Sunday, November 13, 2016

Harmony On Spring Hill

As soon as I came back from my first trip to Jerusalem, I started writing about it. The purpose of the trip was to film a small part in a small movie. It was difficult to write about the trip without describing the movie and I wasn't comfortable describing a story written by someone else. I'm sure I could have gotten permission from the copyright holders. A book about the making of the movie would be free publicity. But the more I wrote about it, the more I felt like I was taking credit for someone else's story.

Then I decided to change the movie. Instead of describing the actual movie, I made up my own story. I didn't sit down and write a screenplay, but I created enough of a story to write about the making of that movie. That made it much easier to describe the plot and characters since I wasn't describing anyone else's material.

I've changed the names of pretty much everybody in previous books, and I might have exaggerated some character traits for the purpose of telling the story. This time, I had too many people. It takes a large crew to make even a small, independent movie. When you're in the middle of it, these are all important people. Tom Cruise might be the most famous person in all of his movies, but without hundreds of people doing their jobs around him, he would be nothing. We had a much smaller crew than any Tom Cruise movie, but I couldn't describe the key players without turning it into a 1,200 page book. From personal experience, I knew that would be a bad idea.

As soon as I decided to combine several real people into one fictional character, I knew I had to make the entire book a work of fiction. I had a fictional movie plot and fictional people. It just made sense to go full fiction. That tore the whole thing wide open.

When you're writing about real people and describing something that actually happened, there's a certain responsibility to cover the story accurately and portray the people faithfully. When you're writing a work of fiction, you can do absolutely anything you want. Not only could I change the movie plot, but I could create composite characters and purely fictional characters out of thin air. I could change locations and time frames. I could have the sky open up to an alien invasion while zombies and dinosaurs defend the Earth. I didn't, of course, but in a non-fiction book, someone would have questioned such a thing. In fiction, you can have all the dolphins fly away and thank us for the fish.

Harmony On Spring Hill is a work of fiction loosely based on factual events. Eagle-eyed readers might notice that the main character is pretty similar to me. The story is about what I did in Jerusalem, more or less, so I made myself a fictional character. Why not?

Harmony On Spring Hill is available for e-book pre-order on Amazon. It will be released in all formats on December 21st. After that, it will be available at Tower, iTunes and all the usual retailers.

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