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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best creativity magazine in the UK“, author A.S. Mori writes about why he writes so as to not add to the noise and leave an impact, his writing process which utilizes habit and consistency, and how his writing stems from an original premise which writes itself.
Written by A.S. Mori
Throughout my life, I have mainly been a reader and consumer of media. This was particularly true of the science fiction and fantasy genres. I was an avid reader of Asimov and Tolkien. It was when I noticed that much of what is produced and promoted is what sells well, I started to see a need for original stories and premises.
Simply put, what sells well is not always good or even original. In fact, many publishers and writers tend to publish what they know. Why take a chance when what has been proven in the past is a safe bet? This approach by many producers creates a void in the stories that are out there in my opinion. I liked what I was seeing out there, but I also saw a need for certain kinds of stories that very few people seemed to be writing.
Even when I was young, I would arrive at stories with interesting premises that I did not see within fiction writing and film. I would note missed opportunities within published works and ask what would happen if certain things were tweaked, omitted, or added in from the very beginning. Originally, I thought that from within the many capable and talented writers out there, someone would eventually create stories that were similar to the ones in my head.
My reasoning for this was due to the idea that nothing was truly original which I now realize is a style of thinking that can hold one’s creative expression back. While I could have waited for someone else to arrive at a similar story with a similar premise or idea, what I realized was that if I wanted to see stories I wanted to be told, I would need to produce those stories myself. This was the original starting point.
Later on, I started to realize a more important truth which was that while you as an individual might be forgotten long after your death, if you are able to leave something behind that outlasts your existence, then your impact will not only outlast you, but may even outlast your descendants and the generations to come.
This fact and the simple wish to not simply exist in this moment and time, but to live on in another form in the future after my life has exhausted has been a driving force for my work. For readers of my first book Dreaming of a Hopeful Death, you may notice similar themes within its contents as well.
Writing and Publishing for the First Time: The Process
I actually wrote an entire manuscript when I was a teenager, but never went through with the steps needed to be taken for publication. I believe if I did, my life might be relatively different today. This is what motivated me to write Dreaming of a Hopeful Death. This time around, my goal was to create something original and get it out quickly. This meant that I needed to create a timeline and ensure that I met milestones on time.
But how do you know how long a story would be if you haven’t written it yet? This is where outlining comes in. I created an outline beforehand which roughly split the story into chapters. This ensured a few things:
- I knew how it began and how it ended
- I knew how much work needed to be done
- Given the contents of each chapter, I could also approximate the word count for a particular chapter and use that to calculate the approximate word count of the whole work.
By doing this, I would then be able to determine how many words I needed to write per day to meet my first draft deadline. Once I had my first draft, I would do the math and determine how many pages I would need to revise per day to meet my first revision deadline, second revision deadline, and so on.
Although some authors usually just budget their time, this process ensures that one is able to get into the habit of writing daily and consistently which is a good habit to get into if you plan to start something and finish it.
Coming Up With an Original Premise
So, I say that I write only original stories, but that is easier said than done. How does one even approach something like that? Well, to begin, if you want to know what is original, you need to have a decent grasp of what has already been written.
Generally speaking, if you want to be a decent writer, you need to be a prolific reader. It is through reading that you can build an idea of what is good and what is not as well as gain an opinion of what is missing from certain genres in terms of tropes and approaches. For example, Dreaming of a Hopeful Death was partially born from a certain level of disappointment after reading Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun which explored war and the dangers of it more than the existential implications of losing most of your senses and most of your free will.
I personally wanted to explore the existential angle and did so in Dreaming of a Hopeful Death. Similarly, when reading Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, I found myself asking how one can suffer even more than the characters in the book who were being tortured by the ruthless A.I. known as AM. This is where I came up with the idea that our worst suffering is self-inflicted, and this served as one of the ways in which I move the story in Dreaming of a Hopeful Death.
What you will notice is that while some DNA is being shared, by changing the approach and answering different questions, you will ultimately end up with a different kind of creature that has its own identity at a fundamental level. This is more than just changing how a character acts or a plot event. It’s more about what you are trying to do or answer by writing this book which was not done before, and how you will go about doing it.
Once the question is asked, you as an author will try to come up with answers, and those answers will likely differ from the sources which acted as inspiration. By arriving at those answers, you are effectively writing your novel. It is through this process in which a particular premise can write itself.
Writing can be both a punishing and rewarding experience depending on how you approach it. By starting with an original premise, you can allow for yourself to treat the writing of a book like a trek through uncharted lands where one may explore ideas and possibilities which stem from questions and concepts that others have not considered. You will be in unexplored territory from the moment you write your first word, and this is an exciting place to be.
Find More From A. S. Mori Now
Dreaming of a Hopeful Death is available on Amazon as an eBook, paperback, and hardcover.
To stay up to date with A. S. Mori, you can find him in the following:
Substack Newsletter: https://asmori.substack.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/author/B0BT78ZXKF/about
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/27282570.A_S_Mori
Bookbub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/a-s-mori
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