samuel x. brase likes to write

Taking the Scenic Route

Posted in novel planning by Sam X. on 8 June 2009

You may ask yourself why I’ve stopped posting here.

I haven’t quit on this project, far from it. I’m still convinced this is my best idea for a science fiction franchise, and I love so much about it. I’m focusing right now on other projects though; my short story work has taken priority. I like the idea of developing my writing through many smaller projects. By the process of rejection and acceptance with various editors, my style will develop into something that is marketable, something that is unique and captivating. I’m convinced that writing short stories right now is the best way to begin any writing career that I might (or might not) have.

This project sits with me every day though. I think about it at least ten times a day, running themes and events and characters through my head, like there’s some sort of committee up there who takes a new look at the material every day. I’m constantly reevaluating the status of characters, the prominence of certain institutions, and so forth.

One of the things that has really been nagging me is how to portray futuristic combat. Specifically, I want the story to have a number of gritty firefights. I don’t think the future of combat is overwhelming force however; that worked in the world wars, failed in Vietnam, and has been replaced in Afghanistan and Iraq. Current combat is focused on units, on specialized tactics and operations. The smaller, more efficient the unit, the better. So envision many battles where a small force, of 5 to 10 people, are seiging a spaceship or building.

This idea works on a couple of levels for me. One, I portray what I believe to be realistic future combat. Not Star Wars, where there are waves and waves of cloned robots, but syncopated and veteran units similar to Navy Seals or whatnot. Two, this allows me to fully flesh out the characters of most people in the fights. If I focus on one main unit of 7 people, over the course of a novel or two you would get to know them very well. Then one of them dies and you’re heartbroken — but such is the epic space opera.

I have not decided at all how to portray combat between spaceships, or if I even want to. We’ll see on that.

The instability and fractious nature of religion is another thing that I’ve decided I need to study in this series. The religious storyline, which runs concurrent with the political rebellion, features the rise of a peaceful spiritual leader, his abdication, and the succession of a more tyrannical figure. As this occurs in the background of the battlefield, we’ll see various characters begin to take sides. They’ve all chosen their political side by the second novel or so, either supporting the revolution or the Empire, but they certainly won’t all agree on religion. Some will support the first leader, some will support the second leader, some will support neither. These fractures will create tension, rebellious splinters, and hopefully at some point tie into my message of peaceful coexistance.

There are other topics that have entered my thoughts recently — how to portray potential lightspeed travel, how to discuss my feelings on the importance of food (it brings people together when almost everything else would divide us), and how I want to dismantle our obsession with teleology — but these are less fleshed out.

I want to work on this series slowly, however. I feel so strongly about the Doveiron series that I feel I must work on other projects first. I’m not the next JK Rowling or George Lucas. Yet. I will write short stories as they come to me, I will work on my new novella-length project, and let Doveiron simmer. It is such a big idea, such immense world creation, and the relevance of the main themes (drugs, political hegemony, religion) are not going away any time soon. I am sure that this tactic is for the good.

So this blog will study the gestation and eventual creation of my series. You will hear about my short stories. And that novella project? That’s for tomorrow.

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