Mark Terry

Thursday, January 28, 2010


January 28, 2010
Those of you old enough to remember George H.W. Bush as president of the U.S. might remember that when he was campaigning against Bill Clinton he got into trouble for his "lack of vision." I sort of liked HW (more than his son, that's for damned sure), because I like competent administrators and technocrats in office, and that was a decent description of HW. It's not exactly leadership--that generally requires vision--but it's possible to have a leader with vision that's such an incompetent administrator that he runs his ship into an iceberg because he thinks it's unsinkable. (Oops, guess my vision had a few flaws. Sorry.)

Anyway, I sat down and did some work on my SF novel last night, A Plague of Stars, and I thought, "Whether this is good or not, whether it's publishable or not, my vision for this story is strong and clear."

I know exactly what I want this story to be (I don't know exactly what it IS, I'm finding out as I go along, but I know what I want it to be). I want it to be textured. I want it to be part adventure, part political thriller. I want the culture I'm writing about, primarily the Travoshians on Vatkan, to seem complex enough to be real. I want their religion and politics to be complicated and not one-note. One thing that often annoys me about SF, at least some of it, is how you've got a single planet with a single religion or political machine and there's no shades of gray in it. My experience with both politics and religion is that once you get more than one person involved, you get more than one version of the politics or religions. There's good guys and bad guys, nobody in between. I want a LOT of in between. I want to understand that even though these are bad guys, they're complicated; I want even the good guys to have some complexity to why they're doing what they're doing, to have some ambivalence about the path they're on. I want it to be fun--I want it to have enough action and adventure with battles and attacks and gee-whiz stuff in it to satisfy an SF geek, but have enough politics and anthropology and complexity to satisfy, well, me.

I have a vision for this book. And one of the reasons I'm bothering to write about it is because I think my vision for this book is more ambitious and complicated than some of my others. I hope that's a good thing. And I hope it will cross-pollinate to some of my other books, including the Derek Stillwater thrillers.

So. Do you have a vision?


Blogger Trace said...

I know what you're saying. I have a vision for my current wip, but for me the fear is that the result won't be anywhere near what the vision is. That's frustrating!

But it's fun to see what emerges, just the same. Sometimes it's better than what my vision originally was.

6:32 AM  

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