Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Guest Post: The Story Behind My First Story #1

When a reader picks up a book, they see the finished product, that's it. But every story has a lot more to it, and I don't just mean the parts taken out to streamline the novel.

Here to share the story behind his first story is writer Andre Ford.

In his own words: "I enjoy life in the southeastern portion of the United States where I write a number of short stories and articles. The short stories I write for science fiction are loosely based on personal experiences that are then shaped and molded by my wild imagination. I also enjoy writing for a website that focuses on aviation. Doing interviews with the various people that frequent the site, and interviews for a magazine, prompted me to interview people around the world, from many walks of life, about various subjects. These interviews are collected on two sites; Lounge 1506 and the 1506 Virtual Spotlight. The latter is devoted to the game development industry and mod development. In the end, whether it’s for my sites or for science fiction, I simply enjoy writing."

Check out Lounge 1506 where Andre conducts his interviews, also on Facebook.

And now, here's the behind-the-scenes look at Andre's first story:

The story about my first is short … like my first story which for some reason was titled “Out of Gas.” It was written a year or two after the attack on the World Trade Centers and gas prices has started to sky rocket. My wild imagination did what it does best and took that current scenario and stretched it out far into the future one that eventually turned the United States of America into a wasteland. A land created not by nuclear fire but by greed and stupidity.

Oil barons and politicians have worked together and have virtually made impossible for the masses to function and made it to where the few two percent of the society that were billionaires and millionaires could still enjoy life. These aristocrats moved off to France. Why? Well that’s where the dart landed and I went with it. So the extreme rich people were in enjoying the fruits of their greed in France and the rest of the nation was reduced to nothing except for the fact three factions rose from the ashes.

No thought went into these factions and I’m really ashamed to admit what I called them, but here we go. I had Pedestrians, Riders, and Drivers. Pedestrians are a tribal society because they walk everywhere. Riders are a step up; they’re cowboys that use horses to get around. Lastly the Drivers; you guessed it, they have cars and they’re most advanced society. Drivers used alternative fuels that have been outlawed which makes Drivers scum in the eyes of the aristocrats.

My characters, a group of kids, from Dodge City were to go on a convoy to resupply another city. Then of course along the way a bunch of things happen and they eventually learned to not fear the Riders or Pedestrians; they’ve always been told these two lower factions would kill them on sight and want not. A typical story really the main characters have a change of heart and they learn to cope with those around them. Eventually their experiences help them become better people and to grow.

What killed my first story was inexperience. Info dumps consumed a large portion of the story. The rest or the story didn’t show a lot of things and it reads like a sterile report about something. There were no emotions that you could connect with. In addition to being poorly formatted it was also too predictable. If you’re thinking …this sounds like Fallout mixed with Mad Max you’d be right to do so. The Mad Max movies and Fallout games (Fallout 1 and 2 at the time) did have a huge impact on my first story.

So that is the short, silly, and embarrassing story about my first story “Out of Gas.” I thank Clippership for letting me write about it because I can see now how far I have come since then and I hope you enjoyed reading it just as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thank you for sharing, Andre! It's fascinating to see the other side of the writing process, the cutting room floor, or the "bloopers."

For readers: Do you have an anecdote or strong memory of trying to write your first story? I'd love to feature you on the blog. Contact me (see the sidebar) or share in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I think Andre hit the nail on the head when he attributed the failings of first novels to inexperience. I think you have to write stuff that's bad, because it's the only way to get to something good.

    And oh man, my first story was awful. Flat characters, derivative plot, forced dialogue...if any part of a story can be screwed up in any way, I think I did it.

    What's funny is that when I first stared writing, I was SURE I was super great. It was a tough, but necessary wake up call when I realized I sucked :)