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Don't Tell Me What to Think

Posted by estevennewby@yahoo.com on July 1, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The dark and empty corridors of the ringship Soraath are like blank pages, waiting for the first lines of the story to begin. I wrote the first draft of The Quantum Prisoner six months ago, but my creative process requires me to set the manuscript aside – out of sight, out of mind – so that I become detached from it. It’s my hope that when I finally look upon it again, I’ll be less inclined to mistaken the inherent gems scattered about with the periodic piles of locutious junk. The distance gained from half a year’s absence is a valuable gift indeed. Amidst what I believe to be an endearing adventure, I found a broken plotline, a plot-thread that doesn’t fit, several instances of under-developed character motives, a few places where the tension was improperly maintained, and a handful of inconsistencies with the first book, The Rogue Navigator.


I also set into motion the expectation that each book in the series follows a different viewpoint character. It was necessary to follow Amian throughout the first book so that we could see why she made the pivotal choice that she made at the end of the story. The second story is being told from Aldisado’s perspective. As the orphans get settled into their new living accommodations, it seemed most appropriate that the viewpoint character should be the child to whom all the others have been entrusted. It’s my hope that the transition isn’t abrupt. Amian is still very much a part of the story, but we will never see the world through her eyes again.


Beyond the mechanics of the story, I found places where I could strengthen the dialectic elements. Two of the big issues that the children face include the balance of power and trust, and the rights of the group verses the rights of the individual. The latter plays out in numerous ways: the clash of culture, and a trial to determine the fate of one of the orphans… As with The Rogue Navigator, my intention isn’t to raise the issue, debate it out between the characters and then present the “right” answer to my audience. There are far too many books and movies that do this, many with the best of intentions. There’s a derth of fiction that touch upon, say, environmental issues while simultaneously balancing the industrial needs of a society. How many books and movies talk only about the negative aspects of our penal system, without ever touching upon the components of it which are necessary?


Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-environment. And I’ve actually written quite a bit about prison reform (you can read some of it here). Simply put, I believe solidly positing my perspective would serve less a benefit than presenting the issues and encouraging people to formulate their own conclusions. I’ve always held greater appreciation for an informed, intelligent opponent than I have for someone who blindly believes in the same things that I do.


One of the things I greatly appreciated about Dan Bown’s latest novel, Inferno, was that it beautifully maintained the dialect of ideas surrounding population control. The characters conversed about the perspectives (when they weren’t running for their lives); they shared facts, opinions, emotions, but they did not conclusively decide for us. I never felt like Dan Brown was trying to convince me one way or another on the matter. That’s a delicate balance to maintain. It’s one I hope I achieved in The Rogue Navigator, and it’s one I hope to sustain throughout the series.


Categories: film & book

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