A Letter From Dean Koontz

Editor’s Note: This post appears courtesy Margaret  Duarte’s site (slightly edited).

By Margaret Duarte

I’ve been blogging for over two years now , and lately I’ve been doing some serious soul-searching about the value of working so hard.

Then today (16 October), I received an email from Dean Koontz concerning the post I wrote about him here at VFA, and it has energized me in a way I haven’t felt energized in a long time.

Dear Margaret,

My editor at Bantam, Tracy Devine, sent to me your lovely post at Visionary Fiction Alliance, and I’m asking her to forward this to you. I was quite touched by your words.

After a long career as a novelist, I’ve learned that what anyone writes about my work, good or bad, will only occasionally, very occasionally, be written with true insight regarding my intentions. For so many years, I have denied being a horror novelist, never thought I was, and struggled to prevent earlier publishers from putting that word on my books.

You got to the heart of what I try to give readers when you mentioned hope and healing, and spoke of seeking to “help readers see the world in a new light and recognize dimensions of reality they commonly ignore.”

If you will provide my editor with a mailing address, I would like to send you two inscribed books that are close to my heart.

Best wishes,

Dean Koontz

Oh my, talk about synchronicity!

Thank you, Dean Koontz, for taking the time to inspire a fellow writer to not give up.  Ever.

I’m back.

Margaret

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Babylon 5 – Visionary Fiction on the Small Screen

By, Eleni Papanou

“‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’” Captain Jeffrey Sinclair

With the recent passing of Michael O’Hare, I thought it was the opportune time to write about  my favorite example of Visionary Fiction on the small screen, Babylon 5. The series is mostly  written by one  man,  J. Michael Straczynski, as opposed to a team of writers, which is typical in a television series. Perhaps that’s why the visionary scope of this series is so strong.

 The setting is a space station that serves as a bridge between alien cultures, some of which were at war with each other.

 Monologue from the opening  in season one:

“The Babylon Project was a dream, given form. Its goal: to prevent another war, by creating a place where humans and aliens can work out their differences peacefully.”  Captain Sinclair

 

CHARACTERIZATION

Several of the Characters evolve in deeply profound circumstances that will leave the visionary fan satisfied. The two who resonated the most for me were Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik) and G’kar (Andreas Katsulas), who start off as bitter enemies. Londo’s home world, Centauri Prime,  conquered and enslaved all the citizens of Narn, G’kar’s world.  While the series begins after the liberation of Narn, the hatred between the two races is intense. Londo’s thirst for power and G’kar’s lust for vengeance will lead to many dramatic moments that leave both characters struggling between their morality versus the pride they have for their respective worlds.

Mira … Continue reading

Is Dean Koontz a Visionary Fiction Writer?

By Margaret Duarte

Dean Koontz is generally categorized as a writer of horror, and I’m not a fan of horror, so I’m not sure what possessed me to read one of his novels. Maybe someone gave it to me. Maybe I picked it up in a bargain bin somewhere.

What I do remember is that the book’s title was Watchers and, while reading it, I fell in love with a dog named Einstein and an author named Dean Koontz.

Then along came the Odd Thomas series. Again, I don’t know how I discovered it, but I do know that Koontz’s “odd” protagonist nabbed and bagged my heart before I even got to paragraph two. The series is written in first person, from the point of view of a short-order cook named Odd Thomas, who pulls you in with his wit and humility and then captivates you like a first crush with his concern for the underdogs of – and out of – this world.

“My name is Odd Thomas, though in this age when fame is the altar at which most people worship, I am not sure why you should care who I am or that I exist.”

Peculiar things happen to Odd Thomas that don’t happen to anyone else. He communicates with the dead, for instance. Not by choice, mind you. Odd Thomas is a reluctant confidant and can’t resist helping the quiet souls who seek him out for justice.

Almost every page of Koontz’s novels contains a line or phrase that teases and pleases the brain. I’m down right envious of Koontz’s ability to penetrate beneath the surface of things (the beautiful and ugly, humorous and sad, inspiring and depressing) and share observations that vibrate with truth.

Author Announcement – Invitation to guest post

From Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin at http://www.playsonideas.com/

We have just put up a new post about Story — the main topic of our blog. We invite comments.  But I’d like to invite any members of the Visionary Fiction Alliance who find the topic interesting to send us guest posts about Story, what it is, what it means personally, and/or how Story affects our whole culture. If we get lots of guest posts, we’ll put up a new page just for everybody’s definitions and discussions about Story.

If anyone from the VFA wishes to guest post, please email Pat at wim.pat[at]gmail.com

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Visionary Fiction’s Effect On This Author

By Eleni Papanou

In the not so distant past, writing felt more like a chore. It took ten screenplays and one badly written novel to admit I never felt satisfied with what I produced. It seemed like I wrote only to satisfy an audience, which made the experience hollow. Longing to create something more personal, I switched my focus from high concept to indie and began working on The Cabin. The concept was simple: two ex-lovers, Damon and Flora, meet up for eight lifetimes. The hook: Damon’s memories of his past lives are triggered when Flora arrives to arrest him for assassinating their leader, and they soon end up murdered by  a well-respected elder.  Each lifetime, Damon races against time to save himself and Flora.

After I finished the screenplay, I liked the story enough to explore the idea of writing it as a novella. Starting was easy as a screenplay makes an excellent outline. I expected all the plot points would be the peaks, and the new material would be the valleys leading towards them. Yes, this was going to be easy…so I thought. Little did I know The Cabin was about to  transform into a full-blown epic…something I had dreamed of one day writing.

The move that changed everything…

The Cabin evolved after I introduced a piece of technology from an older screenplay I had given up on. This fortuitous maneuver ended up  connecting the two stories together and made the peaks of The Cabin less significant to the overall story! Other characters entered The Cabin, and it was now too small … Continue reading

Giveaway – The Jamais Vu Papers

Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin

The Jamais Vu PapersBefore The Jamais Vu Papers was a book, it was a series of newsletters—pasted up, printed at a copy shop, and mailed to a small group of subscribers. Those newsletters led to an agent and a book contract. Some newsletter material is in the book (plus a lot of new writing) and some isn’t. Wim and Pat are making them free downloads, month by month as they were originally published, at http://jamaisvupapers.blogspot.com/

You can read more about how this all came about on their blog at http://playsonideas.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/jamais-vu/

More Giveaways

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Story vs Message: Striking the Balance

Guest post by Randy Davila

Visionary fiction authors have one of the hardest jobs as writers—to both entertain their readers and to introduce them to new metaphysical topics, which the readers may have never been exposed to before. The most successful authors, of any type of fiction, understand that the first purpose of their book must always be to entertain.

Unfortunately, many times we see visionary fiction authors who feel so powerfully about their message that they let it become the central focus of the story, and drown the reader in metaphors, exercises, theories and unnatural dialogue all in the name of conveying their message. They have forgotten that their readers came to the fiction section of the bookstore to be entertained first and foremost. This is where the fiction author can run into the most difficulty in trying to reconcile their love of the story for the love of the message.

We, as fiction authors, have been told time and time again to “show, don’t tell”—and your metaphysical or spiritual message is no exception to this rule. To keep the reader engaged, you must show them how your character’s negative thinking is drawing negative circumstances into his life; or leave room for the reader to intuit how the character’s dreams about the Divine Feminine correlate to her real life experiences. Showing the reader how these theories work instead of simply telling them that will help them to learn your message gracefully through the story that you are conveying. Remember, the art of great fiction is in what the author doesn’t say rather than what … Continue reading

Launch Giveaway – Winner

VFA launch competition – and the winner is …

To celebrate the launch of the VFA, seven VF titles from our founding members were up for grabs.  Thanks to all of those who entered.

We now have a winner: Kevin Thomas

Congratulations!

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1 )SANDY NATHAN (Kindle)

Complete saga: Tales from Earth’s End:

– The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

– Lady Grace

Sam & Emily

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2) JODINE TURNER (PDF)

Book One of the Carry on the Flame series:

Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call

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3) SALEENA KARIM (Kindle, epub, PDF)

Systems – A Novel

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4) D. E. LAMONT (Kindle, epub, PDF)

The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening

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5) PEGGY PAYNE (Kindle, PDF)

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Relevance Of Visionary Fiction – Margaret Duarte

Margaret Duarte

Before I explain what Visionary Fiction is, let me position it on a chart that shows the basic types of literature and genres.

As you can see, rather than being a genre of its own, Visionary Fiction is a subgenre of Speculative Fiction, which makes it hard to categorize, and, although VF has been around for a long time – think shaman stories of ancient times, most agents, publishers and big book buyers don’t recognize it as a genre or subgenre.

That said, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Christian/Spiritual Fiction are also subgenres of Speculative Fiction, which doesn’t make them any less popular with agents, publishers, booksellers, and fans.

So what, exactly, is Visionary Fiction?

In its simplest terms, VF is what John Algeo calls “a modern and sophisticated version of the fairy tale.”  And, according to W. Bradford Swift, what separates VF from other speculative fiction is intention.  Besides telling a good story, VF enlightens and encourages readers to expand their awareness of greater possibilities.  It helps them see the world in a new light and recognize dimensions of reality they commonly ignore.

In a world riddled with fear, misunderstanding, and lost hope, I believe there are people prepared to transcend the boundaries of their five senses and to open to new thoughts and ideas.  In other words, I believe the audience is ready for fiction that heals, empowers, and bridges differences.

That’s why I write Visionary Fiction, and that’s why I joined the talented visionary writers at Visionary Fiction Alliance to promote a genre whose time has come.

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Visionary Fiction – Light Carrier Of This Dark Age – Eleni Papanou

Eleni Papanou

I see visionary fiction as a timely genre and one of the light carriers of this dark age.  It’s the ideal counterbalance to western pop culture that seems to favor violent themes and images that permeate the whole media landscape. The present cycle will continue until a contrasting alternative presents itself. I see the birth of a counterforce happening right now. There are many people who are weary of what’s happening in this world as well as what’s being promoted as news and entertainment by the mainstream. They want something that has more substance and meaning.  Visionary fiction is one of the outlets available to them as well as to  those of us who find personal fulfillment as writers of this  genre.

I don’t state any of the above lightly. Art has the power to move and effect change. We need that now as much as we needed it during the middle ages. The world is more polarized than it has ever been, and the news successfully obfuscates what’s really happening. Some of you may feel like you’re the only ones that can see through the madness of this age, or maybe you may at times think you’re mad for suggesting anything is wrong. Sometimes I feel a little like both, and it’s my writing and spiritual practice that keeps me tethered to the light within me.

The Pareto effect states … Continue reading