Guest Post: Margaret Fieland and writing Geek Games

Today I’m joined by Margaret Fieland. She discusses the writing process (or chain of events) that led to her soon-to-be released YA science fiction novel, Geek Games. As a writer, I still find it interesting to read about other writers’ processes, and I have to give my thoughts about one piece of this. Margaret mentions a fact she discovered about one of her characters, something she did not know when she started writing the story. In my opinion, this is the best part about writing, and I encourage everyone to write a story, even if you have no intention of letting anyone else read it, just so you can experience this. Now, before I spoil the post, I better turn it over to Margaret.

Writing Geek Games

When I wrote Relocated  for 2010 Nano, my only goal was to overcome my phobia about science fiction world building. As a long-time science fiction fan, I’d read reams of the stuff but had managed to avoid writing any. In September of 2010, I decided to remedy that. I spent about six weeks planning, mostly in the world building, and wrote the first draft of the novel in a month. It took me quite a bit longer to revise it, and I submitted it to MuseItUp Publishing. It was published in July of 2011.

Starting fairly early in 2011, I wrote what would, after several major revisions, become Broken Bonds.  In the late fall, when I was still struggling with it, I decided to start another YA sci fi novel. I chose Martin Samuels, one of the secondary characters from Relocated, as the main character. I wrote the first draft for 2011 Nano, and then started revising. The whole thing went a great deal more smoothly than Broken Bonds had. I completed both novels and submitted them. Geek Games, the YA sci fi novel, will be published on Nov. 29th. It takes place right after the action of Relocated,  and some four years before Broken Bonds. Martin does appear in the latter novel as well.

Because Geek Games used an existing character and because I decided to use the novel to tie up a few loose ends from Relocated, Martin’s age was fixed at just shy of fifteen. Martin, who to my surprise turned out to be gay, becomes involved in a romance with another boy. My concept of the relationship, and of what happens to Martin after the book ends, changed as I worked on both Geek Games  and Broken Bonds. Fortunately, I decided not to submit Broken Bonds until I was ready to submit Geek Games also. I was uncomfortable, for no reason that I could point to at the time, about submitting a novel that took place four or five years after the one I was working on.

I’ve just completed the first draft of another adult sci fi noel, one which takes place right after Broken Bonds, and I’ve started plotting out another YA novel, one which takes place right after Geek Games  — so far, anyway. I can see I’ll have to give a bit on my penchant for linearity, so I’m guessing I’ll be ready to submit the adult novel before the other is ready.

In case you’re wondering, back when we all still rented movies by dashing into the video store, I would start looking for flics starting with A. Then I discovered I’d overlooked the latest — at the time — Star Trek movie, so I started alternating by starting with Z and working backwards. I’m not particularly well-organized, nor am I particularly neat, but I am fairly linear. Each crazily obsessive person is obsessive in their own way.

And now a question for you readers. What do you think of flashbacks? For or against? How about novels that weave threads from two different time periods?  I’m not a fan of either.

Geek Games 333x500Blurb:

When fourteen-year-old Martin lets Tom, a charismatic bully, persuade him to bring down the spaceport computer network, he never considers someone will place a bomb resulting in the death of his friend’s father. Nothing will bring Captain Frey back, but if Martin can help locate the terrorists’ drug lab, perhaps he’ll be able to forgive himself.


“Are we able to wash up?” I asked after the all clear sounded. “I stink.”

“Come on,” Beram said. “I’ll show you the shower.”

“Come on, Alan, you too.”

Alan climbed down, and we followed Beram to the end of the corridor. A shower proved to be a popular idea, as the rest of the crew assembled behind us. Low laughter reached my ears, and I turned around.

“What do you bet they both run off?” Gamal asked in Aleyni.

Suresh threw an arm around Gamal’s shoulder and planted a big kiss on his mouth. A grin split his face as he glanced at me.

Some joke. Ha, ha. I was laughing my head off—not. Sure, he wanted to make me and Alan uncomfortable. Expected us to be uncomfortable. None of the Aleynis displayed either surprise or disgust, and my gut clenched. My father would have backhanded me if I’d kissed a man in his presence. I would have given every last credit I possessed, assuming I owned any, to make my father react the way the Aleynis did.

Gamal’s gaze bored into me, eyebrows raised, waiting for some kind of response, but the Aleyni word assembly line broke down, and my brain froze solid.

Here’s something weird. Or maybe not; I don’t know. When I spoke Aleyni, I needed to think in Aleyni, so sometimes my thoughts would stop because I couldn’t yet formulate the thought in the alien language.

Hoping to unstop the dam, I opened my mouth to tell him he could go ahead and kiss all the men he wanted, with or without me around. No go. Pathetic.

Gamal touched the door, and it retracted into the wall, revealing a synglass-coated chamber with shower heads suspended from the walls and ceiling and a spigot on one wall.

After a minute, the log jam eased up. Showers were a much safer topic than kissing guys. “How does it work?”

“You soap up, then steam to rinse off.” Beram grinned, his gaze traveling up and down first my body, and then Alan’s. “I’ll show you. The shower is big enough for three. In order to save water, we shower two or three at a time.”

Alan gulped and backed away from the door. “I’ll pass.” He ran down the corridor.

“How about you?” Beram asked.

Inside my head, the vidi of me and Beram naked together in the steamy shower played two or three times. I nodded. “Who goes first?”

Suresh grinned.“You two may have the honor of the first shower this time.”

Gamal crossed his arms and stared at me.

Remove my clothes here, with Gamal and Suresh eager to examine my every move? The air stuck in my throat. They’d have a clear view of my naked body’s reaction to Beram.

Gamal poked Suresh with his elbow and whispered something in his ear.

I’d probably been broadcasting my thoughts again. But lust overcame my fear, and Beram and I stripped and stepped into the shower. We soaped up, and I couldn’t help staring. Beram’s smooth skin showed no body hair at all.

“No Aleyni has body hair,” he said. “You didn’t realize?”

I shook my head. “How would I?” Did he find body hair repulsive? Mildly distasteful? Intriguing, the way I found his smooth skin?

Beram touched a control on the wall and blasts of steam washed us clean. While I hesitated, wondering what to do, Beram pulled my head toward him and kissed me. I kissed him back.

His warm lips pressed against mine, smooth and soft. I breathed in the fragrance of citrus soap and musk, Beram’s odor and mine. Our mouths were closed, and it lasted only a moment, but the universe tilted; and when it tilted back, everything changed.

No question remained: I loved men, always would. Period, end of sentence. The recognition started in my gut, in the center of my body, and radiated outwards.

I took a step back and grinned at Beram. He placed a hand on the side of my face, only for a moment. It was the most intimate thing I’d ever experienced .

Gamal and Suresh waited outside the shower, both leaning against the wall and grinning. Suresh poked Gamal, whispering something like, “Pay up.”


My Author page on the MuseItUp website, with links to all three of my sci fi novels:

Amazon author page:







15 responses to “Guest Post: Margaret Fieland and writing Geek Games

  1. Hi Margaret!
    1. I like flashbacks, as long as they enhance the story rather than break its flow.
    2. I love it when two time periods are woven together in a novel.
    3. I really love it when a character takes me someplace unexpected.
    Best of luck with all of your books!


    • Hi Heather. Yes, a flashback has to enhance the story. Of course, it’s a reasonable argument that everything, even down to individual words, has to enhance the story… especially in YA.

      In my book, I used flashbacks to fill in the back story without having a character tell it all. In the book, Cedric tells stories to Owen and Yara, but we, as the reader, jump to a narrative with Cedric as the main character (Owen is the MC of the book). This filled the book with action scenes, and made sure I didn’t write, first we did this, then we did that, then we… zzzzzz. I got the idea from Stephen King’s Wizard and Glass. Almost the entire book is back story told that way. I didn’t go to such an extreme, but I did need a way to work in a large amount of significant events from the past, so the reader could understand the characters actions in the present. Wow. OK, sorry. I guess I should have written my own blog post about this.


  2. Hi Margaret, I enjoyed your post. I don’t mind flashbacks or the dual time periods. I’ve read some good books containing both.
    I admire you for being able to write scifi; I don’t think I could. Congrats on all your books and WIPs.
    I’m looking forward to your WVU topic chat in December.


    • Thanks, Leona. I know I should focus more on YA here, but I’ll throw some examples out from my old faithful, Stephen King, again. “It” and the unofficial followup “Dreamcatcher” (same town with overlapping characters/storylines) are both good examples of books that take place over dual time periods. We see the characters as kids, and the events they went through that make them into the adults they are. And we see how these adults handle their problems based on what they went through as children.


  3. I’m not a Faulkner fan — the flashback aspect didn’t bother me. My most unfavorite thing is a sci fi novel — I forget the title and author — that is telling two stories, one several hundred years after the other, with alternating chapters. I did like the book, but found the way the author wove the two threads together *very annoying*.


  4. Maggie, I’ve used flashbacks, too. A few allow the author to provide background information that is necessary to understand the story. But too many stop the action. I think you do this very well in both your YA and Adult stories.


  5. Hey, Margaret. I gotta say, I’m a linear person and I find what you’re doing with you’re writing crazy. How do you keep it straight. I’ve started the second book in a series. I haven’t sent the first one in yet. So glad since I keep finding things that have to be changed there to work in the second book.
    I admire you’re world-building too. I write more concrete, current day stories. They are hard enough. I already know the language. LOL
    As to movies–I either start with A and go to Z or reverse.
    I’m glad you’re writing a YA book with a lead gay character. I think it’s important everyone gets to read about themselves in books. At one time all the books in an elementary school showed only white children. That’s been changing for at least 15 years or so. One of those better late than never things.
    I like prologues. As Eric mentioned it allows you to give some back story in an action mode. Flashbacks are okay. I usually do something like that in a dream rather than a straight flashback. I guess that’s basically the same kind of thing.
    Interesting post. Fun to learn how others write. We’re all different.


    • Thanks Marsha. I never know the names of movies, so I’m always the guy going, “I want that movie, with that guy, that was in that movie, that was out last year.” And no, the writing in my book is not like this statement–just to clear it up now.


  6. Pingback: Interview with Intriguing Sci-Fi Author, Margaret Fieland | Never Give Up by Joan Y. Edwards

  7. Pingback: Interview with Intriguing Sci-Fi Author and Editor, Margaret Fieland | Never Give Up by Joan Y. Edwards

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