Mon 04 February 2019

James Jackson - Introduction to Writing - Part 3

Posted by. James Jackson This article was posted in Next Gen Writers and tagged with TeamTerran, Introduction to Writing, Learning Writing, Novel Writing Process


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Introduction to Writing – Part Three: My Writing Process

This post introduces the audience to my writing process where I briefly explore my Research, Explicit Language and Sex Scenes, Actual Writing and Timeframe.


 TeamTerran with James Jackson ready for his speech at the MRA 2017 ConferenceResearch

I primarily write science fiction, and strongly feel that there must be science behind my fiction. Let me elaborate. We read of a person who is floating above the ground, levitating. In a fantasy story, it's magic, telekinesis. But in a science fiction story, there must be a reason. These reasons can vary from devices worn or used, to magnetic anomalies. Even if the science is inexplicable, identify it as such, otherwise consider, is the book truly science fiction, or is it fantasy?

Another area of research is in the world created. In my works, I refer to nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, enormous tankers, the space shuttles, and even an aging mobile artillery unit. I watched every episode I could on the evolution of the aircraft carrier, so that I could gain an understanding of how large they are becoming, and why! This was crucial in determining the size of the spacecraft in my series.

Please consider doing as much research as possible. Readers immerse themselves, and I for one don't want to stop them because I incorrectly describe something. But now, let me contradict myself. In my series, the vaunted and feared KGB, meets in Minsk, Russia! Well, Minsk is actually part of Belarus, but that's okay. A little innovation also helps to keep readers on their toes! Oh by the way, not a single reader has commented on this irregularity, but I am sure it will happen one day.


Explicit Language and Sex Scenes

I choose to not incorporate swear words or sex scenes into my work. My writing style is very 'PG', which is exactly where I want it to be. I would like anyone to be able to pick up my books, and be comfortable handing them to their children or younger siblings. This does not make me right, or wrong, it is simply my choice.


Actual Writing

Once my research is done, it is time to get those words down. After each particularly large section is written, I go back and review it. As a side note, I don't always write my books in the order that they are read! If I am inspired to describe a particular scene or section, then I take advantage of my focus, and get it down.

On occasion, I have woken from vivid dreams, and then written them down, no matter what book they are for. One of the best examples I can give is the opening of book five, Voknor Diaries. I woke early one day in 2012 and wrote the entire scene, while at the time I was still working on book two, Discovery. You can imagine my surprise, when in 2015 I saw my scene played out as the opener for the movie, Jurassic World. My first thought was, damn it! Then I smiled as I realized that obviously, my idea does make for a great opening for a story.

There was another time when I woke from a dream, hurried to my computer and frantically mashed away at the keys. I put down around 1500 words in forty minutes, a record. I will admit that it took me days to fix the mess.



 All in all, it takes from six to eight months for me to get a complete first draft written. These vary in size from 80,000 to 140,000 words. The shorter stories of 10,000 to 15,000 words take two to three months. It would seem I procrastinate a lot more with these!


This brings us to the end of Part Three!


Take it easy mates.

James Jackson