Today speculative fiction writer Jason C. Joyner is joining me. His first novel, for the YA Christian market about superheroes, just came out on July 3. Welcome, Jason!
Me: Which comes first when developing a story – characters, setting, or plot?
Jason: I usually see characters in a specific setting. My first novel was a man floating face down in the water, dead. I had to find out why and who cared about him.
For my YA superhero novel I saw two kids dealing with weird fallout from their powers. A kid with super speed who kept wearing out shoes, and a depressed girl who tried to dye her hair black but her hair turned back blonde because she can manipulate light.
From those images (because they are quite stark in my head), I’ll ask questions about the circumstances. The plot comes next, and I’ll think of settings to go with everything.
Me: What are some unique challenges to writing speculative fiction?
Jason: Speculative fiction is fun to write, but you have to go beyond what you can research. In many other genres, you can research specifically the technology, weapons, vehicles, etc. that you need. I had to create routers that spread a mental suggestion across a campus. I used things like fiber optic cables as inspiration for another aspect of the story, but then I have to add the “speculative” factor.
Me: What do you do to renew your inspiration when it is running low?
Jason: I have had plenty of rejections from agents, but I’m thankful that most have included comments like, “The talent is there, you just need to find the right project.” I’ll look at those or positive reviews of stories to remind me I can do this. I’ll look at Pinterest for images that inspire. I like to find soundtracks or epic instrumental music to get me in the mode of writing. Finally, I’ll set the timer on my cell phone. While the timer’s running I must write – no internet distractions, changing music, getting snacks. Hands on the keys then!
Me: What advice would you give to someone who wants to write speculative fiction?
Jason: Read widely. Write what you would enjoy reading, but be aware of the standard tropes if you’re writing epic fantasy vs. hard sci-fi vs. zombie apocalypse. Speculative is a broad term, and the fans of different sub-genres will expect certain things. It’s not that you can’t do new or different things, but be aware of what their expectations are.
To learn more about Jason and his new YA superhero novel Launch, check out the links below.
Jason C. Joyner is a physician assistant, a writer, a Jesus-lover, and a Star Wars geek. He’s traveled from the jungles of Thailand to the cities of Australia and the Bavarian Alps of Germany. He lives in Idaho with his lovely wife, three boys, and daughter managing the chaos of sports and superheroes in his own home. Launch, a YA superhero story, is his first published novel.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jasoncjoyner– You can join my Facebook group, The Heroes’ Hangout at https://www.facebook.com/groups/229022587673013/
Launch Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/jasoncjoyner/launch/
Launch playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/124166539/playlist/4sB5rCXHYQ0wxA43gB7Oyr