I don’t talk with many other authors about their process for writing. It usually feels like prying. I’ve read lots of great books about the craft of writing and lot of blogs telling people how to write or how not to write.
I’ve learned that everyone does something different. I know that Stephen King normally writes his books in chronological order, while Neil Gaiman writes scenes and then ties them together. Some people plot out every scene and others don’t. Some type some use a pen or pencil.
One thing that I do that I’ve never heard anyone else doing was writing a proof-of-concept. I’ve done it for each of my novels so far and I find it extremely useful in find the right tone and feel. I find it extremely useful.
This post was a proof-of-concept for Parasomnia, and if you ever get the chance to read the novel you’ll realize that they’re completely different. What I learned from it was that I enjoyed the tone and the mirroring of dreams.
The following is a proof-of-concept for a novel I’m thinking of writing that’s set in the far future where 1 in a billion people is a Psionic. Each kind of Psionic is separated into a guild and that guild is like their family and decides what they do as a living. Precogs are the pilots and body guards, Telekinetic are the soldiers for hire, etc.
But at the core of the story I want it to be about a girl who has three of the eight possible powers and how she deals with training in the PsyCorps Academy. It should be a riff on the Boarding School stories, like Harry Potter, but in the future, with Psychic powers. I’d like it to have the feel of the Tamora Pierce Tortall novels (The Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small books), with a hint of Star Trek and Babylon 5.
After writing this I think it didn’t have the tone of awe or sci-fi that I wanted. I think the character acts too young for her age and I think I need to go to third person to better describe the effects.
I am still extremely interested in writing this novel and it most likely will be my 2015 writing project.
Read the Proof-Of-Concept after the break.
Let me know what you think. Please!
*Warning: There is some violence and an attempted sexual assault*
Fear and shame mixed with excitement is the only way to describe that summer day when I was thirteen.
My Dad and I were visiting a small community of Anachronists in what was once Southern-Ontario. It was fascinating to see them still stuck thousands of years in the past. Using communication devices attached to walls and watching things called televisions which were big boxes that hummed and played videos that you couldn’t rewind or skip.
To be honest the only part that really interested me was the airshow that they held every year. Their planes could barely break Mach-two but I could appreciate their beauty.
I was looking at one of the planes that they kept out as a display and said to my Dad, “I want to be a jet fighter one day.”
My Dad blanched and his eyes grew large, I don’t think I’d ever seen fear in his face before. He was about to say something when one of the teenage boy Anachronists said, “You’re a girl, you can’t fly a jet that’s a man’s job.”
Not knowing what to say I just stuck my tongue out at him. It was the darker side of the Anachronists, they still held on to their old technology and their old ideas. My Dad had explained that they didn’t believe all people were equal that they thought women weren’t the same as men.
Recovering my Dad said, “You can be anything you want sweetie but only Psions can properly pilot fighters.”
Rarely had he ever used the word Psion, and he never said it above a whisper. At the time, I only knew what the other kids said about Psions, or as they called them Brains. None of it was good. The minute a Brain showed its power the PsyGuild, took them away to a special school. Their parents disowned them and no one ever talked about them again. A few years ago the Uranusian crowned prince had shown he was a Brain and they’d taken him away at just six.
I wondered why Dad had never said anything before; I had been obsessed with planes and ships as long as I could remember. I had never said I wanted to be a pilot but I thought it was obvious.
The rest of the day my Dad looked at me funny. As we were leaving I went to the washroom and found blood in my underwear. My parents had prepared me that my body would be changing and after a short bout of panic I did the only thing I could, I cleaned as much as I could off of my underwear and then took an Anachronist Pad from the dispenser. I’d have to put in the cup that my parents gave me for my birthday, when I got home.
As traumatic events go getting my period for the first time wasn’t as bad as I expected. It was scary to be bleeding, even though I had been told all about it. The fear was nothing compared to the feeling of frustration that came along with knowing I’d have to deal with it monthly for a long time. I felt a kinship with the Anachronists at the moment. It didn’t last long.
As I walked out of the washroom, the same boy who had said I couldn’t be a pilot because I was a girl was waiting for me. He looked at me in a way that made me uncomfortable and said, “You can’t be a pilot but you could be a nice little wife.”
“I’m thirteen,” I said in disbelief.
“I’m only sixteen we could play house,” as he spoke I looked him up and down. I wasn’t sure what he meant. I was way too old to play house. I noticed the bulge in his pants and real panic rose inside me. Rape was a capital offence in the regular parts of Earth but the Anachronists had their own law and it looked away. My father had told me to yell fire if I thought it was going to happen. Normally I’d just blink my EyeCom and call him but we had to take them all out when we visited the site.
The word fire died in my throat, I felt I couldn’t breathe. A rush of air and energy flowed through my body and it seemed that everything but me was moving slowly. I ran passed the boy and things snapped back into place.
Not looking back I heard him make a confused sound. I didn’t know what I had done but the feeling was exhilarating. That is until a rock hit me in the back of the head. The rock wasn’t big enough to knock me out but it was enough to daze me and when I turned around the boy was almost on top of me. I picked up the rock and was planning on throwing it back at him when I noticed the small imperfections in it. They were beautiful and the more I concentrated on the rock the more of it I could see.
“What the hell are you doing,” the boy asked looking angry and a little afraid. I didn’t know then but my eyes would have turned completely dark to allow me to see microscopic parts of the rock.
The thought of throwing the rock came back to me and before I could move my hand I pictured the rock flying towards the boy and hitting him in the genitals. That would stop him from trying anything.
The rock followed my mental image and flew at the boy. At the last second he twisted and it hit him on the leg. He ran off screaming.
A combination of terror and excitement ran through me, I was a Brain. I had moved the rock with my mind. Through excitement came shame at what I had done and at what I was. The worst part of that day and the most traumatic was seeing my father crying. He had seen everything and he knew I would have to leave.