Fractured - a free sci-fi and fantasy novel

Posted on January 2, 2013 (Subscribe to Blog)

I have two writing projects for January 2013. One is to commence editing work on Chamber of Ghosts, which I've started and have already completed five chapters. The second project is to start writing Fractured. I'm a little ahead in that respect because I cheated and started a week ago!

Fractured is my first collaborative novel, written with author Brian Clopper. We've been discussing it since October via email and phone, and have slowly been putting together a chapter summary to use as a fairly rigid guide.

I've read a few collaborations over the years, but although the books may be conceived, planned and edited by two authors, it seems to me that they're actually written by just one. For instance, Piers Anthony and Robert E. Margroff wrote the Dragon's Gold series, but who wrote the initial draft? I always wondered how two authors can claim equal status with the actual writing of the novel. The Tunnels series is written by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, but it looks to me like Gordon wrote it and Williams did the illustrations, while both most likely planned the series and edited it.

Just to be different, Brian and I came up with a truly level playing field. We would write a novel that follows two distinct characters on a journey that culminates in them crossing paths. Each journey would parallel the other. So we would create our own individual stories and alternate the chapters throughout the novel. This means the authorship is truly equal.

Fractured mockup

I won't give away the plot, but we have two different worlds – one a futuristic sci-fi setting and the other a fantasy land full of spirits and creatures. I'm writing the sci-fi world, and my character is thrown into a situation that mirrors what's happening to Brian's. So while they're ultimately trying to achieve the same thing, their obstacles are wildly different.

The cover you see here is a mockup only. The finished cover will be different in the details but overall something along these lines. Our characters won't be bald. It's not two men but two 14-year-old boys. The mention of "one soul" is irrelevant. So there are things to change, but the finished version will look roughly like this.

The reader will see this as a traditional novel with Chapters 1-31 or thereabouts. My story will start at Chapter 1, Brian's at Chapter 2, and then I'll continue mine with Chapter 3, and so on, and Brian will end with Chapter 31. (The mathematically inclined among you will spot a flaw here. This is because there's a special chapter near the end where our characters cross paths, and that chapter is actually a joint effort where we alternate scenes, thereby tightening the to and fro between characters.)

I'll be really interested to learn whether readers will notice the difference in writing styles, and whether the difference will be interesting or off-putting. And whether one story will be more interesting than the other! There's no competitiveness here; we both want a single, solid novel with each thread working equally well, and of course we'll be proofreading and editing each other's work, which will help blend our styles.

As the month goes on, we'll both be blogging about our progress, especially as we intend to finish our halves by the end of January. This is a fairly short novel, and we're splitting the workload, so the first draft is going to fly by!

Look for publication around May, if not sooner. And this book will be available TOTALLY FREE for anyone who wants it. Apart from the complexities involved with splitting profits for sales, we just decided that this would be an interesting experiment and a good way to get both our names out there. There will be links to our other books in the afterword, so maybe readers of this free sci-fi/fantasy novel will want to pay a few bucks for some of our others.

More soon.

Comment by CANAAN FORD on Wednesday, January 2, 2013...

This sounds great! Can't wait for either of your new books!

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Wednesday, January 2, 2013...

Thanks, Canaan! And 2013 will see quite a few others too. QUINCY'S CURSE, maybe CALEB'S WORLD, plus the Island of Fog prequel, and also one or two others like SLEEP WRITER and FREQUENCY... (just throwing in some juicy teasers here).

Comment by BRIAN B. on Wednesday, January 2, 2013...

Sounds very interesting. I'm looking forward to spotting the different writing styles. Will there be a paper version?

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Wednesday, January 2, 2013...

I'm sure there will, Brian, just a small stock. Not sure we're going to have it available on Amazon, though. We'll see how it goes!

Comment by WIFEY on Wednesday, January 2, 2013...

Can't wait to read this! The concept sounds really interesting. I like the cover too!

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Wednesday, January 2, 2013...

Wifey, you MAY just get an early preview if you're really, really good. :-)

Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on Thursday, January 3, 2013...

Ah, nice post! Keith is exactly write about this book! It's a joy to work with such a talented writer! It appears our conspiring is bearing ripe fruit!

I just had to write a post on my site to go along with this one.

Your serve, Mr. Robinson!

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Thursday, January 3, 2013...

Ha! I have to assume you typed "Keith is exactly WRITE about this book" deliberately. Otherwise I'm going to have to rethink this collaboration lark. ;-)

Check out Brian's post here.

Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on Thursday, January 3, 2013...

Curses, done in by a homophone yet again! You're a worthy adversary, Robinson! Worthy indeed!

For my next book it will be similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books but will be called: Choose Your/You're Own Homophone.

Comment by RALPH CORDEROY on Friday, January 4, 2013...

Regarding alternating chapters showing the authors' alternative styles, will it be written in the first person? That may help remove any jarring or perhaps benefit from distinct authors. Not that I'm suggesting changing to it, just curious.

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Friday, January 4, 2013...

No, it's written in the usual third person. I honestly don't like writing in the first person, although you might be right in saying it could smooth out any problems. Two different characters would naturally have different first person narrative voices.

Comment by SARAH on Saturday, January 5, 2013...

Hi Keith,
I just had to let you know how much I Love the Island of Fog series!
I downloaded it in on all four of my families kindles and my husband who, has only ever read one book in his whole life is really enjoying it!
I just can not wait until Chamber of Ghosts is out !!!
I've told everyone I know about The Island of Fog series and ordered your books for our public library.
Thanks so much and I'm really looking forward to your future works!
Sarah Pagel

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Saturday, January 5, 2013...

Wow, thank you, Sarah! - for being a fan and for stopping by here. And for adding them to the public library, which is always a bonus. It's great to hear of a non-reader reading them too! :-)

Comment by RALPH CORDEROY on Sunday, January 6, 2013...

Though not an author I can imagine writing in the first person could feel as awkward as holding the quill in the wrong hand! I wonder if it fits a better style of narrative; the journal or logbook. H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines springs to mind.

Comment by RICH BULLOCK on Monday, January 14, 2013...

What an interesting endeavor! I've been asked a few times if I'd consider co-writing with someone, but haven't really looked into it. Thanks for the explanation of how you're going about the task. Sounds like you're pretty organized. I look forward to seeing it.

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Monday, January 14, 2013...

Definitely worth a try, Rich, if only for the experience! Mind you, I do think you need to find a like-minded co-author, someone who not only has similar tastes but who also gives and takes criticism where due. I've found, working with Brian, that if we have an issue, we just say it outright. No pussy-footing around, we just say it. And the other takes it on broad shoulders. Oh, and it helps to have a similar "writing speed" because it could get very frustrating otherwise. I hope I'm not slowing Brian down too much...! Good luck, and please drop me a line if you ever venture forth with a co-author. :-)

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