Where It All Came From

February 10, 2011

Today we have a guest post from Nobilis Reed. When you ask most authors where they get their ideas from you’re liable to get an eye-roll. Thankfully in this case we get some honesty. Nobilis takes us through the process he went through in bringing about his latest sci-fi romance novel, Scouts (adult content).

The genesis of the “Scouts” novel was a single idea. “What if the secret to faster-than-light travel was to harness the seven deadly sins?” The inspiration came to me one afternoon, and the first thing I did (as I always do when these inspirations strike) was take out my little “idea notebook” and start jotting down bits and pieces associated with the idea. What if each of the seven deadlies produced its own sort of travel? What if each different technology was embraced by a different alien race? What if…

The ‘what ifs’ soon began to dominate the page. Soon, there was far too much to cover in the scope of a single novel. I started paring it down, focusing on the parts that made the most sense to me, merging and connecting the parts that seemed to be related. I decided that there would only be three sorts of FTL travel, not seven. The first would be slow, but usable on the largest ships; a “warp” drive that changed the quality of the space around the ship. The second would be
a “hyperspace” drive that encased the ship in a spacetime bubble to isolate it from the real world somewhat, that would allow it to go much faster. The last would be a “jump” drive that would open a gate between where the ship was and where it was going.to allow near-instantaneous travel. To these three drives, I assigned a few of the deadly sins, namely avarice, anger and lust, and I had my foundation idea.

Given that this is how FTL travel works, how might a galactic culture emerge? I decided that if information is power, then the people with access to the fastest communications would be able to take charge. I invented a “Scout” branch of the military to handle that job. And since I write erotica, focusing on that service for my first book was a natural choice.

With the setting begun, it was time to create characters. Since I wanted to explore this universe I was creating, I wanted my main character to be naive to it, so that he would learn about it along with the reader. Thus was created Challers Dizen, young Scout cadet. He’s the equivalent of the fairy tale farmboy, from no where in particular, caught up in a story much larger than he is. I gave him a girlfriend, Valka, and a mentor, Shirley. These also started off as fairy tale archetypes; specifically, Shirley was the knowledgeable elder, the guide who tells the hero what he has to do to finish his quest. These archetypes would become true characters later, when I had worked out the plot in more detail.

Finally, I needed a problem to be overcome, a challenge to be faced. For a romance novel, that obstacle is almost always something that holds the hero and heroine apart. I decided, in this case, that there would be two challenges; the ‘external’ and ‘internal’ conflicts. The internal conflict was my hero’s struggle to adapt his feelings and prejudices to the radically different culture of the Scouts. The external conflict would be uncovering the truths that the Scouts would rather keep hidden. When Challers had learned what he needed to learn, he would have the tools necessary for a deeper relationship with Valka.

And with that, the necessary pieces were ready, for me to start writing. I had a setting, characters, and plot; beginning, middle, and end. It wasn’t an outline, but it was enough.


A few years ago Nobilis Reed decided to start sharing the naughty little stories he scribbled out in hidden notebooks. To his surprise, people actually liked them! Now, he can’t stop. The poor man is addicted. His wife, teenage children, and even the cats just look on this wretch of a man, hunched over his computer and shake their heads. Clearly, there is no hope for him. The best that can be hoped for is to just make him as comfortable as his condition will allow. Symptoms of his condition include a novel, several novellas, numerous short stories, and the longest-running erotica podcast in the history of the world.

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