Writing for Astounding Frontiers #1

At least one review of Astounding Frontiers #1: Give Us Ten Minutes, And We’ll Give You a World, has noticed that I stole elements of my short, “According to Culture,” from a historical incident. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, I’m a historian.

As Jeffro Johnson, leader of the Pulp Revolution, noted, there are elements of the film Taken in there. It should shock no one, but the Taken element was the #1 thing I thought of when I sat down to write my short story. After all, how do you do Pulp, aside from action, and insane goodness? Kidnapping is an easy way to do it. The very nature of the crimes comes with an automatic clock, and if there’s one thing I learned growing up with Jack Bauer, is that a ticking clock makes everything better. Though I guess I could have killed someone’s puppy.

One of the first characters I had created in my writing career was Sean Patrick Ryan. For the lack of a better term, he is a space ranger. There’s a lot of background to my Rangers, but the short version is that they are much like those of Texas: their jurisdiction is wherever they are.

Since I’ve got whole volumes about Ranger Ryan on my computer (which eventually release one day), I knew he lived long enough to have kids. Let’s kidnap one!

A good start, but this is Pulp, right? Some dirty little slavers aren’t going to be that much of a problem. We go big, or we go home, right? How about an Empire? Can I get Ming the Merciless on speed dial? … Eh. Let’s go bigger. How about a 12ft tall, four armed gorilla? That’s more like it. Just to make things interesting, for a solution. single combat with the emperor. Steal some low gravity tactics from John Carter of Mars

It’s a start.

Originally, it ended there. On my second pass … Nah. This was too easy. I need to beat this Emperor up some more. A lot more. It’s not as bad as the 50 forms of boss battle at the end of a JPRG, but it escalates the threat.

That’s where the dragon comes in. Because I really like dragons. Who doesn’t?

But no spoilers.

To end where we began, about the historical anecdote slipping into the story, that was an ad lib. Mostly because I don’t outline books, or short stories. The last time I tried outlining a novel, I found it easier to just start writing the novel. Usually, I have scenes or images already in my head before I begin. But it was an anecdote I’ve always liked, and it just fit.

Anyway, take a look at Astounding Frontiers #1: Give Us Ten Minutes, And We’ll Give You a World today.


About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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