Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Where Do I Get My Ideas? - Guest Post by Eric Griffith

Today I have a guest:
Eric Griffith

First I'll tell you about his book Beta Test
(Don't you just love that cover?!)
Then Eric Griffith will tell you about where he gets his story ideas and he even has an excerpt from Beta Test for us.

Thanks for dropping by Eric!

Beta Test
by Eric Griffith

Sam Terra is having a bad week. He lost Molly, the woman he secretly loves, when she vanished before his eyes at the exact same time that ten percent of the inhabitants of Earth disappeared.

Naturally upset, Sam follows clues about the global vanishing with questionable help from his friends including a misanthropic co-worker and a childhood pal. When Molly reappears in the body of a man during a night of monster-laden devastation, Sam finally learns the truth. Not just about her, but about the planet Earth and the entire cosmos surrounding it.

What we consider mundane reality, others consider a game...and not a very good one. The whole thing is about to be shut down.


Where Do I Get My Ideas?

I'll answer this now, because apparently all fiction writers get asked this.

(Secretly I'm dying to be asked so I'll know I'm a real writer. So feel free. Please.)

The answers I've heard range from "Pougkeepsie" (Harlan Ellison) to "out of my head" (Neil Gaiman) to "from the skulls of small children." (I don't know who said that last one, maybe I dreamed it, but I like it.) My answer is, like most writers, "I have no idea." It's an answer Gaiman says people hate, and I know why they do: people want the magic bullet. They want to know how you can do something they admire, like tell a cool story, when really writing just looks so damn easy except for the ideas part. That's where they stumble.

The thing is, ideas are the easy part. The people who worry about their ideas being "stolen" and how do they copyright things immediately, they are the ones who probably won't write anything. They have a high opinion of themselves that hampers even the best idea. What you copyright and protect is the execution of the idea. And that is the story. If you don't write it down, you've got f&$k-all to worry about.

Ideas come any time, anywhere, sometimes you just need room to think. For example, not long ago, in the shower, I had almost an entire sequel proposal for my novel BETA TEST pop almost fully formed into my head. All I had going in was the term "multi-verse" stuck in my head. I walked out having nixed most of the "multi-verse" stuff when my brain gave me a different word to work with. All I had to do was get on the road in my think-meat and travel down it while I absently rubbed a bar of Irish Spring on my chest until it was little more than a bluish-green nub.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with it.

Write it? That sounds like MADNESS.


Excerpt from BETA TEST
By Eric Griffith

Sam didn’t bother calling her. He sprinted down the stairs, taking some two at a time, occasionally by accident, carefully gripping the inside railing at each landing to spin his large body to the next set of stairs. He concentrated on the steady rhythm of his sneakers slapping each step, preparing for the next spin, knowing one miscalculated stride, or worse, a trip, might prevent him from ever seeing Molly again. He knew that was true, deep in his deep gut.

It was a surprise when he almost ran right into her on the landing between the second and third floor.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Molly stood, arms crossed over her chest.

“I. . .” Sam had to huff a couple of times to catch his breath. “Worried . . . about you.”

She didn’t say anything for a moment, let her arms drop. “I know, big guy. Thanks.”

“Are you . . . quitting? Cuz if you are. . .” He wanted to say, I’ll go with you, but settled for, “Then I quit, too.”

“Oh, Sam.” She reached up and put a hand on his hairy jowl.

“This place wouldn’t be . . . right without you.”

“What’s right about it now?” Molly grinned.

“I mean it.”

“I know you mean it. That’s part of what makes it all so hard.”

“What’s hard? Quitting? Seemed pretty easy when you mushed Melvin’s face.”

“That part was just plain fun.” Her smile dropped and her face darkened. “I’m leaving, Sam.”

“The company?”

“Not only the company.”

“The industry?”

“Stop being dense,” Molly said.

Sam put a hand self-consciously on his abdomen.

“I’m leaving . . . the city. California. The country.”

“Why? How? When?”

“All great questions, Sammer. I’ll answer the last one and say, ‘soon.’” Molly looked again at the vintage Mickey Mouse watch on her wrist.

“You’re leaving for good?”

She didn’t say anything.

“Is someone coming to pick you up?” A boyfriend? She’d never mentioned one before. “Are you moving away with someone?” Sam didn’t even know he’d backed up, staggered really, until his back hit the wall of the grey stairwell, next to a coiled fire hose in a glassed-in cabinet.

“Sam.” She went to him, put her hand on his chest. “It’s nothing like that.”

Sam clasped her hand, his fingers swallowing hers whole. He leaned down and she stood on her tip toes. Their lips met in the middle. It was a kiss Sam wanted to last the rest of his lifetime.

It didn’t. Molly took back her hand and said, “I’m all out of time.”

“What are you talking about? Are you sick? I can help. I mean . . . I can take care of you.”

Molly bit her lip in a way he found utterly adorable. She wiped at her eye with a sleeve. “That, right there, is why I don’t want to go. But it’s out of my hands.” Another glance at the watch. “As it is, I’m breaking the biggest rule there is, letting you see this. But you know what? Fuck it. I don’t care.”

“What are you talking about? See what? You make it sound like you’re being forced out.”

Molly tapped the side of her nose a couple of times, and pointed at him, Charades-speak for, You got it, big guy.

She did something that really scared him—for a moment her eyes rolled into the back of her head. He thought she was having some kind of pre-predicted stroke. A moment later, she was fine. She said, “I left you something.”

“Left me what?”

She took another look at her watch. Perfect woman or not, that was starting to annoy him. But it was contagious. He looked at his own: 9:45am.

“Good-bye, Sam. Take care of yourself.” Molly turned away.

Sam moved to grab her arm, to hold her and not let her go. He touched her shirt for a split second and then—nothing.

She didn’t step. She didn’t jump. She never moved. There was no sound.

Molly flickered like a bad TV screen and ceased to exist.

Click here for the tour schedule.

Buy Beta Test in hardcover here
Buy the ebook here


Aurian said...

Okay, that was fun!

Eric Griffith said...

Thanks for having me! Hope some people get to take advantage of that $.99 price for ebook version.