Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kerry Downing - Time Slice - Guest Post

My thanks to Kerry Downing for stopping by The Plot Thickens for a guest post during the blog tour for his book, Time Slice.

Guest Post

What is a plot, you ask? Good question, astute reader! I had to look up the exact definition myself and here’s one of the many that I found:


A plot is a series of linked events concerning a character who urgently wants something important that won't be easy to get. The events should reach a satisfactory conclusion.

Over the years, I’ve read a number of books that try to help an aspiring author figure out what a plot is and how to plot their story. I’ve tried it, but it’s never worked for me. To be truthful, it takes all the enjoyment out of writing. And if there’s no enjoyment in telling the story the way that only you can tell it, why even bother? If everything has to be figured out before you begin, it feels less like a creative endeavor and more like homework.

Granted, I’ve only got two books under my belt so I’m far from an expert, but I can tell you what I’ve found so far.

In my first novel, The Collective, I thought I had all of the major events of the story plotted out. They were carefully laid out and written down in a nice outline. Event one happens which causes event two, and so on, all the way up to the final, climactic event. Once I started writing, however, not all of the events still fit with what the characters were becoming. My characters were taking on a life of their own, making their own cause and effect as the story unfolded. I kept revising the plot as I went along. In fact, I think I was revising the plot all the way up until the last day or two of writing. It wasn’t so much of an outline of what I was going to do as it was a recap of what I had done. The final story looked nothing like what I had envisioned.

When I began Time Slice I just started writing. I had the kernel of the story (the strange device that my main character would find that would allow him to travel in the time stream) but really nothing else. I let the characters manufacture the cause and effect for me, just like what happens in real life. It was much more enjoyable and, I think, resulted in a better novel.

I’d like to make one more point before I end, related to the final portion of the definition of plot listed earlier: The events should reach a satisfactory conclusion. To me, this means the story should end logically. There shouldn’t be any huge, surprise twist at the end that the reader had no way of knowing about. The story may not end the way the reader wishes, but the ending should fit with the rest of the story. And, if it happens to also be a happy ending, so much the better.

About the Book
Time Slice

Book Details:
Price: $14.95 paperback, $4.95 ebook
Format: paperback, ebook
Published: June 2011
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781603818520
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble,
Kindle, Nook, Smashwords

Ordinary People. Extraordinary Adventures. Science Fiction with Heart.

Newly retired workaholic Roy Washburn is not ready for a life of leisure. On a trip to the mall with his wife, he finds a small metal cylinder with odd markings. One nudge of the cylinder's triangle-shaped pointer and Roy finds himself embarking on an exciting new adventure in the Time Stream.

There he meets The Traveler, a tall, gangly being who shows Roy how to use the cylinder to visit other civilizations that co-exist on "his" Earth, each occupying a different, thin Time Slice. The Traveler solicits Roy's help in recovering an object invented by his murdered father and beyond his own reach. Roy is his last hope.

At first it seems that the Traveler's wish might be easily granted. But after Roy's wife Emily becomes ill and his daughter's long-held resentments rise to the surface, he can no longer "travel" at a moment's notice. He also discovers the very real physical and mental risks involved in roaming the Time Stream.

Despite the dangers, Roy is determined to help the Traveler. But he can't do it alone. Fortunately he has a loving wife and a core group of loyal friends. But first he must convince them--and his daughter--that he isn't crazy ...

About the Author
Kerry Downing

Kerry Downing set out to become a meteorologist, but was hooked by the world of computers instead, becoming a systems analyst and programmer. Astronomy and science fiction are his passions. He’s been gazing at the stars at all hours of the night since the age of 10, when he received his first telescope. As for science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke and his brand of “it really seems as if it could happen” has always been his favorite. In the 90s, Kerry found the third love of his life: his wife, Lucy. They live in St. Louis, Missouri, with their five children. Time Slice is Kerry’s second science-fiction novel. His self-published, debut work is The Collective.

Connect with Kerry:
Web Site

About the Tour

Tribute Books Blog Tours

Time Slice Blog Tour Site

Tour Participants:

February 1
Crazed Mind

February 1
The Book Connection (author interview)

February 2
Heidi Ruby Miller - Just a Girl (author interview)

February 2
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (author interview)

February 3
Live to Read

February 4
Feeding My Book Addiction

February 5
Book Lover's Hideaway

February 5
Red Adept Reviews

February 6
Peace Love Books

February 7
My Tower of Books

February 7
Sapphyria's Book Reviews

February 8
Carabosse's Library

February 9
Book Dragon's Lair

February 9
Broken Teepee

February 9
Wakela's World

February 10
Flutey Words

February 13
Bibliophilic Book Blog

February 14
City Girl Who Loves to Read (author interview/guest post)

February 15
Book Junkie

February 15
The Plot Thickens (author interview/guest post)

February 16
Adventures of Frugal Mom

February 17
The Prissy Book Snob

February 17
The Wormhole

February 18
Minding Spot

February 20

February 21
Livre De Amour (Books of Love)

February 21
vvb32 reads (guest post)

February 23
Mom in Love with Fiction

February 24
Mom Reads My Books

February 25
The Bookshelf Review

February 27
Celtic Lady's Reviews

February 28
Mission to Read

February 28
The Character Connection


  1. Hi, and thanks for putting my ideas about Plot on your blog. I appreciate it! :-)

    1. Kerry, I'm glad you had fun with it. Glad to host you!

  2. Thanks Carol for hosting Kerry today. I really like what he had to say about letting his characters decide where the plot is going - very cool.