Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Fine Art of Balance by Stephen Zimmer, Author of Dream of the Navigator (Faraway Saga, Book 1) ~ #YA @sgzimmer

Please welcome author, Stephen Zimmer, to the blog today!

The Fine Art of Balance

A look at the cover of Dream of the Navigator will give you a hint of one of the main challenges that I had in writing this kind of story. The cover artist, Enggar Adirasa, did an amazing job in representing the central conflict between two visions for humanity that are present in this tale; one vision where people are controlled by technology and at the whim of elite masters, and another where each and every person is freed to explore, grow, and attain their highest potential.

It is a story that demands balance, from balance the philosophical visions, to balance in the atmospheres portrayed, to balance in the structure itself. It is a delicate path to take as a writer, especially when you are bringing in elements of several genres within the overall narrative.

One primary area of balance is walking the fine line between the presence of hope and light, on one hand, and the warnings and dangers surrounding the darkness that takes form within the hi-tech world found in the technates.

This particular series requires an atmosphere that has to present a threat and a sense of danger throughout, without those elements becoming too suffocating or heavy-handed. Likewise, there needs to be a different world presented that the reader sees as worth fighting for, an alternate realm to strive for that gives motivation and hope to some of the characters featured.

Even more challenging, the narrative has to teeter on more nihilistic, hopeless edges at times to drive the plot tension. Yet the light elements have to pull the story back from those edges while the overall conflict remains unresolved, so that the entire story does not descend into the kind of fatalistic tone that is common in a lot of dystopian literature. Telling the story in a series of character threads helps with this, as one thread can be immersed in a dark place while another thread can lift the reader back up and give them a reinvigorating breath of air in a place like Faraway or the Artist’s private realm.

Another area requiring a fine line of balance is between creating a compelling sense of realism, especially when it comes to the experience of the near futuristic setting, and the opening of the reader’s imagination to all kinds of atmospheres when exploring the realms beyond the physical world. This area centers upon the juxtaposition in this series between the outright dystopian aspects of the narrative and the more fantastical ones.

The technate-system presented in this story has to live and breathe in a way where the reader can envision themselves living a daily physical life within it. Daily routines, common activities, interactions in public, and all kinds of things within the daily life of the main characters have to be demonstrated, with the pervasive hi-tech system, and its relentless monitoring, measuring, and rationing, undergirding it all.

The unfolding of the exploration of non-physical realms (in addition to other universes) might not have the same technological elements, but it also must life and breathe in a way that makes it believable to the reader. The use of dreams, and the way dreams are used, in this story is one way to connect a reader to the believability of these non-physical experiences.

Ultimately, the contrast between the physical world and the non-physical world is a stark, profound one, and making certain that both come alive to the reader most certainly involves a careful balancing act.

Balance is also needed for the way in which the story is structure. Following two teenage girls and two teenage boys, in four primary character threads that intertwine to form a greater narrative, there is a very natural balance to the text.

Leaning too heavily in the direction of one of the threads risks the possibility of throwing this balance off. I found it very important to step back and think about the right places to shift perspectives, and flow between Jaelynn, Cayden, Haven, and Salvador. This can get a little trickier in situations where more than one of them appear in the same section, but as long as I maintain the balance in following each of their personal perspective, the overall structure is maintained.

Maintaining balance is truly a fine art when it comes to writing a story of this type. It requires me to be conscious of what needs to be kept in balance, at all times, which adds another layer of discipline to the writing of a multi-faceted, cross-genre novel like Dream of the Navigator. Yet the reward is well worth it, in my view, as the end result is the kind of tale that can be rewarding and enjoyable for many different kinds of readers. 

Dream of the Navigator Blog Tour August 15-22, 2018 
"1984 and Brave New World meets Narnia" in this exciting new young adult release from award-wining author Stephen Zimmer. Four main characters begin their journeys in the Faraway Saga, a tale that invites readers to explore infinite horizons! We are celebrating this new release with a full blog tour featuring reviews, interviews, video contents, guest posts and top ten lists!

About Dream of the Navigator: 

"1984 and Brave New World meets Narnia" Cities have been replaced by technates. It is a world of soaring apartments, hundreds of stories high, where technology measures, monitors and rations to meet the needs of the greater populace. It is a world of drones, in the air and on the ground, and advanced robotic beings who carry out much of the harder labor, security, and even pleasure assignments. Those discontent, or who resist, are taken to Rehabilitation Centers, established after the embrace of the Greater Good Doctrine. For most, virtual realms, substances, and entertainment provide escapes, but for Haven, Cayden, Jaelynn, and Salvador, growing up in Technate 6 is a restless existence. A hunger for something more gnaws inside each of them. Discoveries await that open the gates to transcend time and space, and even new planes of existence. Nothing in their universe, or others, is impossible to explore. What was once reality, now seems like an illusion in a deepening experience. Begin the journey to Faraway, in Dream of the Navigator, the first book of the Faraway Saga! 

About the Author: 

Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels and novellas (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), the Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre). Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot. Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family. 

Author Links: 

Twitter: @sgzimmer 
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7 

Tour Schedule and Activities:

8/15 Sheila's Guests and Reviews https://Sheiladeeth.blogspot.com Guest Post 
8/15 Jorie Loves A Story https://jorielovesastory.com Review 
8/16 MyLifeMyBooksMyEcape https://mylifemybooksmyescape.wordpress.com Author Interview 
8/17 Ravenous for Reads https://www.ravenousforreads.com Author Interview 
8/17 Will Read For Booze https://www.willreadforbooze.com Top Ten List 
8/17 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn https://saraheglenn.blogspot.com/ Guest Post 
8/18 The Book Lover's Boudoir https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpress.com/ Review 
8/19 Jazzy Book Reviews http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com VLog 
8/19 Robin's Book Spot https://robinsbookspot.blogspot.com Review 
8/20 Soul Meets Books https://soulmeetsbooks.wordpress.com Review 
8/21 Sapphyria's Books https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/ Guest Post 
8/22 Literature Approved http://literatureapproved.com Review 
8/22 Jorie Loves A Story https://jorielovesastory.com Video Interview Amazon 

Links for Dream of the Navigator: