• Mark Meier

Linda and I “attended” a conference (virtually) this weekend, and I think it went well. For those who don’t read my FB page, I posted that it’s a good thing I’m pathologically early.

I was under the impression my one-on-one would begin at 2:10, and when I showed up at 2:03, I was thrown right in with my industry professional. But that’s beside the point, which is how it went and what I was able to glean from the experience.

As with other conferences, there’s a lot of information. Much of I won’t have access to for another week. That’s okay. As long as I’m motivated enough to actually get to the recorded sessions there will be a lot to absorb.

During my one-on-one, I was told The Brotherhood was obviously done by someone who knew how to write. The trouble is the story is told in a non-standard way, which will make it difficult to get interest by agents or editors. If I were a total newbie that would concern me.

New writers frequently experiment with non-standard storytelling. The issue comes in when there’s no particular reason to have that voice. “I just wanted to do something different” isn’t sufficient reason to have run-on sentences with no punctuation or paragraphing. It’s simply hard to read, and if there’s no compelling purpose to doing that it’s just annoying.

The Brotherhood, on the other hand, is told by “the bad guy,” and narrated as if to “the good guy.” The reason for that storytelling method is to have the reader more easily identify with the protagonist, and to enhance the “creepy” factor of also being inside the head of the antagonist - to think what he’s thinking, and know what he knows.

That’s going to make it hard to get industry professionals interested. After all, my name isn’t Stephen King. And while I’m not exactly a total beginner, I’m not very well known. King could write what I did and nobody would flinch at reading it.

But as I mentioned, I’m not Stephen King.

My name is Mark Meier and I wrote The Brotherhood. If I must, I will self publish.

I believe in this project that much.

I’ll keep you updated as things unfold.

OH! I almost forgot!

Based on a recommendation I submitted to another agent today.

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  • Mark Meier

The answer to that is simple. I enjoy it. There’s a thrill to creating universes, crafting characters, and having others enjoy the fruits of my efforts. But the issue goes far deeper.

Why do I write what I write?

Though the answer is simple, it has levels of complexity. The simple answer to that is because nobody else is writing the stories I want to read.

I grew up watching science fiction television and movies. There was a certain optimism in the shows I watched, and I liked that. There’s a bright future where mankind is exploring the galaxy (or universe), and the people overcame the obstacles in their way. In short, the good guy won. Most of the time, anyway. Hence Ebony Sea.

As I dug deeper into my faith, I discovered there’s a simplistic attitude most people have in their own faith life. That’s where The Brotherhood comes from. Regardless of a person’s belief structure, I found few people actually ponder what and why they believe those things.

“But Mark, I thought you liked the optimism. Why is The Brotherhood so dark?”

Because few people (Christian or not) spend any effort pondering why things happen the way they happen. There are forces which toy with people for the sheer fun. There are other forces (principalities and powers) working actively to destroy humanity - not just in a physical sense, but the spirits and souls as well.

Too many people see preachers who at the very least imply that if you turn your life over to Jesus then everything will be sunshine and lollipops. That’s not what the Bible teaches, so I have to put that truth into The Brotherhood. That’s why the chief protagonist has so many horrible things happen. Her boyfriend dies of a massive coronary, friends (and their friends and relatives) die horrible deaths, and then the plane she’s in crashes.

Bad things happen to everyone. Most of the time people wonder, “Why did that happen to me?” Or maybe it’s happened to a loved-one. The Brotherhood explores the reasons, and challenges the reader to consider their own choices and what they mean to the broader scope of humanity.

As of now I’m planning so many writing projects it boggles my mind. Will I live long enough to finish them all? Probably not.

I will, however, live long enough to accomplish God’s will for my life.

THAT is the real reason I write what I write.

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  • Mark Meier

When I first published Ebony Sea: Origins (was it five years ago already? YEESH!) I was quite proud of how few errors were in it. Then my grandma found one.

Here’s the story:

I was showing off my proof copy - the only copy I had, and she grabbed it. “Thanks, Mark. I’ll read through it.” I though, "My only copy!" But she's grandma, so I let her have it. A week later I got the book back with a bookmark and note that went something like this: “You have a ‘downing man,’ and I think you mean a ‘drowning man.’” Yep. And that version had already gone to print. It was updated since.

So I was pretty confident that I had a clean book. Until I started reading through it again earlier this month.

I’ve found at least three dropped words, a few more spelling errors, and sloppy writing. I’m going through it again to do some more correcting of those issues. I’m hoping my publisher will allow a new version to be uploaded. There are ISBN issues, and it might not be allowable. We’ll see this weekend.

This effort to go through ES again is to familiarize myself with the characters again. I’ve written a number of stories with those characters that are akin to a TV series. I had “season one” plotted out and was a little more than halfway through when I moved to other projects (like The Brotherhood).

With The Brotherhood on submission I’m free again to work on Ebony Sea: 1, which still amazes me. I think I was a better writer when I was producing those stories. I may be a “cleaner” writer, but the stories back then seem more . . . alive. And they were put out much more quickly - a story (or episode) every month.

Getting back into ES will be a labor of love, but note that it is “labor.” Anyone who tells you writing is easy might be right for THEM, but in general it takes a lot of effort.

Unless you’re the author of Outlander.

I heard she decided to write a book. Wrote it. Had it picked up by the first publisher she approached. That’s very uncommon.

With a five year hiatus in Ebony Sea, it’ll take some fits and starts to get back in. But that’s the plan for now.

Hang on. This could be a bumpy ride.

Are you up for it?

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