Hey Indy Residents!
Are you interested in learning more about Speculative Fiction and supporting your local libraries? If so, IMCPL & Indiana Writers Center have collaborated to present IMCPL’s 2021 Summer Reading Program!
I will be teaching a Basics of Writing Speculative Fiction course at various library branches throughout the month of July!
Discover an Imaginary World through Speculative Fiction
Instructor: John F. Allen
Get ready to explore the fantastical in your writing. This introduction to writing speculative fiction will cover aspects of futurism, slip-stream, sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and horror stories. Learn how to plot, create settings and characters, and build an imaginary world.
See the schedule below:
Monday, July 19, 6:30-8:00 PM, Spades Park Branch
Saturday, July 24, 2:00-3:30 PM, Wayne Branch
Monday, July 26, 5:30-7:00 PM, East 38th Street Branch
Saturday, July 31, 1:00-2:30 PM, Southport Branch
Click the link below for other classes being offered!
Remember, The Best is Yet to Come!
John F. Allen Author Copyright ©2021
I’ll be in the Seventh Star Press section with my Indy author peeps R.J. Sullivan and Eric Garrison, selling The God Killers, my debut novel and Book I in a series and a NEW line of nail polish, brought to you by Akira Lacquer and inspired by characters from the novel. Most of the time you can find me in the Vendor’s Room and if not, I’ll be on a hand either moderating or sitting in on the following panels:
Friday 5:00 PM: The Big Reveal – Plot Twists are an important part of mystery writing. Ever wonder how to keep yours from sounding trite or goofy? Come talk to our experts about how they establish and reveal twists and turns in mystery settings without being corny. Moderator: Tony Acree Panelists: John F. Allen, Tommy Hancock, Christopher Kokoski.
Saturday 9:00 AM: The Evolution of Urban Fantasy – Panelists experienced in the growing Urban Fantasy genre talk about the evolution of the genre and how both their work and the work of their contemporaries fits into the grand scheme. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Missa Dixon, Addie J. King.
Saturday 12:00 PM: Paranormal Romance vs. Urban Fantasy (M) – A common misconception among readers is that Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance are the same thing. While this can be true, there are very distinct differences between the two. Our authors discuss those similarities and differences to help you distinguish between them. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Missa Dixon, Nicole Kurtz, Jettie Necole Angelia Sparrow, Pamela Turner.
Saturday 6:00 PM: Racial Lines in Romance (M) – Authors and editors discuss how to properly execute an interracial romance scene without being trite or offensive. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Maddie James, Annie Jones, Nicole Kurtz, Kimberly Richardson.
Sunday 11:00 AM: Urban Fantasy: The Gateway Genre – Let’s face it, Urban Fantasy is a huge trend and a growing portion of the Speculative Fiction realm. Our panelists discuss how the rise in Urban Fantasy has changed the sci-fi/fantasy landscape. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Marcia Colette, Allan Gilbreath, Nicole Kurtz, Tim Waggoner.
Sunday 12:00 PM: Pulp Fiction 101 (M) – What is Pulp Fiction? This panel will cover the history of pulp writing and how today’s trends differ from the stories that started it. Moderator: John F. Allen Panelists: Earl Dean, Andrea Judy, Sean Taylor.
I expect this to be a GREAT weekend and I hope to see some of you there. REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!
Inconjunction Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention 2014 is being held on the east side of Indianapolis, this Fourth of July weekend! It’s an awesome local event celebrating all things within the speculative fiction realms. This year I’m attending as part of the Speculative Fiction Guild (SFG) and we’re hitting the con in a big way.
We’ll have a vendor’s booth with all of our titles, where I’ll be selling and autographing copies of my debut novel, The God Killers. Convention pricing is $15.
Also at the SFG booth: RJ Sullivan, Matthew Barron and Eric Garrison. Directly next to us is SFG member Crystal Leflar, who’s running her OWN vendor booth as event marketer for Nightscape Press, so check out their array of titles along with her own books.
The WONDERFUL folks who throw Inconjunction (the Circle of Janus) has the SFG hopping in panels this year and we’re glad for it!
This will be my second appearance at Inconjunction, first time with a novel to sell/promote and I’M VERY EXCITED to attend!
Here’s my panel itinerary:
Friday, July 4th
8 pm–Grand Ballroom 7 and 8: Analyzing the History of the Comic Book Movie with: RJ Sullivan and Mike Suess.
Saturday, July 5
11 am–Indianapolis Ballroom D: SFG Writer’s Workshop: Point of View: Why it’s Better to Have One with: the SFG: RJ, Eric, Matt, and Crystal, plus Rosemary Laurey
1 pm–Room name coming: Discussion on genre television, title forthcoming: with RJ Sullivan.
3 pm–Indianapolis Ballroom D: Modern Fairy Tales with Eric Garrison, Crystal Leflar and Rosemary Laurey.
4 pm-Grand Ballroom 7-8: Making the Jump to a Series with RJ Sullivan and Mike Shepherd.
5pm-Grand Ballroom 7-8: Comic Book Movies: Live Action and Animation with RJ Sullivan and Mike Suess.
7 pm–Harrison Room: SFG Writer’s Roundtable: Making the most of local settings in genre fiction with The SFG: RJ, Eric, Matt, and Crystal.
10 pm–Grand Ballroom 7-8: Candlelight Horror Reading with RJ Sullivan, Crystal Leflar and Jeff Seymour.
Sunday, July 6
11 am-Indianapolis Ballroom B: This Year’s Comic Book Movies with Mike Suess.
I HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!
Welcome to Imaginarium 2014, a creative writing convention where ideas transcend reality!
I am excited and extremely proud to announce that coming to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky from September 19-21 of 2014 is, The Imaginarium!
This is a unique kind of convention offering a wealth of programming, events, and all kinds of fun for those who enjoy the world of creative writing!
Imaginarium 2014 is an event open to all genres, exploring all kinds of creative writing, from books, to comics/graphic novels, screenplays, blogging, and much more! Featuring 11 tracks loaded with panels and workshops, a film festival, gaming, an art show, costume contest, awards banquet, and much more, Imaginarium is the region’s premiere creative writing event.
Imaginarium 2014 will feature a powerful array of panelists and guests, including authors, editors, publishers, screenwriters, game designers, and much more. Guests will be added regularly to the site throughout the coming months.
The event offers great discounts for early registration and exhibiting in the vendor hall, so be sure to come aboard early!
Whether you are a an author, screenwriter, a reader, a movie enthusiast, or just enjoy the convention experience, Imaginarium is sure to be one of your “can’t-miss” events of the year!
To find out more about Imaginarium 2014, including registration and vendor tables at discount rates, visit www.entertheimaginarium.com
– See more at: http://seventhstarpress.blogspot.com/2013/10/imaginarium-2014-announced.html#sthash.GS033j6F.dpuf
This Saturday, October 12, 2013, the Mooresville Arts Partnership is re-launching Arts in the Park, an annual all day festival exhibiting and celebrating all aspects of art expression in the area. My good friend and fellow local author R.J. Sullivan has ask for “a little help from his friends” and gotten it from, dark fiction authors me, Matthew Barron, Nicole Cushing, and Crystal Leflar to instruct beginning-level writer’s workshops for all ages.
We’ll also hold an all-day raffle at our canopy for a “Spooky Book Bag” of our work–$1 per ticket gets you one chance to win a set of books valued at over $60without signatures–and the authors will sign and personalize each book on request.
This way, you can personalize a book for every horror reader on your gift list–or have all the books signed to you and keep them–we won’t tell.
To enter, find the Horror Authors Canopy. Raffle tickets are $1 each. Enter as often as you like. For each ticket you buy, we need your name and phone number (preferably a cell phone number you will be carrying with you at 5:30 that day, the time of the drawing) on the half you leave in the raffle.
- Everyone who participates in the writer workshops earns one free ticket for the raffle. Children must have the ticket filled out by a parent.
- 100% of all proceeds go to MAP.
- We’ll draw the winner following the 4 p.m. workshop, so some time after 5 p.m.
- All tickets will be discarded responsibly. Tickets are to contact the winner. The rest will be destroyed.
- Books will be “flat signed” unless the winner requests personalization. This will allow the authors to personalize books intended as gifts.
- Parents take note: The books in the raffle and at the vendor tent contain adult content. We’ll do our best to sell responsibly, but we’re not going to card, nor will we judge what you let your kid read.
The Spooky Book Bag in detail. Links take you to the Amazon page:
The God Killers by John F. Allen; Secular City Limits by Mattthew Barron; We Are Dust and Death to the Brothers Grimm, both with a story by Crystal Leflar; Haunting Obsessionby R.J. Sullivan–and maybe more! Plus bookmarks and other doodads.
These books and more can be purchased all day at the vendor tent! Authors will be around to sign all day.
PLEASE COME OUT THIS SATURDAY AND SUPPORT A GREAT EVENT WHILE HAVING FUN!!!
Mooresville Arts in the Park
All Day Arts Festival Saturday, October 12!
Pioneer Park–Link to directions and park website
Flash fiction workshops and product tent!
Preregistration preferred, walk-ins welcome
Website and Facebook
I’m very excited to announce an upcoming event taking place during the Arts in the Park festival at Pioneer Park on Saturday, October 12, 2013. Members of the local writing community and I will serve as instructors during a series of FREE community workshops on crafting thrilling fiction. We will be in the company of dozens of community artists and performers who will sing, dance, and display their unique talents and creations during this all-day festival.
Again, this event is FREE and open to the public.
Three one-hour sessions have been planned and are aimed at, but not limited to, late elementary school through high school aged-writers as well as adults who have recently caught the writing bug, who are also welcome. If you are interested in getting feedback from a professional author at ABSOLUTELY NO COST TO YOU, then you need to definitely attend. The local writers will have an instructor available to advise any beginner with a passion for writing thrilling tales of any genre.
Here is a listing of other attending authors:
The suggested format will be “flash fiction,” and the suggested theme will be “The Creature of Pioneer Park,” although writers are free to compose within their comfort zone. Writers can bring their own pens and paper or use the materials provided and/or they can bring their own laptops. Participants will spend the first half hour composing their work. During the last half hour, the authors will review the drafts and offer individualized instruction on how to best sharpen their writing skills. Writers may, alternatively, submit a pre-composed sample of their work for a critique (limit 1000 words).
Pre-registration is preferred, but walk-ins are welcome as long as we have the space.
I look forward to seeing you there!
FIVE THINGS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU BEGIN A CAREER AS A WRITER
Many people who aren’t writers or who aspire to one day write the “NEXT BEST THING” have absolutely no idea what a writing life entails. It is because of their skewed and/or misguided ideas on what being a writer is about that they often suffer from severe delusions of granduer. It is the intent of this particular post to dispell the erroneous notions many have about the writing life and what it means to be a writer.
I’ve had people actually ask me when I got my book deal, “So now that you’re published I suppose you’re going to quit your job and move to a big house in the hills?”
I was astonished at first…did they know something I didn’t? Don’t get me wrong, every writer wants to reap the rewards of their work, but extreme changes in lifestyle, affluence and riches are not in the cards for the vast majority of us. The fact is that only 1% or less of (fiction) writers are able to live off of the revenue generated from the sales of their writing endeavors. This is further compounded by the fact that an even smaller group of that meager 1% are well off, let alone wealthy.
Some folks think that all published writers own some measure of noteriety and I suppose that’s true to some extent. However, very rarely does it result in an easy, carefree lifestyle like the allusions created in the minds of those who don’t know any better. Even those wealthy writers like Stephen King, James Patterson, Danielle Steel or JK Rowling, didn’t get their rewards overnight. Sure, there are a miniscule number of virtually overnight success stories, but believe me when I say those are very far and few in between and it didn’t exactly happen overnight.
The following is a favorite quote of mine from best selling fantasy author RA Salvatore and it happens to be in my opinion the best advice for an aspiring writer to consider when contemplating a career as a writer.
There’s way too much pain in this business (writing) for anyone who doesn’t have to write. I always tell beginning writers, “If you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit, you’re a writer.”
~ R.A. Salvatore
Five questions to ask yourself before embarking on a career as a writer.
1) Do you like to write?
I know that this seems like a given, but surprisingly there are a number of people who don’t like to write and still aspire to do so. These folks may have an idea that they think is great (and it might just be), but have absolutely NO PASSION for the craft. While I’m not one to discourage anyone from their dreams and/or goals, I think that folks who answer no or even “not really” to this question, should think long and hard about perhaps finding something more fulfilling and rewarding to do with their lives.
2) Can you quit writing?
This question is very much tied to the Salvatore quote and is a very legitimate question to ask yourself before pursuing a writing career. If you can go days, weeks, months, years without writing or at least thinking about it, then perhaps you should find a more attention grabbing and fulfilling vocation. But if you can’t (and you answered yes to question #1), then by all means I encourage you to proceed.
3) Do you want to write because you want an easy, carefree lifestyle with wealth and adoration aplenty?
If you answer “yes” to this question, PLEASE don’t continue to pursue a career as a writer…YOU WILL BE VERY DISAPPOINTED! Again I will acknowledge those rare overnight success stories, but the odds of becoming one of those fortunate few are very slim to none. Even if that sort of success eventually finds you, that shouldn’t be what drives your writing. This is a prime example of those delusions of grandeur I mentioned earlier.
4) Are you a storyteller?
For a fiction writer, this is essential. If you aren’t a storyteller then regardless of what your answers to the above questions are, it is my opinon that you might want to find something else to do with your life. The very essence of fiction writing is to convey a story and if you don’t have stories to tell, then what’s the point? Many people enter into writing (or at least attempt to do so) and have not one story to tell. They’re under the impression that stringing a few sentences into paragraphs and putting together some dialogue constitutes a story. Well, the sobering truth is that it takes a lot more than that to make a story, let alone a good one. Stories generally start with an idea, but an idea alone does not a story make!
5) Can you write only when inspired or in the mood?
Some may argue that it’s still possible to be a writer who writes only when inspired to do so and I’d have to respectfully disagree. I can assure you that if I only wrote when inspired, I’d never finish a damned thing! Being a writer (especially a novelist) is about writing whether you’re inspired or in the mood, because deadlines are deadlines and the story WILL NOT write itself. The following quote from successful, best selling author Neil Gaiman, I think says it all.
“If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.
You …have to write when you’re not inspired. And you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you can’t remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you just wrote because they had to be written next.
The process of writing can be magical. Mostly it’s a process of putting one word after another.” ~ Neil Gaiman in conversation with Chris Hardwick. (via terribleminds)
In closing, I want it to be clear that in writing this post I am not attempting to dash the dreams and goals of new and aspiring writers. My intent is to merely dispell the very problematic and misguided ideals that some pepole pursuing a career as a writer might have. I’m the first to be very encouraging to new and aspiring writers, but please consider the questions I’ve posed and answer them truthfully before you devote yourself to the writing life.
© 2013 John F. Allen
I want to extend a hearty congratulations to my very good friend and fellow Seventh Star Press author, Eric Garrison on his latest novel, FOUR TIL LATE. Eric, as I write this, you’ve gotten your first shipment of print copies of FOUR ‘TIL LATE your novel. I know what a thrill it is to see ideas take solid form, but tell my readers, how do YOU REALLY feel?
Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, John!
It’s been a long road for this book. It was the one that started it all, my first novel, and yet now it’s my latest novel. It was a project done out of love and honor, as I wrote it the month after my writer uncle Chuck died in 2007. I didn’t know then that I’d be a published author a little over 5 years later, but opening that box to see the shiny trade paperbacks with gorgeous professional artwork, I felt a thrill of excitement and a burning rush of pride.
It”s been a long time coming, but this labor of love has been refined and updated and improved with editing and the experience of four other books written since then under my belt. I am PSYCHED.
I know a little about FOUR TIL LATE, but please let my readers know (in your words) what the novel is all about. I got a Supernatural meets Scooby Gang vibe. Would you agree with that assessment, or is there another more succinct description? What inspires your writing?
I think “Scooby-Doo meets Supernatural” isn’t too far off. I loved Scooby-Doo as a kid, and I am a huge fan of the Supernatural TV show today. FOUR ‘TIL LATE is a haunted road trip, as much a buddy story as it is a thriller. It stars an amateur ghost hunter named Brett who sets out on a fun trip to New Orleans with a couple of buddies, and along the way, he reignites a romance with his ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately, he isn’t able to leave his hobby behind, as supernatural warnings turn into much more dangerous encounters with the paranormal world.
When it comes to ghost stories and the supernatural in general, are you more of an adherent to classic spins or do you prefer the more modern takes? Which authors inspire you, particularly with this work?
You know, I wasn’t even intending to write a ghost story to start with. FOUR ‘TIL LATE is meant to be an urban / supernatural fantasy, and I had hoped to follow in the footsteps of Charles de Lint and Jim Butcher, who are my favorite authors in that genre. I think I ended up at least somewhere between the subtler magical realism of de Lint and the high-powered urban fantasy of the Dresden tales. But as the story unfolded, it DID become a ghost story, and I was shocked when another writer friend called it horror later. I didn’t set out to write a horror story, but I’ll admit, it’s got horror elements. So yeah, there’s more of a modern influence on my writing, but if you’ve ever read any of Fritz Leiber’s darker stories, you may see a strong influence for the supernatural forces in my books. He’s just got a sort of slow, steady, driving rhythm to his storytelling that I love, and I try to emulate that when I’m building tension or unfolding the stranger parts of the story for the reader.
Is it true you’re an actual ghost hunter? Please briefly tell us one of your favorite exploits and how this undertaking effects/enhances your writing?
It’s true! My wife and I joined the Indiana Ghost Trackers in 2003. I went expecting a bunch of attention-seeking lunatics, but instead found a group of intelligent, curious, friendly people who had a sense of adventure. We both got very interested in ghost hunting and the paranormal in general and became officers in the club. Being one of the biggest skeptics in the group, I asked a lot of questions and did a lot of experimenting with equipment and analyzed evidence more closely than a lot of folks, and ended up as Trainer for both the Indy and Lafayette chapters. We left the group on 2010, but are still friends with the organization’s president and the folks we knew in our time there.
Exploits… Well, nothing specific comes up in FOUR ‘TIL LATE, but I can tell you I have some fairly accurate retellings of some ghost hunts in the third ROAD GHOSTS book, ME AND THE DEVIL, which will be coming out through Seventh Star Press later this year or early next year. Let’s see, one time, we investigated Hannah House, a notoriously haunted mansion on Indy’s South Side (where you and I will be appearing as part of the Paranormal Meet & Greet on August 10th!). We were in the basement, voice recorders running, being given a tour among dusty, 150 year old jars of canned fruit and other bric a brac. One of our guides said “Isn’t this where you got that ‘find me’?” And when qurstioned, they said they’d been there before with recorders and had gotten an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) that said, “find me”, when they played it back. So when Amy and I got home, we played back OUR recording, and something freaky happened. About 10 seconds *before* our guide mentioned what the voice had said before, a voice played on our recording, also whispering, “find me!”
What do you hope readers take away from FOUR TIL LATE? What did you take away from it as an author?
FOUR ‘TIL LATE isn’t just a ghost story, it’s also about friendship and love overcoming demons of the past that come back to haunt you. I hope readers come away feeling like they’ve just had an adventure with a bunch of great friends, and that the characters are people they’d like to spend time with again and again.
I wrote two more books after writing this one, SINKING DOWN and ME AND THE DEVIL. I guess it shows how much I wanted to spend more time with these people that I kept coming back to them.
You’ve completed five novels and and this is your first publication with Seventh Star Press. Please tell us what the experience has been like for you? Share some details of your writer’s journey.
It was FOUR ‘TIL LATE that kicked everything off, so it’s both my first and also my latest novel in a way. I’ve come full circle, having written 3 other urban fantasy novels and a science fiction novel. I started out by self-publishing my work, then I fell in with a critique group that helped open my eyes to the craft of writing, to things I didn’t see in my own writing that I learned to improve on. I was invited to join the Indiana Horror Writers, and that’s helped me see the publishing world beyond writing. My fifth novel, Reality Check, was written with the goal of publication in mind, and was the first to go through beta readers and rewriting and polishing. Hydra Publications took a chance on me and that book went through another couple of rounds with a professional editor. It was then that Seventh Star Press said yes to my pitch to have the ROAD GHOSTS novels revamped and done up properly to get it in front of a wider audience.
I think it’d be best to describe my career growth as an author described as incremental. Ever since I started, it was always about going a few steps more outside my comfort zone, to do something new and bigger, to stretch my boundaries.
This is going to be a crazy busy summer for us, appearing all around. What event do you look forward to the most?
You know, I had to be talked into Fandom Fest, but the more I hear about it and the closer it gets, the more excited I get about it. Rumor has it that the Seventh Star Press booth is going to be next door to a VERY major personality that has all of us excited. I’m looking forward to the fantastic writing track that’s being run by our own Stephen Zimmer. I’ll be seeing a big bunch of authors I normally only talk to online. It’s going to be big, really big, and I just asked for Monday off as well since I can feel in my gut that I’m going to need a day to recuperate.
What is the background of the series? What other novels are planned for this series and when can we expect them out?
ROAD GHOSTS started as a single book. But the summer after I wrote it, I had a dream about a little ghoul being found by Brett and Liz, and I woke up laughing at the image of the couple taking the ghoul to a McDonald’s dumpster to feed. I tried to write a short story about that, but it demanded to be more, and that became the first chapter in SINKING DOWN, the sequel. That book is in editing right now, and I hope to have it out this fall. Since I had two books, and since I had some loose ends, I decided to make it a trilogy and wrote ME AND THE DEVIL, which I hope to have out this winter. One of the characters in SINKING DOWN was too funny not to write more about, so I wrote a spinoff called BLUE SPIRIT, which is the story of Skye MacLeod, who sees fairies when she’s had a couple of drinks. Dark, Grimm-style fairies, not Tinkerbell. So, she spends most of that book tipsy, trying to save her vampire-gaming friends from very real danger. That’s going to be a second trilogy, probably called TIPSY FAIRY TALES, and those will be released next year sometime (I still have two to write).
I appreciate this opportunity to speak with you on your latest novel, Eric. I wish you long lasting and continued success in your writing career. REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!
Thanks, John, I wish you the best too, and can’t wait to start reading my copy of THE GOD KILLERS!
To my readers, go pick up your copy of Four Til Late at the following link!
When I was a child, my grandmother told me one day, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” At first I didn’t understand what she meant. Later, as I got a little older I refused to believe her, and was determined to prove her wrong. Finally, when I began focusing on my career as a writer, I accepted her nugget of knowledge as fact, and learned to embrace it for the truth it is. However, if the above observation is true, then what makes any story different from the next?
LIFE EXPERIENCE, IMAGINATION, VOICE AND STYLE.
As most fiction writers will agree, we are products of our environment and individual life experiences and therefore, it stands to reason that many of the seeds for our story plots originate from said life experiences. This can be from what we’ve dealt with on a personal level, what we’ve heard from others, or seen around us including—but, certainly not limited to—what we’ve watched on television, read in books or learned in school. These personal life experiences give our stories a unique flavor which cannot be exactly cloned due to the intricate variables in our individual lives.
I believe that there is a collective consciousness which extends to us all, as we tap into our imaginations and creativeness. We must also accept the fact that the possibilities for formulating scenarios involving larger than life creatures, myths, epic heroes and monsters is finite, just as our voices and styles are infinite. As writers, we sometimes find in the course of plotting a story that we read stories from someone else who came up with very similar ideas for their already published work(s). It is because of this, I continue to work against the truth stated in the title of this post, in order to produce unique stories. I feel in doing this, I can delve deeper into the recesses of my imagination, creativity and life experiences to produce my very own individual story. It is here that we begin to use our imagination to find a variation of the themes we draw from our life experiences and formulate creatively new and exciting takes on tried and true scenarios and themes. It is then that we brand our stories with distinctive twists and turns and imbue it with our own individual spirits and personalities.
As a writer, I’m constantly thinking up new story ideas and using my voice and style to tell the stories. All writers have their own unique voice and style, which separates them from other writers. When it comes to certain elements of storytelling, there are no new ideas. Often, writers of genre fiction ultimately come across elements in another author’s work that closely resembles their own. While this is a common phenomenon, it doesn’t mean that we can’t separate ourselves from other storytellers using similar scenarios and/or themes; it merely means we must work all the more harder at imparting our own essence into our work in order to make it exclusive to us.
Just as there are finite possibilities in regards to scenarios and themes, there is again something to be said for voice and style. I’ve read books that had such similar plots that if you broke it down to the bare essentials it could be the same book. However, what separated the books was the differences in how the authors delivered the story, developed the characters, and the language used to breathe life into the personalities of the characters. How we tell a story, and how much of ourselves we put into our works, is what sets us apart from other writers with similar ideas and themes.
Always remember the old Vulcan axiom from the Star Trek series, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (IDIC), the philosophy which celebrates the vast array of possibilities and variables in the known universe. And while there are finite themes when stripped down to their essential cores, when we take into consideration the life experiences, imagination, voice and style of the storyteller, the possibilities are indeed infinite and quite fascinating.
© 2013 John F. Allen