It’s way later than I wanted to start, but as promised, here is post 1 about my stories. To kick it all off, I am going to write a 3-for-1 post about my science fiction saga: Gravity.
Gravity as it stands for now is 3 books. Those books are:
A 4th and 5th is being written and are about 90% complete at the writing of this post. They are being written simultaneously and should be done the 1st draft in a matter of days or weeks.
What’s the genre?
Gravity is a space opera. At least in general terms. Part of me likes to call it a love story set in space. It’s science fiction at its core, but I try to be heavier in characters with the science fiction portion being just the environment they interact in. It has some military elements as well as other pieces from a variety of similar genres. But, all-in-all, it’s sci-fi.
What’s it about?
Set a few hundred years into the future, humanity has colonized the solar system. From Mercury to Jupiter, the governments united and became the Alliance. Beyond Jupiter, colonies, stations, and the like all operated independently and became the outer worlds. The story follows many characters as they try to navigate life in a universe where a war is brewing as the Alliance sets its sights on capturing the resources remaining in the outer worlds.
Haden Rachid and Adrianna Feyet are the two primary characters. Or at least at first they appear to be. I have added or killed several characters and my focus has drifted back and forth over the last 3 and my current draft of #4. Anyway…
The main two: Haden and Adrianna had met over 7 years prior to the opening of book 1. This is all explained in the book, and you learn a little more about what they went through in each book. Suffice to say though, Haden’s past led him into a suicide mission that he escaped from, but went into hiding, leading Adrianna to believe him dead. Adrianna was left wandering after he never returned. Then they were reunited after their ships crashed. Now that they have gotten to each other once again, it is all that either of them think about. Their goals counter what the Alliance wants, given that they aren’t happy that Haden is alive.
Gravity is about people dealing with conflict. Dealing with choices that push people towards others or pulls them away. It’s the polarity of an organization that wants to unite all of mankind (nefarious goals or otherwise) in the Alliance and the organizations that want to live apart, to live independently as in the outer planets.
In later chapters of this saga I will be dealing with the good and the bad on both sides. More characters will leave, die, or be introduced. And though Haden and Adrianna’s story will end at some point, others will be there to carry the torch forward.
Why did I start writing it? What were the inspirations behind it?
It started as a short story. I wrote a scene of a guy in a space ship. Basically, the very first section, or “chapter” if you will, was that short story. I posted it for free on the net, but it didn’t sit well with me being on there. Something in it felt bigger. It needed to be explored. There was more there.
Hearing a particular song though was what really catapulted it from a guy crashing into another ship to a full-blown love story. “Gravity,” by Vienna Teng was that song and also where I got the saga’s name from. It was the idea that two people could be drawn to each other no matter the odds, even in the vastness of space.
One of the other greater contributions to inspiration was the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. Then also a little bit of the short-lived show, Firefly. I pull from a lot of different arena’s though in trying to assemble the story.
Who is(are) my favorite character(s) to write?
For starters, there are a lot of characters. Some are only mentioned in brief segments; others, like Haden and Adrianna, I delve into.
Although Haden and Adrianna are the primary figures, my favorite to write has been Xaviera, a character I introduce in book 2. She started as just a little side. A piece of the puzzle to help Adrianna accomplish a task. Then as I continued, she started playing a larger role in my thoughts. Plus being an android, it was a nice side plot to dive into the politics behind android/human relations and just how certain androids interact. She is almost more human than most of the other characters, and that has been fun to write.
Second to Xaviera has been 356Q (I reveal her real name in book 4). She is an emotionless assassin who was once trained by Haden. Where Xaviera seems more human than most, 356Q seems more robotic. It’s fun playing in the realm of her never having dealt with feeling her emotions, and then letting them bubble up little by little. Book 4 and 5 are a big one for her trying to reconcile with her own demons that she never believed that she had.
Why are these books so short?
I see a lot of sagas and trilogies occupying these incredibly large volumes. I wasn’t immediately sure that I wanted to go that route. And there were some uneasy choices I was making at the time I started writing this.
Gravity 1 was released to KDP in August of 2012. Self publishing was still in its infancy, even just those 5 years ago. In reality, I wanted to have a giant book contract like we still hear about, but all I had was poetry, a few short stories, two novels (The Good Teacher & my future email subscription giveaway, Demon Whispers), and this saga I was starting. My two novels were each around 50,000 words. Remember the Yorktown was hovering around 20,000 words.
Word that I was seeing online and through other sources was that publishers wanted to see somewhere around 80,000 words or so before being considered. But as I dug into word count requirements, there was plenty of evidence saying that 40,000 words and more was a valid novel. That’s when I also discovered novellas and novelettes. Something about having Gravity as a series of novellas just sounded right. The style that was developing from it also helped push me that direction.
As a writer, I don’t feel that I am competing against other writers as much as with EVERY form of entertainment. Large books are intimidating. Even for an avid reader like myself, I look at a large book and I just see the large amount of time I don’t always have to read them. Doesn’t stop me a lot, but it always gives me pause.
Small book? No problem. Given my own experience, I wanted to then write a story that was quicker than most, wasn’t burdened down with heavy descriptions instead chasing action more often (still working on this one), and lent itself to being written faster (again, still working on that too).
In the end, self-publishing became the best avenue to push small volumes. Also owning my work and all of its glory or failure resonated with me. Thus, Gravity books will remain in the 20,000 to 30,000 words range.
How much effort do I put into editing?
I put this in because I’ve had a few good critiques of the first few books. I’ve gone back twice and corrected a few of them (an advantage of being self-published), provided that those corrections don’t impact the plot. But the long and short answer to this question is: not enough.
I want more editing done, but I have two problems: 1) not enough income to pay and 2) no resources in people willing to help but for sporadic occasion. It’s an excuse while not being an excuse.
I spend a good deal of effort editing my work with some assistance. There comes a point however, where I get it as good as I can on my own and cast it off into the world. Are they by any means perfect? No way. I will attest that they aren’t the worst thing either. I would assert that they are still very much worth the read, errors and all.
What are my plans for Gravity?
While I have some loose plans, for example knowing how the war is going to pan out and how I am going to close Haden and Adrianna’s relationship, very little is planned. Whether a character lives or dies sometimes just happens. Already two events occur that I didn’t realize at first were going to go that way, but ended up being fun to continue. Mind you, the end of book 2 was planned.
I do worry about a LOST style floundering of the plot given this unplanned approach, but I do have ways of keeping track of what I am doing so that I remember to go back and close out details I put in (such as the attack on the recruiting office). I am actually keeping a spreadsheet on the characters for this to help as one device. Regardless, I do have the tools in place. And while even doing that, I am keeping tabs on myself trying not to go too far out with plot or number of characters to avoid the mess later on.
What do you think? Does this have you interested? Do you have more questions? Write down in the comments below or on the Gravity main page!