Archive for March, 2010

The Value of Structure

March 29, 2010

I’m a dedicated, died-in-the-wool workaholic. I hate downtime, which makes writing the perfect past time for me. For a very long time it was just that: a way to privately work out the stories in my head. But this workaholic is not content with unproductive endeavors. I have so many ideas. Why waste time creating stories no one will ever read?

I’m not only a workaholic, but also a technician. When I first started writing with the intention of getting published, my primary critique of my own work was the lack of technical precision. Oh yeah, I could write a sentence as well as the next guy. However, a story is a collection of sentences that work together to carry the concept you want to project. Your reader should never notice the structure of words, sentences, and paragraphs that help you tell it.

If the story doesn’t flow smoothly from one sentence to the next, the reader must mentally pause to figure out where it is going. I’m not referring to the plot of the book, which should have twists and turns. A wonderful story, poorly written, will mentally exhaust the reader by repeatedly forcing her to stop and struggle to understand what is happening. When the reader gets tired of expending all that mental effort, she will put your book down and may never pick it up again. She may not know the exact reason for it, but believe me, if she doesn’t finish your first book, she won’t buy the second one.

And that would frustrate my workaholic brain no end.

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – Not Guilty as Charged.


V is for…

March 22, 2010

I find it exciting that the new hit Sci-Fi series V is back on the air March 30th. Though there has been some controversy over the critically acclaimed show, I find it invigorating, and not just because I also write science fiction. Top-notch directing presents a fast-paced story that keeps your eyes riveted on the screen. Even though I could pause the viewing at any time, I still waited until the commercials to get a snack or fill my water glass. That’s rare, even for most original TV series, and this is a remake of a series I saw almost twenty-years ago!

In a time when much of what you see on television is either over acted, or poorly written, or a shallow clone of some other series, it is refreshing to see someone can push the envelope while not going over the top.

My own book, Prison Earth – Not Guilty as Charged, uses the same fast-paced, multi-threaded storyline that keeps readers turning pages. Unlike V, my aliens don’t want to eat Earthlings, but instead mix their convicts into our population as part of a sophisticated rehabilitation process. Though the goal is to convert their criminals into good citizens, they don’t seem to realize or even care about its effect on the native population.

The excitement over the V series shows that there is still a large group of people hungry for well-crafted Sci-Fi drama and adventure stories. We who write in the genre are thrilled to see that.

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – Not Guilty as Charged

Wandering Through Past Lives

March 14, 2010

I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of past lives. Haven’t you ever met someone for the first time, yet felt like you’d known them your whole life? What are “natural” skills? Something you just have, or experience from another lifetime? I’ve written in a previous blog that as a child I always wanted to return to space. It was such a natural feeling I didn’t think twice about it. I have no memories of a former life as a space traveler, but that didn’t reduce the feeling that I’d been there before.

It is from this wonder and longing that my novel evolved. My best chance of returning to space is in my imagination, but in a generation or two some of our young people (and even a few older ones) will be given the chance to travel to other planets within our solar system. At some point along the way, a leap in propulsion technology might even propel us to nearby stars or beyond. Can you imagine flying close to the Orion Nebula, or seeing the remnants of the exploding star Eta Carinae without the aide of the Hubbell Space Telescope?

I’m thinking I’m not the only one who wants to return to space. Send me a note. If the aliens ever contact me, I’ll ask them if you can tag along.

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – Not Guilty as Charged

Orion Nebula

What beauty would we behold if we could travel through space?