How To Write The Future

92. Creative Writing and AI with Adam Fleming

March 21, 2024 BETH BARANY Season 1 Episode 92
How To Write The Future
92. Creative Writing and AI with Adam Fleming
Show Notes Transcript

"You can tell them what a brain freezes, but they'll never feel it. That's right." -- Adam Fleming


In “Creative Writing and AI,” How To Write the Future podcast host Beth Barany talks to author, leadership coach, and hybrid publisher, Adam Fleming about the positives and negatives of using AI for creative writing, the origins for Adam’s fantasy series, and discuss why only you can write from your own experiences.

ABOUT ADAM FLEMING

Adam G. Fleming is an author, leadership coach, and hybrid publishing leader, with 13 books to his name. His personal mission is "writing the fine line between the absurd and the sublime.” For fans of sci-fi and fantasy, Adam recommends The Satchel Pong Chronicles, a complete, five-book set.

Website: http://www.adamgfleming.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adamgflemingauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adam_g_fleming

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamgfleming/

Our hybrid publishing solutions, Victory Vision: https://www.victoryvision.org


RESOURCES

ChatGPT and Creating Fiction: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/01/23/chatgpt-and-creating-fiction/

Use Chat GPT to Experiment with Fiction Style, part 1: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/04/17/use-chat-gpt-to-experiment-with-fiction-style-part-1/

Use Chat GPT to Experiment with Fiction Style, part 2: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/04/27/use-chat-gpt-to-experiment-with-fiction-style-part-2/

Free World Building Workbook for Fiction Writers: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/world-building-resources/

Sign up for the 30-minute Story Success Clinic with Beth Barany: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/story-success-clinic/

Get support for your fiction writing by a novelist and writing teacher and coach. Schedule an exploratory call here and see if Beth can support you today: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/discovery-call/


Please like, share, and subscribe! And leave a review. Much thanks!

  • SHOW PRODUCTION BY Beth Barany
  • SHOW NOTES + CO-PRODUCTION by Kerry-Ann McDade

c. 2024 BETH BARANY

https://bethbarany.com/

--
CONNECT
Contact Beth: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/podcast/#tve-jump-185b4422580
Email: beth@bethbarany.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethbarany/

CREDITS
EDITED WITH DESCRIPT: https://get.descript.com/0clwwvlf6e3j
MUSIC: Uppbeat.io
DISTRIBUTED BY BUZZSPROUT: https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=1994465

BETH BARANY:

Hey everyone. Welcome back to How to Write the Future podcast. I'm your host, Beth Barany. I'm an award winning science fiction and fantasy writer, a creativity coach, and a writing teacher, and I love helping writers get their mojo on. And the focus of this podcast is helping science fiction and fantasy writers with tips and all kinds of wonderful tools to help you create positive, optimistic futures. Because I believe that when we vision what is possible, it's amazing. We help make it so in the imagination of our readers and also for ourselves. So today I have a really fun interview with fellow writer and creative and all around really fun guy. I have Adam Fleming. Adam, welcome.

ADAM FLEMING:

Hey, thanks for having me, Beth. It's great to be here.

BETH BARANY:

Awesome. I'm going to read your bio and then we can chat about fun things that we have queued up. hey everyone, get to know Adam. Adam G. Fleming is an author, leadership coach, and hybrid publishing leader with 13 books to his name. His personal mission is writing the fine line between the absurd and the sublime. For science fiction and fantasy fans, Adam recommends his five book series, The Satchel Pong Chronicles, and he's written some other great things that we're gonna probably dive into. In fact, one of the themes we're just talking about before I hit record is How, as writers, we both write across different genres. So I just want to say welcome again, Adam. And yeah, this enthusiasm we both have for writing different genres, genre mashups, experimenting with things. Yeah. did you want to ride that wave a bit?

ADAM FLEMING:

Yeah. Talking about writing a variety of different things right now. We're about to release the final three books in a co written series called The Stetson Jeff Adventures, and it's not fantasy sci fi, but it is in the tradition of, if you would think of American tall tales, As being a sort of fantasy of a kind. It's very much in the tall tale tradition where Stetson Jeff is the true hero. There's no anti hero here. He is a hundred percent heart of gold wants to save the world. And there's not this woe, is me anti hero thing going on. And that was really fun to write because as you said, like writing the future, writing something positive-- he's got a little bit of Inspector Clouseau and a little bit of Forrest Gump in him, but also plenty of Chuck Norris. So he'll give you a butt whooping and then figure out why later, kind of thing. And, he goes with his gut. But, yeah, so that's one thing that we've been working on lately and writing across a variety of genres, including, stuff around leadership coaching. You're also creativity coach. Some nonfiction and some memoir stuff about hiking the Camino de Santiago and in Europe. And as people check out, they can check me out, they'll see all kinds of different stuff that I write. but we're going to talk about fantasy mostly today, right?

BETH BARANY:

We're going to talk about fantasy. And I just want to plug also that you have a hybrid publishing company where you help writers. go from their idea, nurture them, get their idea written, edited, and published, and marketed. So that's great. So you know the whole process and what it takes to sit down and do the thing, as I like to say. And that's a reference. Does anyone know that reference, to do the thing? To do the thing? Yeah, it's from, Oh, man. Of course, my brain went offline just a second there. I'm going to find it. I'm going to find it. It's the Avatar, the Last Avatar. Ah, okay. there's a secondary character, which always says to his assistant, Chu Li, do the thing. And she always does the thing. She always comes to him with the exact tool, with the invention already created. She always knows what he wants. So it's always do the thing. And That's what we do as writers, right? We sit down and we do the

ADAM FLEMING:

thing. That is actually one of my favorite animated series. And now that you remind me of it, that's always, one of my favorite moments there is do the thing. Yeah. yeah,

BETH BARANY:

I think I've watched it three times, four times. It's one of my comfort things, but also I'm very intrigued by not just, the four forces of nature that-- and I'm talking about the young girl, the woman who's gets to be the hero. What is it called again? there's Korra. Korra. I'm thinking of Korra. Yeah, I'm thinking of the animated Korra. But I thought she was called the Last Avatar. Maybe not. I don't think so. That's Aang. Okay. Aang. He wasn't really the last avatar. She was

ADAM FLEMING:

I'm sure that you've got, listeners who are like running circles around us right now, like I know total guys don't even remember that, but it's been a while since I watched it.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah, you're right. Avatar, the last airbender, that's what he was the last of. Cause he was the last airbender and for all the last avatar geeks, there's, there's a live action avatar coming out next year.

ADAM FLEMING:

That's going to be fun. Yeah, that's going to be so exciting. That's actually a, if you like that kind of world with the dirigibles and the steam punky kind of thing going on, that's actually what Satchel Pong is all designed around is the airships. In Satchelpong's world it's a little different. Can I share about that?

BETH BARANY:

Yeah, please tell us about this.

ADAM FLEMING:

Yeah. so my initial premise, which is really interesting because people ask me if I've got some kind of an agenda and I really don't, but I decided that an interesting premise was the world is burning, like global warming, but on steroids, like way worse. And Satchelpong has to decide if he's going to try to lead his people from the islands where they live to relocate an entire population or entire nation of people. And so it's not really agenda driven, but it did provide me this space to explore what happens when the world is burning. There's people who live permanently in these dirigibles, they're called. They're called sky dwellers. And Yeah, I don't think this ruins the story too much, but Satchel Pong encounters these people who just live in an airship all the time and they farm what they call sky crests on the sides of their ships, like water crests, but it's in the sky. And pigeons and different things that they do for food. But he encounters these people that are basically just party ships, where all they want to do is play music and dance. And there's that aspect of, like, how many of us are just dancing while the world burns? And who are the people who are going to take responsibility to figure out the big problems of their day? So that's a fun theme that's running in it. And it's not like I started with a global warming agenda and I don't think I lay it on too thick either because it's not really my agenda. It's just, you got to start with a great what-if.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah. So what if the world was burning and this leader. Yeah. Yeah, for real. And the leader had to lead his whole island nation to safety?

ADAM FLEMING:

Right, and the fun thing is he's not a leader at all. He's a, an elected official, but he's like a meteorologist. So he's supposed to give an annual weather report. And for a decade, he's refused to do it because he's seeing the trend, but he doesn't want to admit it. The street punks challenge him, hey, You're supposed to be telling us what the weather is, and then he's got to decide, am I going to do something about this or not? So that's the premise at the beginning. That's fun.

BETH BARANY:

Cool. that's really fun. And five books. That's great. Yeah. We love that- episodic. And and just for reference. but so everyone knows that I am a true fan. The Legend of Korra is what I was geeking out about. Okay, cool.

ADAM FLEMING:

So I love both those series. We watched them all with our kids had a great time.

BETH BARANY:

That's so great. Yes, you and I have been Talking a lot about writing, creating, supporting authors, but I would love to hear from you. You've named our topic as the future of writing is fun. So yeah, I love that. I'm all about fun. Why did you name our, the topic? The future of writing is

ADAM FLEMING:

fun. It's funny because it's probably a misunderstanding. Cause I realized later that when you talk about the future of writing or writing the future, that's the title of your blog. You're talking about science fiction where you're writing what's happening in the future, but I was thinking about, more about the AI issues that writers are facing right now and whether or not writing is going to be relevant or are we just going to tell an AI, hey, write me a story and now I've got a book and I just got to put a cover on it and off I go. There are some visceral things about writing that you'll never get if you go that direction. And there's the catharsis and the self learning and all those kinds of things that happen as you, instead of, I'll just have AI write a rough draft for me. Here's 10 different ideas I'm going to put in there and spit it out. And I'll be honest, I haven't tried it. And I'm not really eager to. not because I'm afraid of it, but I want to write that first draft myself and then have to tear it all down and start over again because of how much I learn in the process. But the reason that I titled it that is because I was thinking, what's the future of the writing? Will people even write anymore? And the answer is absolutely yes. because of how much we get for ourselves out of the process and how much fun it is. Not only growth and learning and all those things that are good for us as humans to, like I said, exploring themes, like what do people do when the world is burning I just don't see asking a computer, what do you think? But it's that exploration that does, does writing even have a future? I guess is the question and the answer is a resounding yes. It's way too much fun for people not to want to do it without the help of a machine, other than grammar, checks and stuff like that. So yeah.

BETH BARANY:

Spell check. Yeah. anyway, I think, that's a very important topic. It's one I've, I have done a few episodes months ago on AI, which I'll reference in our show notes. And I haven't really talked to anyone about it besides, me talking about it and I'm with you: what's fun about telling a machine to write something that didn't come from me. It doesn't come from my guts, from my life experience, from my, other than conscious self. So what power can that have? You can give some guidelines, you can get ideas. There are some pretty robust tools out there and I have friends who use them, but they are still editing every single word. And they are still making those decisions. I find that a waste of my time. if I'm going to use the chat tools, chat GPT, I'm going to ask it to write some social media posts for me, or write a first draft of an email that I've given it express direction. It's a nonfiction. in the how-to realm, the nonfiction realm, it's very useful, and I'm the expert, so I can vet everything, but when it comes to creativity, I'm like, how do you know what's in my subconscious? You don't. That's someone else's idea. It's an amalgam of other people's ideas. And to the counter that a little bit, we know that there's no new ideas under the sun. Quote unquote. Sure. But nobody's had Adam's life experience, exactly. No one's had Beth's life experience, exactly. So how can a machine, unless the machine was. an exact replica of us, it couldn't really digest my life experience and output something that felt like it was truly mine.

ADAM FLEMING:

No, and I think there's, as you said, the other than conscious self, which is the kind of stuff that my wife is studying in her graduate program. A new scientific field called noetics, which is about consciousness and all that kind of stuff, which, I'm glad not to be writing graduate level papers on. I'd rather just write novels about how the world is burning from that angle. But as I write, sometimes even in the rough draft phase because I'm what they call a pantser and I just go with the flow stuff comes out that if I just wrote three pages of instruction for chat GPT or something, I would never get. I would never get there because it's in the process. And I think that's what we see, like great writers like Madeline L'Engle talk about that. It's in the process.

BETH BARANY:

I'm like you, I do planning, but my planning phase is very intuitive and I trust it implicitly and then I write basically a discovery draft On scaffolding. I know the beats. I know the major milestones. I'm writing mysteries. I don't solve the mystery. I, I act like the detective. I drop all the red herrings and I just go for it. It's a big process of discovery. I'm still even in second draft edits right now and I'm still discovering my world. I'm like, Oh, I need to really ground this world even more- the new space station I created. So I love your interpretation of the question about the future of writing because it is been on my mind off and on ever since I started really committing to science fiction in 2016. I was like, yeah, let me pay attention to the futurists. what are they saying about the evolution of our profession? And then boom, with chat GPT on the rise really upsetting the apple cart. And then yet. Nobody knows really what to do with these tools. People are like, come learn AI tools for productivity. I'm like, why, what? You're going to eat my food for me. like what I, I don't get, I

ADAM FLEMING:

mean, I understand my vacations for me, You're going to

BETH BARANY:

do my work for me, do my hard thinking work for me. Yeah. I get productivity. I get systems. I get all that. So I'm really glad you brought this up. and I love that you had the question here. why do you think people will bother writing books in 100 years? Yeah. Why do you think that?

ADAM FLEMING:

for all the reasons. I, first of all, I want to respond by saying that I love the fact that you call it a discovery draft. And that's exactly to the point you're uncovering. From your subconscious, from your own mind, from your own experiences and your travels and your books that you've read and everything to date, you're discovering it and that's not something a machine can do. Machines don't discover things. They only take what. People have discovered and put into them and then mix them around. They're more like blenders than, fruit farmers, they can help you make a smoothie, but I don't know.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah. They can't tell you how it tastes. And that's

ADAM FLEMING:

the heart of it. That's great. Yeah. That's great. They can't tell you how it tastes. That was a

BETH BARANY:

good metaphor we completed there. That's the whole point. These machines, they can't feel, they can't smell, they can't digest, they can't sense and make meaning from that. It's not making meaning. It's not making any meaning.

ADAM FLEMING:

from it. That's way too many bananas. That's right.

BETH BARANY:

Oh, I had too much sugar. Oh, it's too cold. Brain freeze.

ADAM FLEMING:

you can tell them what a brain freezes, but they'll never feel it. That's right.

BETH BARANY:

I think it'll be a long, long time before we create machines that can do what we can do. we don't understand the human brain, we're just understanding how to replicate fine motor skills in robots, it's just getting there.

ADAM FLEMING:

Yeah. So why will people still be writing stories in a hundred years or a thousand for that matter? And, I have a friend who says that ever since the beginning of the dawn of humanity, people have made stuff not to sell necessarily, but with this purpose of like You work on this thing, whether it's a little stool to sit on that you've carving out of wood or, a mask that you're making or, for a dance or whatever it might be that you would, create. or music for that matter. and, a certain rhythm, a certain pattern, the clapping and, Romani music people have done that. And then in the evening go sit around the campfire and go and say to their friends and be like, check out what I did. Isn't this cool? And then, oh, yeah, that's pretty cool, man. Check out what I did, and I think that we still, wherever we build communities, whether it's an online Facebook group or, the writers at my local library that get together for a critique group or whatever it is that we want to get together and go, Look at this thing I made. Isn't it cool? And I know that it's really difficult if you're a starting writer to find people to be a beta reader. but you don't need- Stephen King says you only need one, an audience of one, I think is what I'm getting at. who is the one person you're thinking of? As your audience. And for me, it's my wife. she's my muse, but if she laughs or cries or says, Ooh, this is really way deeper than, cause she's studying consciousness, Adam, you don't realize how deep this is. Like I do, I do, but I'm glad you think it's deep. she's my audience of one. And really if. Whether I'm successful with a book that sells a million copies ever or not, doesn't matter because I can go to her in the evening and say, Hey, I was working on this, paragraph today. Listen to this. Let me read it. Isn't that cool. And then if she's like, Oh, I'm choking up, I'm like, yeah, this is my best friend and we're having a great time together. I love it. I think that's why we'll still be writing in a hundred years. And not just asking machines to do it for us, no matter how good they get at it.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah, I'm, I love that. I love that idea of really writing to the audience of one. I feel like I write my first draft really for me, and often for a younger version of myself, like when I was writing YA fantasy, I was writing to the 12, 13 year old, and now that I'm writing these kick ass heroine, detective stories, I'm more writing to- My protagonist is about 33, 34, and I'm probably writing to who. I was then also when I was just figuring out my career and my focuses and but I'm also writing to other people like her, like I was. the audience of one can be yourself. Also, I think,

ADAM FLEMING:

absolutely. And it could be like my brother's got two novels out now and he did a lot of bedtime storytelling with his kids and he would just go, as they were going to bed and tell them a story for half an hour. Amazing. in terms of just spontaneously telling a story that has beats in a story arc on the fly. I guess I probably never really sat and listened to him tell a bedtime story to his kids. His name's Aaron M. Fleming, if anybody wants to look him up, the Hunter and Checkway, The Kingmaker is the first book and the Skeleton Company is the second one. And they're fun for kids who are like 8 to 12, I write more for an adult audience, like my wife, who's a, studying consciousness, master's degree, sort of intellectual person, and my stuff might be a little bit more geared towards an adult audience, but that's what an audience of one gives you is it gives you focus. Yeah. will this one person like it? And if they do, then you can extrapolate from that, that probably other people will as well.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah. I'm with you. I believe really that first draft, the planning, the first draft, the discovery drafts for me, but when I start editing, I do start listening, paying attention to the audience. And I've been at this a while. So I actually know some of my readers. They've communicated with me. I have beta readers who have read all the books in the series. And so what I've learned is they like my stories. So they put their trust in me. And then I sand off some of the rough edges with my critique partners, with my husband, who's also a writer. And, that gives me a lot of feedback and the beta readers and people like, oh, I don't get this, I don't get that or, oh, no, I don't think Janey would say that When you're beta readers start telling you how your character should or shouldn't behave, then, they've come alive. And I pay attention to that.'cause I don't know. I need that, sometimes I go off the rail, sometimes I experiment with other things and see how it lands. It's fascinating.

ADAM FLEMING:

And to your point, and recollecting too. my wife when she was 10, sending a cassette tape to Madeline L'Engle and getting a response like. First of all, if you're a writer listening to this, by golly, it's an honor when people, why do I keep saying, by golly, that is not.

BETH BARANY:

Are you channeling one of your characters?

ADAM FLEMING:

That is not one of my normal comments. It's an honor when somebody reaches out wants to interview you or wants to be your beta reader. Could I be on your beta reader list or whatever? And. If there's somebody, I don't care how famous they are, I don't care if it's Stephen King or JK Rowling. if you want to write them, do it, because you never know. if you're a writer and someone writes you, please try to respond because that's how we get stories like, hey, Madeline L'Engle answered my wife when she was 10, how cool is that? it would never have happened if my wife had been less naive to think she would never answer me. She didn't cross her mind she just sent her the tape and lo and behold it came back oh and behold that's better than by golly

BETH BARANY:

I like that i like that one too

ADAM FLEMING:

I'm gonna go with low and behold

BETH BARANY:

so you also, have this great question here, which is: what does the process of writing a book from scratch do for you? And you touched on this, so we're contrasting that with AI and you talked about the discovery, or I guess that was my word, but also you're a pantser, so you must really trust yourself. Trust the process. Trust that you'll figure it out. Yeah. What is that like for you?

ADAM FLEMING:

Yeah, that's so interesting because like in the fifth book of the Satchel Pong series, I had to work really hard to pull together the last four or five chapters. In the sixth book of the of the Stetson Jeff adventures, Stetson Jeff is from Texas. It was obvious that it had to end in Texas. And it just fell together. So I guess the answer is, yeah, I got lucky one time at the end of a six book series. At the end of the five book series, And those are my two longest series. whether it's a standalone novel. but when it's a series, like you've got a lot invested, especially if you've been releasing them one at a time and readers are following along and they're like, how's come we never got any, final book from George R. R. Martin? Maybe he never figured out how to end it. I don't know. Maybe he was like, stuck, But you do have to trust yourself that you'll either- it'll fall into place, or you'll be willing to do the work to, satisfy your audience and yourself that this is wrapped up, let's say adequately, because maybe not every series wraps up as well as the next.

BETH BARANY:

You had to do a lot of work, did that mean you had to do a lot of versions to make it work? You had to try a lot of different things to find the right thing?

ADAM FLEMING:

Man, I don't really remember. I remember just having to do a lot of thinking about it, like where do I want to leave this? And, who should die and who should not? The world is burning, somebody's gonna die. I don't think of myself as a real dark, dystopian writer. Yeah. But there is an aspect of like, when the world is ending, some people aren't gonna make it out and that makes it interesting. Mm-Hmm. If everybody was fine at the end, it'd probably be a little bit ridiculous.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah, you set it up to be a dystopia. So right. somebody has to die.

ADAM FLEMING:

But how, and, and where, when, and. Doing what?

BETH BARANY:

Yeah. What's interesting? What's intriguing? What keeps your interest? What do you think the readers will be really attracted to, or like it pulls at their heartstrings?

ADAM FLEMING:

And because I'm a pantser, I'm constantly including new characters, some of whom develop later in a third book or fourth book into somebody really important and others never show up again. And which is like a red herring in a mystery, I think. and then sometimes But when you've got a five book series and you've been folding into the dough, like three or four new main characters every book, you get into the fifth one. Now you've got like, oh, probably 15 or 20 characters that had a significant enough storyline that they needed to be wrapped up.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah, So I know we touched on this already, but is there anything else you want to say more about what do you think machines will never be able to do in terms of the work we do in terms of being creative

ADAM FLEMING:

writers? I guess the biggest philosophical question underlying what you just asked is: Is creativity a distinctly human activity? Versus,

BETH BARANY:

cause animals, there's animals that can do some creative things.

ADAM FLEMING:

Yeah, we are animals. I got this- I got to watch some trained elephants in Thailand doing paintings and, animals can be silly, like they can tease you, they can be goofy, whether it's a dog or even a kitten, they can be playful. And I think those silliness and playfulness are subtopics of creativity, for sure. Wow. I never thought about that before, just now, but it totally makes sense when an animal's being, knows they're being silly or funny or, teasing you or tricking you. Those are all aspects of creativity. So when I say strictly human, yes, I will concede that there are at least probably a good dozen species of animals that can do some creative- And even just finding tools- a rock to crack open shellfish or something is a creative act of using something from your environment to get something else open. There's a great documentary about the octopus, that was on Netflix. I can't remember. It was something about the octopus and me or, the octopi, as a family seem to be very, very creative. So machines? I guess I just don't believe that they can. I don't think I believe that a machine can be creative. I think there's something that requires heart, soul, spirit. Breath, a gut, you use the word gut earlier, You use this, the word other than conscious, but consciousness is part of it, but could a machine become conscious? We have machines now, in terms of like prosthetics and stuff that can feel, more or less, you touch something with your prosthetic arm, Oh, sends a signal to your brain and you felt something. but I think there's something more than just, than that. So I think ultimately my answer is there's things that machines will never be able to do and creativity is one of them.

BETH BARANY:

I'm with you. it can mix up words. it can do this algorithmic extrapolation based on human knowledge and books, but is it really creating something new? No, it's just using a prioritization and popularity and algorithms and all of that's been programmed by human beings.

ADAM FLEMING:

It's all ones and zeros.

BETH BARANY:

Yeah, that too. Yeah. Something I like to ask fellow writers when I interview them, is what are you currently writing or working on, the current work in progress, the genre and anything you want to say about it. And what are you reading? What are you really enjoying that you're reading right now?

ADAM FLEMING:

I'm watching The 100 on Netflix, which is super dystopian, futuristic sci fi. And, I actually almost quit after, season two. And then I went to the dentist and the hygienist told me, no, no, you have to watch the whole thing. It's fantastic. The ending is great. So I was like, okay, on recommendation from a dental hygienist, I'm sticking with this. and. Yeah, it's pretty compelling. It's pretty good. There's times when I'm like, eh, with that technology, survive a hundred years. I don't know, but you have to suspense disbelief. What I'm writing. So this is convoluted, but I'll try to simplify it. My What if is more like a real world, what I would call literary fiction or just, maybe slightly, alternate history. In the sense that I invented a puritanical sect, from the 1600s in England, something similar to the Puritans who came to Massachusetts, but, a few decades later, beginning in, England. Before I invented the religion, the big what if was: what if someone took their three year old child to a Led Zeppelin concert? And the child got lost. What would happen? Yeah. so the reason I invented the religion was because I needed the mother of this child to be from some kind of sect or almost cult like religion where maybe her last experience with rock and roll was in the school gymnasium when she was like- 1967. Now it's 1977 and she's been cloistered for 10 years and doesn't realize how far rock and roll has come in that decade. The kid ends up being a, prodigy drummer who also performs miracles when he drums. So as he's backstage, John Bonham finds him, the drummer from Led Zeppelin, and he picks up a pair of sticks and plays something on a drum that's sitting in the green room, and John Bonham gives up booze, like that. This is the premise, there's this concert. So he grows up, becomes a part of a rock band. And of course people want to hear the rock band play because they could experience miracle, but it's also just great. He's a prodigy. He's a fantastic drummer. And, I wanted the rock band to be fascinated by some weird, reclusive back in the eighties, vanity publishing, Kermit type of writer. And that's where Satchel Pong and the great migration was born. So I've been working on this work in progress, so that's full circle, right? I've been working on this work in progress for eight or nine years. I wrote the first 85 percent of the first Satchel Pong book and came back and then worked on this other project for a year and came back and read it. And I was like, this is 85 percent done. And it's a kind of cool, I think I'll finish this book. And then there'll be an actual book in existence that Zeke's, Zeke is the character, his rock band can refer to this steampunk novel in their songs. And then. Then I can write snippets of songs, but it's about Satchel Pong. Next thing I knew I had five Satchel Pong books and the other book wasn't done. So that's a long way around how I ended up writing five Satchel Pong books so that I could write this one other one.

BETH BARANY:

I love it. You're interconnecting your worlds and that's something that I really love to do too. So as we're wrapping up here, do you have any tips for writers, whether it's about specifically writing science fiction or fantasy, or whether it's about the writing life? What is one tip you can, we can leave with the writers today from

ADAM FLEMING:

you? Yeah, it really has to do with, I wrote a post on our publishing company's, Facebook page the other day, and I can't remember it verbatim, but it has something to do with the idea that each of us are extremely unique, and it's very easy to look at others and compare yourself and say, I'm not as good as Madeline L'Engle, or I don't have the vocabulary of so and so, or I'll never be able to come up with the ideas that Beth does, or whatever it is, right? It's so easy to compare ourselves with other people. My friends all say, Adam, you're just a machine, like you're always putting out a new book. and that's because I don't worry about whether my book is good enough or, better than so and so, or if I have a big enough vocabulary. I think we hit on it earlier. The whole idea that you're writing from your unique life experiences. You're just like a snowflake. You're completely-not in the bad way. That people are using it now. you're this, completely unique, the crystallization of your ideas and experiences, come out in a unique way that no one else will do. Whether they have a bigger vocabulary or more well traveled or have more life experiences, I think the idea that you have to suffer to make great art is baloney. So if you haven't suffered, that doesn't mean that you can't write an amazing story. Don't tell yourself I haven't this, or I haven't that, or I don't have that, I'm not good at this, or I'm not good at that, because you're just, putting yourself in handcuffs and, just have to ignore all those voices that say all those things and say, I have a story to tell. So I'm going to tell that story. And if you want to write fan fiction and don't let people tell you, that's unoriginal or whatever, just write fanfiction. If you want to write something really unique, that's fine too. I think that's my primary tip that I just want to tell everybody. Stop thinking about what other people are doing, and do your thing. Do your thing. Oh, there we go! Hey! Do your thing! Do the thing! Do your thing!

BETH BARANY:

Do the thing! Yeah, he says do the thing, but really it's do your thing.

ADAM FLEMING:

Yeah. Yeah. Do the thing or do your thing and everything else will work itself out. That's my take.

BETH BARANY:

I love it. I love it. Adam, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I really enjoyed chatting with you about art and creativity and storytelling and, doing the

ADAM FLEMING:

thing. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me, Beth. It was wonderful. Always great to talk to you. And hey, if anybody out there wants to correspond with me, please do not be afraid. I would love to hear from you. And, check out my books,

BETH BARANY:

Yeah, check out Adam's books Your main link will be in our show notes. Send fan mail to Adam, read his books, check out his awesome series. All right. Thanks so much, Adam. That's it for this week, everyone. Please like, and subscribe and leave a review. We love to hear from our listeners. And if you would like to be a guest on how to write the future, please contact me through. How to write the future.com and let me know. why you would be a good guest for our show and for our listeners. And one last thing. The world needs your stories. So please. Write long and prosper.