War In Flesh teaser #WarInFlesh #InTheFlesh

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

Work on the sequel to In The Flesh is moving along. Yes it is slow going. I’m not one of those authors who can just crank out hundreds of pages without a thought. In point of fact I’m realizing that my creative process takes a lot of thought and a lot of processing. I have to think the whole thing though before I can begin to write it. I have ideas and then need to play with them to see how they fit into the narrative. Sometimes they don’t and then I have to, in the words of Stephen King, “kill my darlings.” I also have my bs detector set to 11 apparently, so a lot of things I like don’t fit well into the story line and I have to set them aside. I will share the following teaser of a part of a chapter that I’ve written for War In Flesh for your enjoyment but I make no promises that it will survive the multiple editing passes in this books future.

Nevertheless, please enjoy:

War In Flesh

Copyrighted material, all rights reserved

Thousands of miles north of Antarctica, beyond the shining jewel of Ce Acatl, just inland from the coast of the long narrow island that is all that’s left of what was once the northern continent a battered, almost broken antenna picked up the weak signal. Ancient relays came reluctantly to life and deep below the surface lights began to flicker as emergency batteries sacrificed what little power they had left.

On the surface a mere handful out of dozens of hidden hatches opened through the debris that buried them. Up through the hatches solar collector arrays slowly surfaced. It took days for them to collect enough power to begin the power up sequence in deeply buried scientific research stations.
Subterranean bunkers long buried by the movement of earth and nearly flooded by raising water tables slowly revealed themselves to sporadic lighting. Sump pumps groaned and kicked on draining stagnant water where it stood in deep pools on the floors of the lowest levels. The scent of mold filled the dead air.

Slowly, one by one in the high tech labs computers came online, waking from their sleep state as the power came back up. They had been kept alive in a low power state since the cataclysm so long ago. Fans started to move and with them slow air currents began to swirl through the underground complex of labs and offices. Vats filled with nutrients far past their best by dates began to grow bodies, following centuries old routines.

Some of the cylindrical vats failed to come online. In a sub-basement some of the computers shorted out, falling to a combination of moisture and nibbling rodents that had encroached over the long years. Others powered up and began growing things even before the injectors inserted the organic material intended to be grown in them. Somehow their sterile interiors had been breached by microorganisms during their long dormancy.

The laboratories were climate stable by virtue of being so far beneath the surface. In such a protected place the denizens of caves made their home, just as they would any natural cave system. Bats found their way into the upper level. Mountains of guano became nourishment for cockroaches and other crawling things. Heavy, sealed bulkhead doors kept larger things out of the lower levels but were little barrier to microorganisms.

Weeks passed while the sump pumps and fans worked. Often they had to shut down to conserve what little power the solar collectors could provide. Every system in the buried complex was designed to protect the computers first, even the electrical system. With the emergency batteries dead and not enough power coming from the arrays to recharge them, if that were even still possible, the other systems regularly idled so that what power there was could be diverted to the computers.

Eventually the pumps got the floors dry and the fans refreshed the air, opening vents to the surface when what humidity and moisture sensors that remained permitted.

In the cloning vats things grew.

This is but a snippet, gentle reader, that I hope you enjoy. I have all of the ideas in place now and just need to see how they will hang together. Things always change as I write them and what I envision when I start out is rarely what the final tale is. Characters will do what they will and I am often just telling their story they way they would have me tell it. K.

Another Glimpse Into My Creative Process For War In Flesh

That’s right, gentle reader. Despite a serious and worrying bout of writer’s block and creative block I managed to figure out the details of the antagonist and the particular plot point I’ve been having trouble with for the better part of a week. I don’t know how it is with other writers but for me, when something is right for the story it is not only well thought out but also there is a component that is less concrete, it feels right to me. In order for anything to get into the story it must fit both criteria and the most important one is whether it feels right or not. Because, you see, I can do the research and tweek the details of something to make it work if it feels right for the story.

That’s right, gentle reader. Despite a serious and worrying bout of writer’s block and creative block I managed to figure out the details of the antagonist and the particular plot point I’ve been having trouble with for the better part of a week. I don’t know how it is with other writers but for me, when something is right for the story it is not only well thought out but also it must feel right. In order for anything to get into the story it must fit both of these criteria and the most important one is whether it feels right or not. Because, you see, I can do the research and tweek the details of something to make it work if it feels right for the story.

Everyone’s creative process is different. The creative process is unique to the individual. That is what any and every artist brings to the party: their own unique way of creating, of viewing and expressing what we call art. So what works for one person may not work for another. I share my creative process here with you so that you can see just one possible process. Every writer, every musician, every painter or sculptor or designer or crafter has their own process and that is part of the wonder and joy of creating. When you make something, you have your own way of approaching it and doing it and that is wonderful.

As those of you who have been following me know, I’ve been dealing with a bit of frustration these past few days. A particular plot point, that I don’t want to give away because—spoilers—has come up far sooner in the book than I thought it would. For that reason I’ve had to hammer out details I thought would come more organically to me as I wrote and got a better feel for the story.

Due to the nature of this plot point I’ve also had to complete the design of the major antagonist a lot sooner than I thought I would. Oh I had a vague idea of what I wanted, plenty to get the novel going and see how the details would fall together as I got closer to the actual introduction of the character. Basically I thought I had a generous amount of time to think about these particular parts of the story but because of the way I started the sequel I needed to know the details for the first chapter. Believe me, I was surprised but that is how the creative process works sometimes. I love the first chapter and it is just right so I had to come up with details I had hoped to put off and think about more.

The hardest part was navigating all of the ideas I had looking for the one that felt right. I’d get started down an idea and it just didn’t sound right or feel right so I’d have to scrap it and look for something else. It is difficult to explain. When I’m on the right track for something I just know. When I’m not It feels wrong, weird to me when I think of it or read it.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that it all came together last night and I’m ready and excited to continue writing War In Flesh. K.

World Building and Strange Creatures for In The Flesh

I write science-fiction because I like to build worlds.  I write because I like to explore relationships.  One of the most fun things I get to do when writing is design new creatures to populate my world.  Sometimes the new creatures aren’t all that new.  Most times they’re not that different from what we expect to encounter if we go to certain places in our own world but once in a while a new one gets to be dreamed up.  Such is the case with one I just finished fleshing out for the latest chapter of In The Flesh.

It is difficult to describe in words what can be plainly seen in the mind’s eye.  It is very difficult to try to make something that is unknown currently, or is different or has some kind of twist to make it different from what we are accustomed to.  It’s very time consuming but also fun.

Strange creatures, just like new worlds have to be internally consistent otherwise they won’t work.  I’ve found that the better the planning, the more I’ve developed a creature just like the more I flesh out the underlying world the better I can write it and the more smoothly it fits into the story line.

Writing is a joy for those who write but good writing takes just as much thought and planning as actual writing.  Often times it takes more thought and planning than the actual writing.  That is part of my creative process, for what it’s worth.  It does slow the writing down and occasionally gets in the way of the pure creative process where I write as it comes to me but I find that I can write better in a more creative way and with much more freedom if I know what the bounds are that I must stay within to keep my world and the creatures and people who inhabit it consistent with the internal logic.  I’m sure this is not how every author works.  It is just how I work.

When Characters take on a Life of Their Own

Perhaps other authors have encountered this phenomenon, when a character starts directing what he or she will or will not do in a story.  It has happened to me several times. I will be writing with a clear plan in mind for a certain character and I’ll hit the point where something critical has to happen and suddenly the character seems to take over and the action goes in a completely different direction.  Characters will do things I never intended for them to do, they will say things that appall me that I would never say and never planned for them to say.

In my upcoming novel In The Flesh I have two characters who are arguing over who gets to do and say what.  I will write something fully intending for one of them to do it and the other will insist that he does it.  This has happened several times.

More fantastically the entire novel has taken on a life of its own.  I have had the story take turns I never planed it to take.  I just finished up a chapter I had to write and re-write 4 or 5 times.  Every time I wrote it the narrative seemed to go wrong for the novel.  Finally, like threading a needle, I managed to get it written correctly for the book.

Now I know the philosophical or analytical will go on about how this is my subconscious taking control of characters and story line, and that’s probably true.  But this means that the characters have far richer lives deep in my imagination than I’m even fully aware of and that is wonderful.