I’ve written a book. Is it the great American novel? No. Is it my best work? Well, it is my first book so there is nothing to compare it to. Frankly, as I am already working on my next novel I already know that On a Sphere’s Edge is not my best work, or it will not be. But I do believe it has entertainment value. It has some interesting insights and a fun twist.
On a Sphere’s Edge is a relatively light read. Certainly parts of it are a thick. The Preface, which must quickly move the reader from the present to the twenty-fourth century, is all at once thick and thin.
There are no hidden analogies in On a Sphere’s Edge. That does not mean that there aren’t any commentaries, just that what commentaries exist are not heavily veiled. That is how some stories should be, and what some readers want. Sometimes a simple sandwich is what we crave.
Why someone writes a book is easy. The author has a message. It may be light, it may be dark, it may be thick and convoluted, or it may be thin and straightforward. The message lends itself to some form of prose, and thus a book or anthology begins. Occasionally a book is written to obtain wealth or renown, but those are rare, and rarely successful. Oh, certainly Stephen King, Author Conan Dole, Isaac Azimov, and a host of others have been known to bang out a book to keep the funds coming in. But their first works, their primary works are the result of a drive to deliver a message.
How a person writes a book is a good bit harder to answer. On a Sphere’s Edge began as a Bulletin Board System (BBS) game which grew in my mind to become a full-fledged vision. The book I am currently writing began as a single sentence that popped unbidden in my mind. As I wrote it down, an unobserved message within me revealed itself. In short, it seems to have sprung from nowhere, though doubtless is evolves from my observations, surroundings, thoughts and opinions.
Writing is an interesting process. Sometimes you have to think your way from point A to point C, creating point B out of whole cloth. Sometimes that creation feels and reads contrived. Sometimes all points are already clear to the writer, it is the details they have to provide flesh to. Sometimes the story writes itself. Unrealized by the author, the story is already alive in both points and flesh. The author feels like little more than a reporter jotting down the notes.
Regardless of where the story comes from, writing is, itself, a craft. The story might be wonderful, but if the technical aspects of purveying the message are poorly done, the story may be missed or misunderstood. Reading is like looking at a painting. You examine the details in order to appreciate the whole. The brush strokes or other techniques should be as artful as the art itself. That, by the way, is really hard to do.
The message often drives the author headlong to the end. They have to get the message out. Not one book has been written that does not contain errors; a missed tense, a misspelled word, an accidental change of tone as the author feels different on day 400 than they did on day 4. Write and edit. Read, and reread, edit and shift, over and over. But eventually the author has to say, “Stop. It’s done.” And sure enough, while proofing a print, they slap their head and think, “Why did I put a comma there, and why didn’t I put a comma there?” The story, once written, is fixed. Authors get better over time.
So I’ve written my first book. I continue to write. I have another book in the works, and another on a backburner. I enjoy the process.