Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Talking Story Prompts by @vscotttheauthor

by Veronica Scott 

One of the things I love most about writing is how you can give a group of authors the same story prompt – whether it’s one word, a phrase, a concept or a few common elements – and you’ll get as many different stories as there are people in the group. 

Sometimes in the various author groups I’ll see a new person posting something angsty about their totally unique story idea and their fear someone will steal it, so how can they have beta readers, critique partners, be edited, submit to publishers…I just want to say “bless your heart” (which is an old Southern saying – I lived in north Alabama for quite a few years), take a deep breath and relax. 

MAYBE you do indeed have the most revolutionary idea since sliced bread but most likely you have a variation on something that’s been done by many people, many times. What you have is your unique take on the concept, to be written in your voice, which will be cool and hopefully attract readers, but other people have no need to ‘steal’ the fundamental idea.

Now plagiarism and outright book pirating of course are always despicable, deplorable and illegal and a genuine concern for every published author. I pay the Blasty service a nice round sum yearly to ferret out pirates and ‘blast’ them. We all have to be vigilant as a community for these issues and thank goodness for readers who catch plagiarists and notify us.

But usually the novice author is worrying needlessly.

Although in fairness, I do have to say I’ve heard of two cases where someone alleged another author heard their concept, rushed to write a novel with the exact same concept and published first. I can’t speak to whether this actually occurred as the first author perceived it as happening, but even if it did, two cases out of the thousands of books published annually is pretty insignificant odds.

I’m in a group right now that’s voting on what the common elements will be for possibly 100 books!!! And I’m willing to bet all 100 will be very different stories.

We’ve done two Pets In Space anthologies and are on the third one now (for October release) and have had an amazing range of fun novellas based on pets, space and scifi romance.

The Great Space Race group, the Cosmic Cabaret authors and the Valos of Sonhadra novelists all generated totally different scifi romance adventures, working with their central concept. (If you haven’t read any of these, what are you waiting for???)

I profess to hate flash fiction, yet when a group blog I belong to decides to create FF, it’s always amazing to me that the words inspire me to write something completely out of my normal genres. I don’t know why but the last two times we did it, I wrote a contemporary fantasy and a Wild West romance. (Looks around the room) Who wrote THAT?! Couldn’t have been me! I think my Muse likes the palate clearing effects of FF, no matter how much she protests initially. (I should probably add they were 500-1000 word vignettes, not entire books, but I was tempted to keep going.)

So my latest series is based on a genetically engineered race of super soldiers. Hello,  Lora Leigh’s Breeds, Laurann Dohner’s New Species, the whole ‘ferals’ genre (which wow, those are some steamy stories – way off the chart for my sort of midrange steam factor as an author – I might read one every now and then but I can’t write them), Christine Feehan’s Ghostwalkers…the list goes on and on. (Psst, tell me your favorites if I’ve missed them here – always looking for new-to-me authors!)

My Badari warriors are created by aliens, in the far future, I’m having a blast writing them and playing with concepts…but they’re my take on the whole ‘genetically engineered’ plot device, written in my established Sectors scifi universe, in my voice, and hence unique to me.

The third book, JADRIAN, will be out at the end of May. I just finished the first draft of book four, DARIK. Starting GABE, book 5, today. In the meantime, here’s the blurb for AYDARR, the first book in the series.

The story: Jill Garrison, a maintenance tech at the Sectors Amarcae 7 colony, goes to sleep one night as usual only to wake up in her nightgown stranded in the middle of a forest on an unknown world. There’s no time to think as she’s stalked by carnivorous predators and rescued by genetically engineered warriors calling themselves the Badari. Turns out they and she, along with her whole colony, are now prisoners of the Khagrish, a ruthless race of alien scientists. Working for enemies of the Sectors, the Khagrish have created the Badari to be super soldiers.

Aydarr, the Badari alpha, isn’t sure he can trust Jill but his attraction to her is undeniable. He impulsively claims her as his mate to prevent her death at the hands of the Khagrish.

Can he continue to protect her from the experiments already underway? Will his claiming her put his pack in jeopardy from their alien masters?

As Jill searches for a way to rescue her fellow humans and get them all to safety, she finds herself falling for Aydarr, despite the secrets he’s keeping. She has a few of her own.

The situation becomes dire when Aydarr and his pack are sent offplanet on a mission, leaving Jill unprotected, prey for the senior scientist. Can she escape the experiments he has in mind for her? Will she be able to thwart the Khagrish plans and liberate humans and Badari alike? How will she and Aydarr reunite?

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Author Bio and Links:

USA Today Best Selling Author

“SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog

Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!

She was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”


  1. So much true. Thanks for the fun post!

  2. I would just like to add for the record that this post was written and submitted BEFORE the current unfortunate situation going on in Romancelandia over trademarks became known to me (and everyone else) so none of my comments here should be construed as referring to that in any way.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Cheryl Brooks wrote a series of books several years ago called Cat Star Chronicles, sci/fi, and the guys had feline DNA. Not sure if they were deliberate or naturally acquired. I really enjoyed them and they were quite hot! A new release is out later this year, where we meet the second generation.


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