Tag Archives: Novels of Aleyne

Does the Stork bring me plots?

Aleyne Desert

 

This month’s topic: Topic: In designing your plots what do you rely on most: personal
experience, imagination, or research?

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought in the weeks since we decided on this topic, trying to tease out just where my plot ideas came from. In order to keep this investigation to a reasonable size < grin> I decided to concentrate on the four science fiction novels in my Novels of Aleyne series.

As in all science fiction, the world in which the novels take place came from my imagination, but it came from both the Plot Fairy and my own personal experience. The novels take place on a military base. The main characters in two of the novels, Brad from Broken Bonds and Rob from Rob’s Rebellion are army officers. The main characters of the other two, Keth from Relocated and Martin from Geek Games, are adolescent boys. The setting I used is an army base  a desert environment. In Broken Bonds, the legal system takes on a major role, as does computer hacking in Geek Games. Many of the important secondary characters in the series are either army officers, writers, artists, or musicians.  These are all elements with which I am personally familiar or which I was able to research in order to get enough information to fill out the plot.

First, the desert and the army. My father, an attorney, served in World War II and entertained my sister and me with many stories when we were growing up. My father was a Judge Advocate General — basically, the army equivalent of a district attorney.  He told a story about a Black sergeant who was prosecuted for going AWOL to a bar that was 100 yards off the base. None of the White officers who were with him were brought up on charges. This story haunted me, and a secondary character, Johnny Dragon, is a Black sergeant who is imprisoned by the military for the same charge and who befriends Brad, my main character.

My middle son also spent eight years in the army where he served as a captain in military intelligence. He spent two tours of duty in Iraq. I shamelessly picked his brains when I was writing Rob’s Rebellion because military procedure plays an important role.

Among the other subjects I researched in the course of writing the series were Native American mythology (Brad’s ancestry is Native American), yoga and meditation, the procedures used when someone is charged with a crime,  the International Court, glass blowing and ceramics.

I can’t help feeling that in spite of the major roll imagination plays in my plot building, it is shored up by my research and my personal experience.

Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1dm
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com

For Oct 22: A Book by Any Other Title

RoundRobinBlogTour

One of the first things any reader knows about a book is the title — and the author and the cover image, but for now let’s stick to the title. We all want a catchy title for our books, one that will stop a potential reader in their tracks and make them open it up (or click on it) to discover what it’s really about. And we all want a title that’s going to pop up when readers are searching on Amazon for books in our genre.

So, when I go to my local library or bookstore and search for something to read, I start by browsing through the shelf of new books, checking out the titles and, if it looks interesting, plucking it off the shelf, opening it up, and reading the blurb. Then maybe I’ll check out the first couple of pages.

I’m staring at my latest collection of library books, one of which is “Little Beach Street Bakery,” a book I chose in just such a manner. It sounds satisfying — not disturbing, not likely to give me nightmares, which is what I was in the mood for at the time.

So, hmm — what attracts me to a title depends on my mood, and therefore what I want in a book at the time: romance, mystery, adventure, horror, or whatever.

I wish I could say that I have a wonderful method for choosing titles for my books, but I don’t. Sometimes they just come to me, and sometimes I have to work at it.

The title of  Relocated,   just came to me. It’s about a teenage boy who ends up on an alien planet when his father is sent there to help root out some terrorists.  The title of Geek Games   and Broken Bonds took more work, as did my latest novel, Rob’s Rebellion. Its working title was “Rob’s Book,” after the main character, Colonel Robert Walker, a colonel in the Terran Federation Guard who is posted to the alien planet Aleyne with orders to arrest the current, very popular, commander of the military base there on charges of treason. I eventually ended up soliciting suggestions from my reading group.

What attracts you to a particular title? Leave a comment and let us know, and do check out the thoughts of my fellow posters:

“Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com
Heather Haven http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/
Dr. Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-MI
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Margaret Fieland https://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Coming next week: Rob’s Rebellion

Robs Rebellion 200x300Blurb

Colonel Rob Walker always does his duty, even when it means risking  shaky relationship with his family. When he’s ordered to bring the treaty negotiations between the Terran Federation and the Aleyni to a successful conclusion, he’s determined to do just that, even when both sides would rather he fail. How can Rob pull off a miracle and avoid a war, one where both sides could be destroyed?

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lRxFdOJp6Q

Excerpt

“Laura? Carol? Where is everybody?” Rob drew in a deep breath.

Footsteps clattered on the fake wood floors. “Carol took the children to Fellowship. I didn’t want to go.” Tear streaks marked the dust accumulated on Laura’s face. “I want to go home. I don’t want to live in this dump.”

“This is home,” Rob grumbled. “I’m commander of this base. This is my posting. Why would you expect me to take us back to New Oregon?”

“You might have refused the posting.” Laura’s mouth formed a straight line in her oval face. “You can resign from the Federation Guard.”

“Resign? What would I do then? Come on, Laura, be realistic. I’ve got two wives and four children to support. We wouldn’t even have the price of tickets home for us on a commercial star ship” What the blazes would become of his career if he quit? His father’s sneering face rose in his mind. His father continued to predict Rob’s career would crash and burn. He clenched his fist. He’d do anything to prove his father wrong.

“Surely you can find other work.” Laura swiped a hand across her eyes. “Everyone here hates us.”

“For God’s sake, Laurie, I’m a fifty year old career colonel. The Guard is my life. My career. What else would I do?” Rob stomped into the living area and over to a small section devoted to cooking. “What the hell is there to eat around here?”

Laura shrugged and dropped into a chair at a small table. “Check for yourself.” She glared at Rob, her arms crossed over her chest. “You can starve for all I care.”

Rob pulled out another chair and sat opposite her. “We’re not going home, er, back to New Oregon, and that’s final. Relations between the base and the Aleyni are touchy enough. They liked Reynolds, and I arrested him for treason. The treaty with the Federation is up for renegotiation. If the Guard sent the wrong officer, the Aleyni could refuse negotiation altogether. I’m not going to be the one who is responsible for starting a war.” He was sick of defending himself for doing his duty. He was a soldier, blast it. He might not be much of a commander, but no one was going to fault him for shirking his duty.

“You’re being melodramatic,” Laura protested.

“Maybe, but we’re staying here.” Rob stood and jerked open the cold store, which held nothing but some juice. “Come on, we’re going to the market. We’ll find someplace to eat.” He extended a hand to Laura and pulled her to her feet.

“There’s nothing here and nowhere to go.”

“Not on the base, but in Aleyne City.” Rob pulled out his pocket comp and began searching for Restaurants, Aleyne City.

“Not until I wash up.” Laura glared at him and stumped off down the hall.

Rob sighed and lowered himself into a chair to wait

Bio:

Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life.  Her poems and stories have appeared in journals such as  Turbulence Magazine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines, was published by Inkspotter Publishing in November, 2011.  She is the author of  Relocated, Geek Games,  Broken Bonds, and Rob’s Rebellion published by MuseItUp Publishing , and of Sand in the Desert, a collection of science fiction persona poems. A chapter book is due out later this year.
Links:

Rob’s Rebellion on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Robs-Rebellion-Novels-Margaret-Fieland-ebook/dp/B0198UXBF8/

Rob’s Rebellion on publisher’s website:

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/series/robs-rebellion-detail

My Website:

http://www.margaretfieland.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MargaretFielandAuthor/

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/margaretfieland/

 

Researching Science Fiction

 

AleyneDesert6

 

 

 

What research is involved in writing science fiction? There can be quite a lot, actually. In my first science fiction novel, Relocated,      my main character, Keth, becomes involved in ceramics and glass blowing. I had some knowledge of ceramics left over from a pot-throwing course at summer camp and another summer spent playing with copper enamel, but I knew nothing about blowing glass. So it was off to the internet to check things out and construct — mentally,  anyway — my studio. It turned out to be quite large, with a separate room for storing the finished work, an area for throwing pots, and another with a couple of furnaces for the glass. Because my main character was sweet on the master craftsman’s daughter, I spent a fair amount of time getting the details nailed down to my satisfaction. My character spent quite a  lot of time there, too.

In the next Aleyne novel,  Broken Bonds, I shamelessly picked the brains of my middle son, who was in the army at the time, as my main character was a military officer who was called up on charges. I also researched the International Court, which had an equivalent — the Interstellar Court — in my novel. As well, I checked out procedures for criminal trials. My father was an attorney, my mother served on the Grand Jury, and I have been a juror several times, so I was more comfortable with trials and courtrooms than I was with military procedures. Still, I wanted to get the details right.

I also ended up researching stringed instruments. One of my major characters plays an imaginary stringed instrument, and I wanted to know what it looked and sounded like. I play the flute and the piccolo, but my knowledge of strings is limited, and so it was off to the internet to do some research. In the end, I decided it was made of wood and shaped something like an autoharp, and came in various sizes like violins, violas, cellos and basses do. Did most of this information end up in the text? Um, no, but I needed to know it.

As to badly researched material in books I read, yes, it bugs me. I can still recall a novel by a well-known author where the main character played the flute and composed. I play the flute and the piccolo, and have for many years. Flute players are a dime a dozen, which is one of the many reasons so many of them turn to composing. While the author did a fine job on this aspect, in my opinion she short-changed the flute playing. There were a couple of places in the text where a bit more detail. The character was writing a book on the difficulties of playing the instrument, and there should, I believe, have been more specific detail. It’s been years since I read this novel, and I still find it annoying.

And that is one of the many reasons why I look up glass blowing, the International Court, the military, and stringed instruments. I don’t my readers to have that reaction.

Do check out the posts by my fellow bloggers:
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Skye Taylor  http://www.skye-writer.com/
Rachael Kosnski http://www.rachaelkosinki.weebly.com/
Heidi M. Thomas http://heidiwriter.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Lynn Crain  http://www.awriterinvienna.blogspot.com
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/