Sunday, October 02, 2005

Dreams of DUNE

Why I read what I read during the rough draft process, part 3.

I hadn't read the first book in Frank Herbert's DUNE series for a long time--I'm talking about 15 years here. Now, if you've been exposed to any of these hardcore Sci-Fi books, you know that this isn't a series that you can just jump right back into after an absence. In fact, all I really remembered about it were those stillsuits, a lot of desert with spice, and a thoroughly complex philosophy woven through the Herbert universe.

So what does this have to do with my Vampire Underground rough draft process? Here's the connection: When I first started writing the manuscript, I was afraid. I mean really, unnaturally, deeply afraid. It wasn't actually writer's block--it was pure fear of failing at a book that would be much longer and more complex than the norm for me (except for THE HUNTRESS and BAITED, which are Bombshells that required a lot of "hole filling" and plotting). Then a phrase popped into my head: "Fear is the mind killer." It was from DUNE, and it offered a lot of comfort, convincing me that fear was a waste of my energy--unless I could use the adrenaline to my advantage. What I mean by that is that fear can be the fuel to write with that scary sense of adventure, to try new things. So I went for it.

As I embarked on this new train of thought, I decided to rent the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries of DUNE. Immediately, I was thrown into its incredibly detailed scape. Inspired by the layers of world building, I decided to read DUNE MESSIAH and CHILDREN OF DUNE while I wrote my story--they reminded me that I needed to be using the same detailed layers in my own writing. And that reading served me well--even though my mind wouldn't shut up after I stopped writing for the day. There would be nights that I'd wake up five times to write down the plot twists and "hole filelrs" that were keeping me awake. Maddening. But the DUNE books pointed out to me that you can't create your own world without continually having to maintain it.

No comments: