Monday, July 16, 2012

Today, author Len Berry will be providing his unique take on things as part of the Literary Plus Blog Tour!
Literary+ is a writer based project brought together and lead by Shen Hart. It brings together passionate, quality self-published writers to help each other promote their work, bringing more readers to every member. It was sparked by the simple fact that there are many top quality self-published authors being over-looked because they do not have the time and resources to efficiently and effectively market and promote themselves. With ambition and passion, Literary+ will take its members to the heights they deserve through a tight-knit community of like-minded writers.


Len Berry
Vitamin F: Genesis to Revelation


Several years ago, I stood behind the third register of the bookstore, trying to think of new short story ideas. At the time, I was convinced that the only way an author could make a name for themselves was to write lots of short stories and then approach an agent and say, “Please represent me.”
Clearly, it was a different time.
In my pondering, I came up with a notion. I thought of a world where things were the opposite of what they are now, where there are more homosexuals than heterosexuals. I thought of a world that had a great deal more women than men. I thought of a lead character who would have to hide things about her life from the rest of the world.
It seemed too controversial, so I decided not to go with that particular idea.
Still stuck behind the register, I started to work on other ideas. In a little while, I had another idea, one that was so much better. I would have a totalitarian society, one built around genetic controls. There could be a catastrophe that altered the makeup of society, changing who was in the majority and who in the minority. I thought of a lead character who would have to hide things about her life from the rest of the world.
Once I had that thought, I realized two things. First, that I had come to discover the same idea from a different angle. Second, and more importantly, that I had to write this story, whatever it might turn out to be.

Any story requires thought and planning. To make sure I can actually build the tales I write, I’ll work through scenes and plot threads over and over. There’s nothing I write down at this point, everything is still internal, still part of my imagination alone.
As I plot and ponder, there’s one thing I quickly realize. This story isn’t a short story. It’s a novel.
Being of a mindset where I needed to write short stories wasn’t best frame of mind to start a novel, but this was an idea I discovered from two different directions.
I found myself soul searching at this point. I thought about all the different groups my new idea might offend and I had great difficulty making peace with the thought that I might offend someone with my story. Eventually, I had to decide if I was motivated to write the story or if I was more motivated to remain silent.
I’m a writer, that’s my motivation. When I’m down or I’m up, being a writer motivates me. That’s why I decided to push through with the story.

A few months later, I started to put together enough chapters to show coworkers. Yes, I was writing a story where the world was mostly female and the male population had to stay trapped inside sensory deprivation tanks to have their reproductive fluids farmed from their bodies. As I started showing my work around, one of my coworkers described my story as taking place in an Amazonian society.
That observation made everything snap into place for me. I was able to instantly accept what I was doing, casting aside all fears of controversy and offense. Having someone look at my work and see what I was doing was a godsend, especially since she was able to see what I was doing better than I could.
Clarity works wonders. It spurs inspiration and motivation. It can even make a writer like me work faster and with more determination than I’ve ever worked on anything before.

It took about a year to get through, but I finally finished a draft of this twisted story. By this point, I’d gone through two titles, eventually settling on Vitamin F, a reference to the medication the main character, Bridgett has to take each day. Getting through a draft of Vitamin F made me realize I could get through a draft of anything.
I knew I needed to let Vitamin F sit off to the side before editing it, so I did the next best thing: I started working on another novel. I became convinced that I could be a novelist, that I didn’t need a laundry list of short stories to my credit beforehand. I kept writing and eventually threw in some editing too. When the dust cleared, I’d come up with an assortment of story ideas I could work on, along with three novels that had at least one full draft finished.
I started in on query letters, trying to get the attention of an agent. I knew nothing of the publishing world’s internal workings, so I knew I would need someone to speak on my behalf. I made very little progress.
Vitamin F was too different, too daring. I got plenty of compliments on my concept, but not enough to make an agent want to take me on. In all my efforts, I was only asked for one partial and I was told my writing wasn’t quite ready.

Another year passed and I learned how to improve my writing. I fought through another draft and began to really contemplate something new: the e-book. In its infancy, the e-book was something I didn’t feel could go anywhere. I had no patience for it, since I thought digital approaches were peripheral at best. As the market for e-readers evolved, so did my opinion of the product.
Now that e-books have become a gateway for so many to get work published on the path to something more. Some authors use e-books to spread stories that clash with their regular publishers. Whatever the reason, e-books became something more than the new independent. They became the new gateway to a writing career.
Pushing through one last edit, I committed myself to making Vitamin F into an e-book, if only to get my foot in the door.

Last week, I stood behind the third register once again, this time with a piece of paper in my hand. On the paper, I read the information for an e-book anyone could order.
The author was Len Berry. The book was Vitamin F.

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Len Berry a lifelong resident of Missouri studied biology before turning his imagination toward writing. In his spare time, Len enjoys drawing, watching anime, and playing an occasional video game. He is the author of the dystopian e-book Vitamin F, now available for Nook and Kindle. Since Len is an active blogger, you can find out more about him and his projects at http://lentberry.wordpress.com.

Len's Blog - http://lentberry.wordpress.com/
Buy it for the Nook: Nook version
Buy it for the Kindle: Kindle version