I’ve actually already written an Author’s Note on All Tomorrow’s Children, but I probably should have called it more of a “Rough Draft” Author’s Note because it really only discussed the inspiration of the story and some of the genre aspects of the story. Now that I’ve finished the Working Draft of the story and just need to edit and polish it before I start submitting it to various markets, I wanted to do a full and complete breakdown on just what the story is just as I did for Here Be Monsters and WarLight.
AUTHOR’S NOTE – ALL TOMORROW’S CHILDREN
So this title has been kicking around in my mind almost sense I joined the Chattanooga Public library way back in 1996. It was always around connected to a set of people using Psionics (mental powers–telepathy, telekinesis, etc.). The original conception was around a group of kids who, in the future, were dominated and controlled by a fascist state. They escaped and rebelled and fought agains the regime. It was supposed to be a graphic novel, but I could never get it to come together. A couple of years ago (my third year as a 6th grade teacher) a new idea came to me about a family of Psionics rather than a group of kids.
So, in the summer of last year, Sky News (British TV station) did a special report on JIHADI BRIDES and how many of them were lured into the camps of Jihadis based on elaborate promises made to them by these organizations. Yes, super controversial, I know, but this is when the idea for the story finally crystalized. What if one sister was lured into and recruited by jihadis for the cause of freeing Psionics from being discriminated vs the other sister who only came to lend her psychic talents to heal and make things better? This is where/when I began the story in earnest. It has undergone multiple revisions just to get to this point. I see it as violence vs non-violence (Malcolm X vs Dr. Martin Luther King Jr).
So this story isn’t very long and isn’t filled with a whole lot of details. Outside of the mental powers, there’s not even a lot of “sci-fi” going on. I wanted to keep it short and simple, but I may have made it too short and not enough sci-fi. On this final polishing pass, I may look for places where I can add in future technology to help distinguish as a sci-fi story, rather than a modern day story.
Time to Create
This took a long time to write–I’ve been working on it pretty in some form or another after I saw the video. I’ve working on it in-between working on my school work, working on grading papers and teaching, working on it while doing many other things. Also, I’ve had a really hard time writing it and a really hard time finding the TIME to write it. That is why Jesmyn’s Ward’s advice in Elizabeth Flock’s interview Read, Write, Improve was so timely for me because she said: “Persist. Read, write, and improve: tell your stories. Accept rejection until you find acceptance, but don’t become disheartened, stop writing, and remove yourself from the conversation.” I realized that I’ve simply become to wrapped up in the day-to-day world of living without giving myself space to write, so every day I try to carve out a small slice of time (even if it is only half an hour) to 1) read, 2) write, 3) edit (aka Read, Write, Improve). Sometimes I can’t do all three, but I try to at least do at least one of the 3 and all three, if at all possible. I generally wake up earlier now–and that’s what has allowed me to finally finish the Working Draft of this story.
So I’ve mentioned it before, I had an idea, but scrapped it and based the majority of the story, idea, and characters on the YouTube video by Sky New–Jihadi Brides. There are a couple other videos that Sky News did related to this subject that also informed this story, but by and large, much of impetus for the story comes from that YouTube video. I hope the story isn’t too derivative, but I tried to capture both the essence of the culture and the “lure” of fanaticism that I saw in the video, just in a world where mental powers exist. If you want to see the report, I’ve included a link below for context:
I originally had 4 main characters–Yeva, her sister, Javan (the husband), and a “Spiritual Leader,” of sorts, but I rolled the leader and husband into one for this draft to simplify things for me. I also originally had planned for Yeva and her sister to be twins with similar names (Yeva and Veya) as twins do, but it became too confusing for me to keep their names straight and if I, the author, couldn’t do it, I realized it would be difficult for readers to do so, so I changed the sister’s name to something more relatable.
I am almost finished with the Rough Draft of a short story for the “Project Skye” short story. I can see the home stretch/finish line with it. It is very “rough” as I jumped in without planning and boy, does it REALLY show! The story is all over the place. I estimate I’ll need AT LEAST two more drafts before it even resembles something which I would be proud to attach my name to on a submission copy.
Well, that’s all I have for now and thanks for reading this long Author’s Note! Have a great day!