A few years back, I published on Amazon.com a science fiction novel entitled “Sky Knights.” In this novel, I needed a strong transition from first part of my story to the second part. I spent weeks looking for the perfect sentence, the perfect transition. And then I came up with the sentence which is now the title of this post, “Ending are always beginnings.”
And this statement is true. Whenever you reach the end of a story, a vacation, a romance, a great film, a good meal, a great adventure, a great job or project, if you look for it, you’ll see your next great activity or story, your next adventure, waiting for you. It’ll be down the street, waving for you to come join it!
I’m nearing the end now of a sequel to a novel I just published six months back on Amazon. I thought this novel would be an easy write. I knew all the characters and knew where I wanted to go and how I wanted it to end. However, my story took a different route than I thought it would. New characters appeared, new adventures, new conflicts and new terrors.
At times, I was bored with it. Sometimes I was so bored that I just stopped writing and went out to enjoy life without writing. But I always came back to the story.
Three months ago, I thought I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. The end was near, I thought. But no, there was a long ways to travel still. There was a lot of character buildup to do, as there was lot of character conflict to write and resolve.
See, characters and their conflicts are what make a story work. Settings, sex, and violence may make a story more exciting, but in the end if there’s no conflict or not enough conflict, the story will fail. Sex and violence might make a story more entertaining but they are not the conflict. They might cause the conflict or be a result of the conflict, but they are not the conflict itself.
Where does the conflict come from, then? What is it made of? It’s made of the darkest emotions humanity feels: Hatred, fear, lust, revenge, deceit, self-righteousness, to name a few. Doing the right difficult thing over the wrong easy thing creates conflict. If two people feel the same romantic feelings for a third person, then the fear and anger between those two creates conflict.
A single character can be conflicted within his/her self, too. An good example is how my most recent story bored me. I wanted it to be quick and easy to write, but it wasn’t. So I walked away from it. Yet I was conflicted within myself. I knew it was a good story–and it is. But writing is almost never simple or easy. Making it work requires WORK. And if you don’t enjoy the work, then you’re not just cheating yourself, you’re also cheating your future readers.
Now, I’m going to vector off course here for a moment. I want to point out that writers rarely make the money they feel they deserve. Writing is not a quick path to glory and wealth. As a journalist, compared to a select few, I made very little money. Part of the problem was not really wishing to work hard for my stories. Yes, there are plenty of journalists who put little effort in and pierce through to the truth, making fame and fortune for themselves. But they always are not always writing about the truth, or even looking for it. Unfortunately, nowadays the truth is as much about spin for journalists as it is for politicians. And some reporters and journalists will accept what everyone is saying about a subject, whether it’s true or not, because they are either too lazy to look deep or just don’t give a damn.
Similarly, and more to the point, most writers think any story, even if badly written or badly edited, will sell. They might have a pie-in-the-sky dream of getting rich quick by being a writer, but that rarely happens. Maybe one in a million writers get that lucky. But they’re playing the odds and are happy to do so. The readers aren’t important to them, the fame and the money is.
It’s true, anyone can be a writer. However, it takes work to be a good writer. And even more work to write well enough that your readers want to read more.
So, my title, how does it apply to this rant?
Well, now that I’m nearing the end of my current novel, I’m getting ready to write the next one. The next one was going to be about my main character in both the previous novel in this series “Chaos Comapny”, as well as the novel I’m just finishing, “Chaos Allies”. The character is named Lion Biyela. He’s a giant of a Zulu warrior fighting in humanity’s wars among the stars.
But now I find myself wanting to write a Western. And the ideas are just boiling into me.
Yet, I won’t be able to this Western, called “Two for the Noose” for awhile because once I’m finished with “Chaos Allies” there’s still a major editing job to do. And then there’s the publishing job. And then, if there’s nothing else out there for me, I’ll be able to write my Western.
It will be different, that’s for dang sure. But I’m sure I can handle it. When I’m finally ended with “Chaos Allies”, I be ready to write in the old west.
One last thing. Science fiction and westerns are not the same genre, regardless of the TV series “Firefly”. However, conflict is conflict and it works in all fiction.
See you out there!