The Vinctalin Legacy: Survival, Book 1 Harvest by Vanda Denton
Any other authors out there re-reading their earlier work?
I wrote my first book after I’d watched Star Trek and Stargate so many times I could quote the scripts. At that time I could find nothing comparable to take their place. So I began writing my own very different tale. Unlike my favourite TV shows The Vinctalin Legacy Book 1 is an alien invasion story. I had no plans then, that it would be the first in a fifteen-part series. I’d love to hear from anyone else, any genre, who unintentionally began writing a long series of books.
They awake to the grisly sight of alien invaders silently, methodically collecting the bodies of their victims.
When forced into a life of slavery three desperate heroes stand out as leaders.
With courage, determination and ingenuity they launch a daring counter-attack and against all the odds, emerge victorious, only to discover their masters also were in bondage.
An overview of the fifteen-part series is written in logs by the characters, on this website. There are no spoilers.
Ever wondered where this term comes from?
Generally meaning a complete mess and specifically the place where animals are slaughtered, shambles originated in towns with overhanging shelves on the outside of buildings, where butchers hung their meat. The literal meaning is ‘flesh-shelves’. There are many streets in old English towns named The Shambles because they were the homes of the butchers. In those areas there would, at times, be blood and guts running in the street as a result of their work.
Women’s rights in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and The War on Women by Sue Lloyd Roberts
Almost every line in the former’s beautiful and extraordinary work is quotable. Atwood has skilfully applied the concept of ‘unwoman’. And now having also read Sue Lloyd Roberts’ The War on Women I am further developing the knowledge I applied when I wrote The Smile, which incidentally was before reading either of the above. In fact, I sought out books such as these because of the interest I developed whilst researching for The Smile. My research then mostly involved current accounts in the news and in TV documentaries. To some extent the more I discovered the more shocked I became, yet only a little was as graphic as Sue Lloyd Roberts’ first-hand journalistic accounts. I’m sorry to say my imagination came close. And I’m glad to say I avoided anything that could be dismissed as sensationalism.
I’m having fun with multiple narration:
In Following Meltdown the protagonist and chief narrator is a survival expert who leads a small group out of an increasingly anarchic, dystopian urban environment into the wild countryside where they can become trappers and collectors.
He unwittingly brings them into contact with an unreliable character, also a narrator, who once lived on the fringes of a secret cultus with followers from the super-rich of modern-day society, led by one who believes himself to be greater than human.
Another narrator, an inadequate though loving father, unable to provide for his family views the man who is saving them through eyes of bitterness and jealousy. His son’s narrative opens the story with a violent scene in which his teacher is being killed by his disturbed classmates, while his daughter’s narrative expresses her reasons for falling prey to the dangerous character brought into their group. She is psychologically oblivious of the torture she inflicts on the person she feels to have failed her most grievously.
I wrote The Smile before reading The War on Women and I’m very glad it was not the other way around. Had I read Sue Lloyd Roberts book first I’d have been so outraged by the modern reality that details I chose to omit could have been included as an attempt to give voice to the unheard. I chose not to describe some appalling facts for fear of being accused of sensationalism and the exploitation of victims through the gratuitous inclusion of extreme sex and violence. I planned my story as literary fiction, designed to concentrate on the psychology of a misogynistic society. I wanted to consider how the legitimisation process can have half of the population within it viewing themselves as worthless and how an enslaved group will turn on one another rather than their oppressors.
A quote from The Smile
My sisters tried to fight him off. We all shouted for Abrin but other strangers in black pushed my sisters back as I tried desperately to keep a grip of their hands. Someone yanked my arms up and a big rope loop was pulled down around me. The man who had drawn me shamefully close to him, fastened something on it above my breasts. I cried with shame because a man who wasn’t my husband was touching me. I looked to the man’s face, trying to judge his emotions. They seemed blank. Not the kind of blank that precedes rage but the kind of blank that accompanies cool concentration. Yet, how could I know what expression a man might wear when he was about to carry out a diabolical assault?
A narrator suffering from a condition such as Alzheimer’s Disease might provide a valid, though unreliable narrative. I would consider using this if I wanted my narrator to fail to recall a crime s/he committed or perhaps an unpleasant act that resulted in damaging, long-term consequences. Then again, the narrator might not yet have been diagnosed and false ideas could be expounded by a narrator trying not to appear ‘mad’, or in a detective story fail to report something vital to the police. Because this state of mind is often not consistent, the author might choose to create a narrator who deliberately shows forgetfulness over, say, past actions they wish to keep secret, whilst also actually forgetting some truths shown to the reader by another narrator or in a prologue, for example. The excuse of loss of memory could result in the narrator lying to the reader. This is an example of the device that I would like to experiment with.
The unreliable narrator is a device that draws the reader into the story by having them question the trustworthiness of the narrator’s account. Paula Hawkins makes use of this style in her chart-topping novel, now also a film, The Girl on the Train. Rachel, the chief narrator, has problems, including a reliance on alcohol. This causes her difficulties with her memory and so she can’t be certain of the truth of what she writes. No spoilers, but I felt to fully understand the reasons for her state of mind, by the end of the book. In reality this would have been far more complex than Hawkins expresses throughout the main text. Interestingly, The Girl on the Train is also presented in a multi-narrative format. My interest also grew when I found myself questioning the reliability of her ex-husband’s new partner’s account. I’m not going to say anything about the third narrator but if you haven’t yet read the book, even if you’ve watched the film, I recommend it for light entertainment.
Only two more manuscripts to update now. Also two new back cover copies to write. Then updating this website. All on schedule. Brilliant! Many thanks to may great husband, technical adviser and occasional co-author.
This is a post about writing books