Why Do We Tell Stories?

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This week we see a guest post from John Sanders. He enlightens us on his journey of becoming a writer.

Once
upon a time, there lived a boy who dreamed of fighting dragons on a
far away planet.  He read every last book ever written about this
planet and loved the heroines of the stories.  Yes, there were also
heroes, but it was the women heroes that inspired him.

I
am John Sanders, and I write programs by day, to make big dangerous
machines behave, and write science and speculative fiction by night
to entertain.  I pay tribute to one of the greatest female authors I
have had the pleasure to have read during my youth and adult years,
Anne McCaffrey.  Her style of writing of character-driven stories has
formed the basis for my own style of writing.

She
is not the only author of course that has influenced me, to name only
a few.  There is; Robert Heinlein, Robert Saberhagen, Poul Anderson,
Larry Niven, Isaac Asimov, Harry Harrison, Philip K Dick, and so many
more.  Each of these masters of fiction has their part in my own
development of writing.

Twenty
years ago, I attended the University of Oklahoma where I earned a
double degree in Literature and Anthropology.  During that time in
school, I wrote much and submitted much for publication with a 100%
rejection rate.  My style was not contemporary with current fiction
styles.  My writer’s hand and muse went into hibernation.  Then one
day, two years ago this last September, I was reading a science
fiction saga, and I was put off by the author’s habit of diving off
into tangent stories during his actual story.  But I have to thank
that author, my life changed after reading his work.  I remember
clearly during the reading of the third book, thinking, “I can
write this story better than he can.”  This was both an epiphany in
my life and a new beginning.

Since
that day, I started to write my own stories, and it started with a
short story.  One I had written while in college. I had written a
26000-word story about a man trying to save a small sample of the
human race from extinction.  His name was Dominic, and he built a
supercomputer to build another supercomputer time machine.  Digging
this story out of a box that had been collecting dust for nearly 20
years, I reread this story.  It was a good story, and the professor
who critiqued it said as much and commented, there was a bigger story
in it.

Now
I mentioned before that Anne McCaffrey was one of my biggest
influences.  What I discovered in the story, I had written in college
was a character that I knew and understood.  Dominic, a man with a
past of pain, great sorrow, and a story to tell about loss, love,
death, friendship, and adventure.

Hardly
before I understood what was happening, the new story of Dominic
started flooding out of me.  Like a swollen man-made lake.  When the
dam burst and the story came flooding out in a rush, I did not sleep,
and when I did, the characters of my story were in my dreams.  I
understand how a good story should work, story arcs, plots, and all
that stuff.  But the story didn’t turn out the way that I had
envisioned or planned.  As my mind built the characters for this new
time travel and AI emergence story, the characters began to write the
story.  The time travel and survival story became the modus to the
real story, not the subject.  The real story that my characters wrote
was not just an emergence of artificial intelligence, but the very
soul and the relationship between the creator and his creation.

From
a small kernel came a trilogy.  Two years of nearly continuous
writing.  Time management turned out to be my success in writing
nearly 265,000 words.  I do a lot of traveling in my work and spend a
lot of nights in some hotel in some large or small far from home.
Before I started writing, I did what most of you do when you travel
for work, read and watch the tv in the room.  Now when I travel, I
write.  I write when I’m sitting in the airport, sitting on the
plane, or sitting in the hotel room.  When I’m not traveling, I
arrive at work typically two hours before I am supposed to start.  I
write in the early hours before my work day gets underway.  If I’m
in the office at lunch, I take lunch as my desk and of course, I
write.  At home, I wait till my boys are in bed, and the house is
quiet.  I work till my characters let me sleep.

Friends
of mine, have expressed their concerns of burn out.  I have heeded
their warnings, and I do take breaks.  But I’m obsessed with my
characters and they usually do not let me rest for too long.  I had
thought that when I finished Laira’s story that I would be done.
But from her, sprang a well of new characters and their stories.  I’m
nearly 52 years old, and my only regret is that I didn’t discover
my true love till I was halfway through life.  But that is life, and
one can’t be looking back and wishing for that which can’t be
changed.  After all, time travel to the past is impossible.

My
published work to this date is the Evolution series that are three
books, L.A.I.R.A. 1st Evolution, Rising, P.R.E.D.A.I. 2nd Evolution,
Transference, and the just released, Laira, 3rd Evolution, Quadary
Dreamstates.  All three are available from Amazon as Ebooks and
paperbacks.  I am currently working on two new books, as if working
on one wasn’t enough, that are in the same universe as the original
trilogy.  One book, The Caged, Nonna’s Story, occurs during and
after the Evolution series, and Nonna makes you first appearance in
the 3rd book.  The other book that I am working on at the same time
is Kaniko, Rights of Passage, which takes place more than ten years
after the original trilogy.  These two new works are available to
read as I write them on Wattpad under my Wattpad username of
Sandwolf5.  Here is the link, https://www.wattpad.com/user/sandwolf5.

Thank
you for the opportunity

John
Sanders

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