, they’ve encountered extraterrestrials as well as ‘external conditions’ which complicate their struggles.
I’ve published the first two books in this series which I call, Voyages of the Altair. I named their ship Altair after the star in the Aquila constellation. Its name means ‘Flying Eagle.’ I thought it was appropriate. Each book has a main title, and so far, I’ve titled them after the star or nebula where the plot takes place.
The first book is WR104, which I published in June, 2017. On their maiden voyage we find them near the unstable blue star, identified by astronomers as WR104. The second book is M42, which I published in November, 2017. The crew is assigned to fly through and study the famous Orion Nebula (M42). I’ve finished the first draft of the third story, Eta Carina, and I’m currently writing the fourth, with a working title of, M54.
Information about these books and links to purchase them, along with my other books, can be found at my website, huckkruegerauthor.com. One can also find them via Amazon. Nook and Kindle versions are available.
What seems to be the recurring theme(s) in your stories?
Space travel and extraterrestrials are what I write about most, because they give me so much ‘room’ to create and work out ideas. I like to note that most of my aliens are not evil aliens out to destroy humanity or Earth. They have their faults, but I often have them interact and cooperate with my human characters.
How do you get into the minds of your characters? How do you come up with various settings?
I usually use the ‘closely attached’ third-person point of view, and usually choose one main character to do it in each story. To clarify, the story is shown through the view of one person–only things he/she knows is told. Though, I try to imagine what each character thinks, sees and feels, so I can have them interact in a believable fashion. Sometimes while writing, as an excuse to get up and move around, I’ll physically act out a scene to get the concept and figure out how characters would respond.
Many of my story ideas have come from a topic in science I happen to be studying at the time. I try to construct a story with that aspect of science involved. I came up with one story after I read about Jupiter and its moons and the forces at play between them. In the story I explain the basics of Jupiter’s ‘plasma torus’ and how it affects the electromagnetic fields around the four moons. Then I ‘stretched’ the science and went beyond to create a plot for the main two characters.
Another idea came from combining two news stories. Back when the influenza virus was ravishing through the world, I had that story rolling through the back of my mind when I read about UFO abductions. I combined the two into a plot of aliens abducting someone and mistakenly allowing their victim to contract one of their diseases. After they set him/her free, the disease spread rapidly. The result was a pandemic that wiped out hundreds of millions. I created a story about an astronaut woman whose family had died from the disease.
In my new series, Voyages of the Altair, I’ve been reading about dark matter and dark energy, and worked the plots around the idea of living beings made of dark matter and energy.
How valuable is being in a writing group for you?
It turns out that the writing groups have been very valuable. Since the late 1990s, I had let my story writing go dormant. I had only dabbled with poetry and some articles and essays from that time until the local retired fire chief invited me to check out the local writers’ group in November, 2006. That group identifies itself as the Lake Region Writers’ Group. There was another group that met in Willow City, called the Prairie Rose Writers.
They ‘prompted’ me to rekindle my story writing. While I worked on an old story and wrote new ones, the Prairie Rose group, who had collaborated with our group on an anthology, ‘recruited’ me to assemble and publish the work. After learning the processes of self-publishing, I decided to ‘join the ranks’ of the other two in our group who had self-published their own works. After learning about what I did to publish the anthology, one of the Prairie Rose writers has now self-published one or two books.
When you’re not writing, where would we usually find you?
Outside of my job, which is custodial and maintenance at the local college, I’m often at my computer studying a science or history subject, or communicating with someone, or just entertaining myself. Otherwise I might be working in my shop in the garage or doing some chores or repairs around the house, and in the summer times I often worked on or flew my ultralight plane.
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest obstacles facing writers today?
Writers today still face the usual problems any writer has such as writer’s block or deciding how to compose an article or story. In the business realm of literary jobs and publishing one’s work, I don’t know how much competition one faced in the past. But now-a-days writers will find a lot of competition. The major traditional book publishers and major magazines receive tens of thousands of submissions in a year. Getting noticed will often be through luck.
An ‘outlet’ for many writers has been via the internet, which includes blogs and self-publishing. Writers of blogs, ezine articles/stories, self-published books, or other digital compositions can get their ‘foot in the door,’ if their piece catches the eye of a major publisher. Publishers sometime notice when a piece gets thousands or millions of views or sales. They might approach the author(s) and offer a proposal.
Any additional comments or advice you’d like to add for our readers?
Off hand I can’t think of any advice or tips that haven’t already been mentioned or posted somewhere.
About the author…
Huck lives in Devils Lake, N.D. with his wife, Linnea. He graduated Cando High in 1982, and in 1989 received a B.A. with a major in English, a minor in Computer Science, and a concentration in German from MSU-Minot. You can find his science fiction titles atKindle and Nook.
I’m looking for one-three (clean) Romance books to read between now and January, and am open for suggestions! I’d prefer it to be an ebook, but will take print versions as well. If you’re an author of such book, please let me know a bit about your book’s premise to help me decide. Whichever book(s) I decide to read, I plan to post a review on this blog by the end of January (if not, sooner).
You can let me know either via the comment section below, or through the Contact form.
🙂 🙂 🙂
Annalisa Parent, teaching extraordinaire and editor of Chair & Pen: Musings on Writing and the Writing Life, has come out with a new book called, Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline.
If you’re someone who tends to write on “the fly,” but always seems to have a problem either finishing or figuring out where the story’s going, this book is for you.
Annalisa, a Pantser herself, understands how other fellow Pantsers tend to lose their way when they write a book because of the unorganized fashion of their creativity. This book aims to help them–you— find your way through the “muddle” quicker.
By finding the patterns (or theme) in the story, and then build upon them.
This book is not your typical how-to-write book. The instructions and examples are not in your usual cut-and-dry and formal format. This is nothing like an ordinary book about writing. Did I say that Annalisa is a teaching extraordinaire? Well, she proves it in this gem. Her presentations throughout the book are personable, easy to grasp, and her witty sense of humor and uncanny culture references make for a truly enjoyable learning experience.
Annalisa believes in taking the whole writer in account and not just about providing knowledge. For the first part of the book, she turns her attention solely to the writer.
Knowing and accepting yourself for who you are as a writer is half the battle in your journey to becoming a published author. She talks about brains, and how Pantsers are who they are because of the way their brains are wired. She talks about how we tend to limit ourselves by giving in to our fears, and how the wrong kinds of feedback could damage our future as writers indefinitely. Annalisa shows us how to turn all of this around. How to manage the fears and find the right kind of feedback needed to move our writing forward instead of backward.
Annalisa firmly believes that having the right mindset coupled with positive support could mean the difference between having a publishable or an unpublishable book.
The focus of the second half of the book is on the writing craft as she breaks down various parts such as character development, plot structure, conflict, setting, pacing…all geared for Pantsers. She provides tips and exercises on how to take what you have and improve upon them rather than change everything. Annalisa is a firm believer in NOT interrupting the creative flow as you create your story; but to take what you have created later on and make them better, interweaving them together so they become connected as part of one seamless story.
Annalisa truly understands you as the writer, and takes a holistic approach to helping you reach your goal-having a complete and publishable book. This book is unique and a joy to read. You learn more about yourself as a writer, gain the confidence needed to move forward while enjoying the journey.
What if there was no internet? Whether it crashed due to an electromagnetic storm, or a massive meteor shower took out most of the satellites…and the internet is now GONE.
As a writer, how would you function? How would you go about sending out your stories to the world?
Would you still keep writing?
So many completely rely on technology (namely internet) to get things done, and to communicate with others. Would we be able to revert back to the “old” ways of doing things?
Many writers feel that touching even one life is success. Not by how many books one published, or by how many awards one garnered; although these are VERY nice to have.
For some writers, writing goes much deeper than any physical items or accolades. It’s about using their gifts as storytellers, healers, change-makers for the sake of others.
Success is based on the number of lives impacted.
What about you? How do you view success as a writer?
Over at Facebook, I moderate a session every Thursday with WE PAW Bloggers called “Thursday Talk Shop.” This week we’re looking at a particular quote by a French philosopher, author, and journalist, Albert Camus:
“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.”
These are the questions I posed to the group:
Do you agree with this?
What do you think he meant by this?
How does a writer do this? I mean, wow, this is heavy! Can you name ways how a writer can save civilization?
This goes to show the kind of power behind the “written” word. Can you name writers who in your mind changed the course of history?
Feel free to participate!