Posts Tagged ‘genetics’

Two weeks ago I brought up several stories which I call my favorites, and that naturally brought me to the idea of influence. You hear the phrases bandied about often by any creative types–“I consider such-and-such my greatest influence”, as in “As a composer, I find Mozart and John Williams to be my greatest influences” for an example, or directors cite earlier movies that formed their interest in the silver screen.

Certainly, as a writer, I count many, many authors and stories among my influences. All writers generally do–after all, that initial exposure to tales that transport us to other worlds or realities far from our own personal experiences engender the desire in some readers to craft our own. Fredrik Pohl, Harlan Ellison, Harry Harrison, John Haldeman, Doyle, Tolkien, Lewis, Shakespeare etc. all count high on my list of literary inspirations.

But… what about other influences, such as music? Take my first example, with music above. I frequently listen to music while writing, matching the mood/tone with whatever I am trying to write. Umbra (and all of its previous iterations) came flying from my fingertips with an ample dose of Alice in Chains, early Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden pounding in my ears. For my darker fantasy stories like “The Falconer and the Wolf“, one of my favorite bands to get me in the right atmosphere is Dead Can Dance. When sketching notes for The Light of Liberty, I turned to Barry Phillips and his version of “The World Turned Upside Down” along with other American Colonial period tunes.

Are there any more? Of course there are. Many people have incorporated their likes and hobbies into their writing. Some cozy mysteries, for example, are based around knitting. My character Ennid the Havoc and his escapades are influenced by my love of MMA (that’s Mixed Martial Arts for those not yet initiated into its primal awesomeness). My interest in genetics features heavily in Clones are People Two. Even if the things we like aren’t at the forfront, we sometimes insert it in small ways. I love goats (Casey, from Umbra), I think rhinos are awesome and I smith silver (both of which will appear in The Opal Necklace, release date TBD) and I’ve an interest in raptors and falconry.

It’s all very simple–EVERYTHING can be an influence on our creativity, and EVERYTHING should be. It’s from these somewhat disparate ideas and influences that some of our richest “juices” flow.



Clones are People Two

The story of a story being born.

I’ve had a few fits and starts with this story, just like I had for Ennid the Havoc.  You can read about the case of the latter, if so inclined, here. But with the clones story…

I never intentionally got into the idea of clones.  Way back in college, during a biology lab, we took a different approach in that classroom and set up a debate for the ethics surrounding the hot biological topics of the day, including cloning.  I ended up assigned to the pro-cloning side (I didn’t have a choice) but I can’t recall what points I brought up at the time (give me a break, I’m an old woman!) Dolly was still a hot topic, and her birth and subsequent death made for rampant debate.  As for my thoughts on cloning, I’m going to take the road I always take on things like this: Cloning is a tool which can be used or abused, just like cars or firearms or donuts (you know, chocolate-covered ones with the jimmies). It has nothing to do with the item/process itself, and everything to do with the user.  Can cloning be abused? Absolutely. I address that in Clones Are People Two, as one of the underlying themes.  Should it be outlawed?  Not necessarily.  Feminazis would be ecstatic to support it, especially because it would mean that men could become redundant (personally, I REALLY love men, and wouldn’t want to see them phased out) as Dolly’s birth proved you didn’t need sperm to propagate.  It took three mothers, though, if that means anything, one for the nucleus, one for the cells (taken from mammary glands, and the reason Dolly is named Dolly. Read the wiki) and one to carry her and give birth. Should we be cloning left and right without further consideration?  Of course not.  No science should be employed irresponsibly.

But what does this have to do with story?

Well, for one, the topic is OLD (imagine me stating that with my most obnoxious teenage voice talking about someone who is in their early twenties). Possibly everything to do with cloning and the debates about cloning has been done, right?

Not necessarily.

A few years ago I sat in a house empty of almost everything except a wondrous silence, a notebook and a pen.  I don’t know why I began to write about the man who would be Aaron Maxwell Seven-Miller, but I knocked out the entire outline and fleshed out some of the points I wanted to make.  Then, I set it aside.  Would this be interesting enough to anyone?  Probably not, I thought.

Then, one evening, I saw this amazing movie* that just ripped my heart out of my chest and stomped on it and tried to glue it back together and sew my chest shut in several glorious hours.  And one theme was one of identity, who we are, products of fate, of circumstance, of genetics?  The “successful” characters are not simply tied to their destinies, to the “flow” but they are active participants in their own change as human beings.  It answered the nagging question I had of whether or not my own ideas possessed any relevance. Best of all, this story had CLONES undergoing some of the same treatment (except for the last big thing, which I won’t mention here and spoil the movie/novel for you).  My story takes a look at the interrelationship between the clones themselves, as well as the clones with humans.  There will be a few of you who pick up on the discrimination themes as well.

We are always struggling with identity, building character.  We are always given the choice in life to embrace the circumstances and use it as an excuse to stagnate and be victimized, or to crawl out of the hole and become more than the sum of the parts we are handed.  Nor should we immediately judge someone on such a simple basis as their genetics.  Take time to explore their character before you dismiss them on appearances (and just remember, assholes come in all shapes, colors and sizes, too).

And so, Clones Are People Two will be available on Smashwords and Amazon on Halloween (that’s 31 OCT 2014), and most other venues shortly after.

* based on the novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell