Saturday, June 7, 2014

E. Stoops on Writing as an Excellent Form of Therapy #AmWriting #Fictions #SelfPub

It’s often said that writing is like meditation or playing music – it heals the soul. I’m the first to admit that it’s an excellent way to comb through a tangled mind or mentally put to rights something you couldn’t in real life. But writing shouldn’t just be scriptural talk therapy, it is also a creative process and it’s not the issues you put on the page that heals the soul, it’s transforming the negativity into a creative energy that is what actually does the trick. The first two books of the Pretense series were written while friends were in the middle east. I harbored many dark thoughts at the time. Worry, fear, anger and also a sort of maniacal dark joy on the days that they sent up the flag to let us know they were still alive and kicking. You might think that the Pretense series is dark and gloomy because of it, but as all that darkness churned and was spun out into words, I found I had written a funny book about dark themes instead of the serious book I thought would come of my efforts
I think we’ve all read that one book, the one in which it’s pretty obvious that the author is working through their own issues, their own hatreds and prejudices. It’s not a fun experience as a reader (but I’m sure the author feels better!) I think it can be healthy to write that way, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to publish it. Publishing a book like that is like screaming at family members in the middle of Barnes and Noble. That isn’t to say that writing a book is a mill-like process wherein all dark and negative emotions are made light and positive. Outside of the horror genre (which I think is a different kind of catharsis) the real trick is to bring them into balance or put them in perspective. This is why I often find that I give each chapter both an up note and a down note. Even if they don’t balance out in each chapter (and generally, in the beginning of the book, the down notes are huge steps down and the up notes small steps up) over all I like it when a book should has a similar quantity of notes of each kind and ends only slightly out of balance in terms of quality. I always like my heroes to have some sort of victory, but I often salt it. I don’t think it’s realistic for them to get what they want at minimal price.
The one thing that I think is tough about making this process work is getting the mill started so that it can start processing your emotions into a narrative. That’s because it’s not about creating the enemy that your characters will defeat. It’s about dropping the reigns on your fears, angers, sadnesses and letting them run amok in the book and transform themselves into the enemy. I can always tell when I’m reading a book where someone worked hard on creating just the right metaphor – to me it always seems a little stilted.  I used to do the same, but with Pocket, I just let my fears loose in the pages, and they became very subtle, very creepy, and a much better metaphor than I could have created.
They also became bigger. But that was Lucius’s problem, and I more or less liked how he solved it for us both.

In an alternate universe where the twentieth century gave rise to individuals with psychic talents, the Great War ended far differently, and the flow of history led the United States into a losing war with China by the middle of the twenty-first century. The combined submarine navies of Britain, Russia, France, Canada and the United States are holding back an ever more hostile enemy that is intent on winning a war of attrition. A desperate Navy presses antiquated boats into service to supply the main fleet and mans them with the leavings of the Navy’s worst sailors. For Chief Petty Officer Lucius Tagget and his best friend Aaron Fredrickson, it’s their ticket out of naval prison and a chance to clear their names.

What should be an uneventful assignment behind the front lines turns into a nightmare when Aaron is killed in an accident that claims the lives of all the men on his submarine. Terrified of condemning another boat and crew to eternal patrol, the Navy assigns the CPNS Puget Sound a talented seer in hopes of preventing another accident. Instead, that decision changes the entire crew, and ultimately, the entire war.
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Genre - Alternative History
Rating - PG-15
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