I'm fascinated with conspiracy theories. On a recent discussion forum that had digressed from the subject of blogging to internet conspiracies, I met up with suspense/action/thriller author R.D. Pittman. He told me about his new book trilogy and I became interested in what he was doing. I've invited Rick to Hijack This Blog to give us an introduction to his work.
My Writing Goals:
I consider myself more of a story-teller than some renowned author hoping to land that big publishing deal. If you visit my website http://www.rdpittman.com my biography tells it all. My goal in telling a story is to give the reader a pleasurable reading experience…I’m not trying to impress anyone. In the New Earth Trilogy I had a message to give to the American people…we take our freedoms for granted…we take this planet for granted…and we very often take each other for granted. I didn’t write it blatantly and shove it in the readers face, but on reflection the reader will stop and consider the story they’ve just read and realize we are all guilty of this.
For me the characters and the story/plot are closely linked. A weak character can dilute a good story and vice versa. Writing fiction is not like going to a movie, where a scene change can rescue a boring or poorly written script. I see it as critical for me to maintain the reader’s attention/interest from paragraph to paragraph. I view words as a tool. Edward Sapir, a semanticist was quoted as saying ‘Language is the mold of thought’, we choose words to convey our thoughts…I choose words to describe a character’s disposition, the world about, how the character interacts with the environment, and how the character reacts to other characters.
My son once asked me if I liked everything I wrote the first time around. I told him no, I compared myself to an artist with a palette of colors (words) to choose from. I use words to bring color (life) to a character and the story. As a writer, I end up throwing away a lot of canvas, because the colors (words) are not conveying to the reader what I want.
The best compliment a reader could give me about one of my books is what I’ve been hearing from people about the New Earth books. ‘I couldn’t put it down.’ or ‘I read the entire book over the weekend.’ I take that to mean I was able to keep their attention to the end…that’s what I strive for.
Writing is not a job to me it is a passion. Confucius said, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”
My Writing Approach:
The things I am most conscious of when I write is equal parts of the following:
- Insuring that the point of view is not confusing to the reader.
- That interior dialogue is not overused-- getting into the head of a character too often can be overdone.
- Avoiding the penchant to over explain something to the point it becomes insulting to the reader.
- Utilizing speaker attributes to add emotion to dialogue, or give the reader an insight into the speaker’s disposition.
- Interjecting a beat among a long string of dialogue to give the reader a break.
- Utilizing the paragraph as a tool to add emphasis and breaking up the thought process into more manageable parts for the reader.
I rewrote the first book in the New Earth series, Project O.N.E. four times. The second book, The Search for Justice, nine times, and the third, The Sedna/Kern Incident, seven times. Usually the last two rewrites are edits for grammar and punctuation.
Why should someone read my books?
If you’re tired of the vampire, werewolf, latest blood and guts cult massacre, and witches coven genres…same story different book cover, then I offer you a trilogy that has a sci-fi slant with a government cover-up, and many twists and turns along the way.
I enjoy disaster movies--Earthquake, Armageddon, Deep Impact, 2012-- but what you never see or ever read about is what is going on behind the scenes in these calamities. How are the people that may be affected by these events reacting? What are they doing to cope with the potential for annihilation? What is the government’s role in preparing the people for such an event? How desperate will the citizens become when a potential cataclysmic event becomes public? What kind of planning goes into a disaster survival plan?
My books have suspense and thriller type plots; about sacrifice, family values, and American heroes. If you like adventure, intrigue, and a good old fashioned story about conspiracy...then you should have a pleasurable reading experience.
I’m more about storytelling…not imparting some highbrow writing style. I believe that a reader should feel comfortable when reading a story and not be compelled to dash to the nearest dictionary to research the derivation of some nondescript word that is rarely used in everyday life. That’s how I write, for the reader, not the book critic or the various literary societies; I try and talk to a reader as if they were sitting next to me on a bench in the park on a sunny day. I’m not looking to impress the reader, but entertain them.
Fact vs Fiction?
I’ve watched a lot of disaster movies in my lifetime and I can always pick out something that’s just not physically possible in these types of movies…and they’re the big budget ones at that. The ‘B’ movies are sometimes laughable when they portray current day technology that simply doesn’t exist. A lot of my work is fact, built around a fictionalized story, time and/or place.
The New Earth trilogy required a tremendous amount of research; asteroid impact speeds, angle of descent, land and seabed displacement values on impact, temperature of heat surges, comet characteristics, mapping our galaxy with known comet tracks, tsunami measurements initially, then as they approach landfall. I used Google maps to determine an escape route through the Canadian Northwest for two Russian agents. I spoke to the Nellis AFB Public Affairs Office in Las Vegas to get air to air pilot jargon patterned. I visited every military website to determine mission imperatives, force strengths, munitions inventory, aircraft, tanks, artillery, ranks of enlisted and officers, base locations and what units were housed at those locations. The settings in this Trilogy change from California, to Washington D.C., to St. Petersburg, Russia…locations in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, South America, Vietnam and Central America needed research on streets, shopping malls, agriculture, rivers, nightlife, bars, and restaurants. That was some of the source material I used and I intertwined with my story.
I do this because it lends more credence to the story. Writing fiction gives all of us some latitude or license, as it’s sometimes referred to, in spinning our tales. But as I mentioned above, you can look pretty silly by making some outlandish statement that has no validity to it. If the reader senses that, you’ll lose some of their buy-in to the story.
My Next Project:
I expect my current project to be published either late this year or early next year, the first book of the two book set will be entitled;
Elena, the Black Widow—Beginnings
New Earth: Project O.N.E. - Get it at Amazon.com
New Earth: The Search for Justice - Get it at Amazon.com
New Earth: The Sedna/Kern Incident - Get it at Amazon.com
Description: New Earth: Project O.N.E. is a sci-fi thriller that asks "What if Armageddon was today?" First of a trilogy, and set in the year 2015, the New Earth series is about a government cover-up of an impending worldwide disaster involving almost every level of government, from FEMA and the CIA to the National Security Advisor! But as the story unfolds, the reader discovers that not everything is what it seems, and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.
Pen Name R.D. Pittman
Rick, his first name really is Rickard, spent most of his early youth on farms in the Parker County Texas area. It was there that he was exposed to the rich heritage of story-telling, prevalent in the social structure of small town Texas. Weekly trips from the farm to the nearby town square afforded him the opportunity to sit and listen in on old men telling their stories of hunting and fishing. Occasionally, he would be rewarded with a story about a distant relative that was a horse thief, or an Indian fighter, and on one occasion a Texas Ranger. In his youthful excitement listening to these men spin their tales of the old west and their colorful lives, he never questioned the voracity of the story teller nor thought to put much of a test to the credence of their facts. He was fascinated by the art of storytelling, how the storyteller would stop and look away for a moment, then spit tobacco as if it were an exclamation point. Raise an eyebrow to indicate skepticism, drop their head and lower their tone of voice to show sorrow or regret.
He suppressed his hidden desire to write for nearly thirty-five years, until he sat down in the summer of 2008 and began to write, working ten hours a day for several months he produced two novels, both in excess of one hundred thousand words. He spent the next three years revising the books. It wasn’t until 2011 that he engaged a professional editor to prepare the books for publication. His first efforts at storytelling produced a trilogy, New Earth: Project O.N.E., New Earth: The Search for Justice, and New Earth: The Sedna/Kern Incident.
Visit R. D. Pittman at his website: http://www.rdpittman.com/