A Life-Long Quest for Truth

When I was eleven years old, I overheard my brother ask our dad if he believed in Atlantis, and something inside of me leapt with recognition. I knew, without any doubt, that there had once been a wondrous place called Atlantis, though I hadn’t any idea what or where that place might be. The very word seemed like a beacon, illuminating an incredible and mysterious past. Until then, I’d never heard of Atlantis, never even had a concept of lost civilizations, and yet, there it was . . . that instantaneous knowing.

(This recognition happened only one other time in my life, and that was when I met the man who would share more than three decades of my life, but that came years later, and only has a bearing on this story because he also shared my need for truth.)

I seemed to have an innate belief that great truths (and even lesser ones) were being kept from us, though this belief could have stemmed from my being a child, and much is kept from children, but still, I wanted to know. And so started a life-long quest for truth — the real truth, not the sketchy half-truths and self-serving lies we are taught to accept as fact, both in school and on the news.

There have been so many mysteries to study and to ponder: UFOs; the Kennedy assassinations; mysterious places such as the pyramids and Stonehenge; ancient, lost, and forgotten civilizations; the origins of mythology; historical truth; the war on gold; alchemy; who our true leaders are.

And there were many surprises. For example, when I first started delving into mysteries, I came across the idea of continental drift, that all the continents had once been connected and had drifted apart. At the time, it was only discussed in esoteric circles, because the scientific community did not recognize the validity of the theory. Years later, when revisiting the topic, I discovered that the theory of continental drift had become standard.

Another surprise came from the study of “The New World Order.” Those words have been bandied about for centuries, sort of a slogan for conspiracy researchers who were aware that the goal of many secret groups throughout the ages has been to develop a one world government — a new world order — and then George Bush used that very phrase. Shocked the heck out of me. But it shouldn’t have. Many once secret groups, such as the Council for Foreign Relations, have become mainstream.

But the biggest surprise came when all those mysteries, those fields of study began to converge. Some of the players in the Kennedy assassination drama, such as Guy Bannister and Fred Crisman, showed up in UFO literature. Modern technologies began to mirror mythological technology, such as plasma guns, fusion torches, weather manipulation.

The past emerged into the present, science merged into history and politics, and a larger picture took shape. Whether this big picture has any truth to it or is simply the result of a mind seeking patterns where none exist, doesn’t really matter, at least not to me, not any more. I never had an emotional stake in the resolution of the mysteries. I simply wanted to know the truth.

It does make a great story, though, the pattern of truth I found. At least, I hope it does. This lifetime of research into arcane subjects is the foundation of Light Bringer, my newest novel.

As for Atlantis, I have no idea if such a place by that name existed, but there is no doubt that civilization did not begin with us, that there have been many civilizations that rose to prominence and disappeared, leaving only traces of stone behind.

How do You Solve the Problem of Exposition in Your Writing?

“Exposition is a device for introducing characters, to provide setting, for creating tone, to explain ideas, to analyze background. Exposition should be immediately related to the event that causes its presence. The subject should be relevant to the circumstances, otherwise it’s a distraction that does not contribute.” -Leonard Bishop, Dare to Be a Great Writer

We all know enough about writing to understand that in today’s market, we need to keep exposition should to a minimum. Despite that, we often have to support our premises with facts or explain the reasoning behind that premise.

For my novel Light Bringer, I created a discussion group for people who believed in conspiracies. While each argued for his or pet conspiracy theory, sometimes quite humorously, I was able to expose an alternate view of history without having one character giving a long and boring lecture. The group also functioned as a cast to pull from whenever I needed a character to play a bit part.

For Daughter Am I, I created a character who loved to lecture. Though perhaps he told too much, it did go to character.

For A Spark of Heavenly Fire and More Deaths Than One, I had characters go in search of the information because I thought that if characters wanted the information badly enough, readers would also want the information and hence tolerate the intrusion of fact.

So how do you solve the problem of exposition? Do you dump it in all at once to get it over with? Do you parcel it out a bit at a time? Do you have one character tell another? Do you have a character seek it out? Do they read it somewhere, such as in an article or online? And how do you make it interesting for the reader?

My writing discussion group No Whine, Just Champagne on Gather.com will exchange ideas about exposition during our Live Discussion on Thursday, October 16 at 9:00pm ET. Hope to see you there!