Lawrence L. Lapin
My professional writing career began in textbooks. While in my twenties, I launched the first book, Statistics for Modern Business Decisions. About twenty-five years would pass until I began the first novel, a rough version of what would become Adam… Forever. I devoted much of the last twenty tumultuous years re-writing Adam’s story, gradually bringing the original into its present form.
My forte in textbooks was pedagogy, and I received great praise for clearly explaining statistics, a much feared and least-favored topic for so many. I endeavored to make that subject easier and more relevant. At the same time, my comprehensive coverage included less common topics, such as nonparametric procedures and Bayesian decision making. Most effort went to developing good examples and providing meaningful problems and cases. Those illustrations would much closer to fiction than the mathematical discourse, and some passages even had conversation.
I was shocked that readers found my early novel drafts to be much like textbooks, reflecting my tendency to explain and analyze every idea. As a professor it had always been second nature to give running commentaries. My modus operandi was (1) “telling what I was going to say,” (2) “saying it,” and finally (3) summarizing it all by “telling again what I said before.”
Although most novel readers liked Adam’s story line, things did not flow smoothly. Readers were annoyed by my tendency to “tell” what was happening instead of “showing” it. Bored with stilted analysis and all-too-frequent hints about coming attractions, some readers abandoned my drafts. Though very logical, my early fiction lacked suspense. I had gotten nowhere in finding a decent literary agent. (Although, some took my money while going through the motions of representation).
Fortunately, I did acknowledge those shortcomings. Though, my awakening was very late in the game, I vowed to repair my novels. But first I would make them into screenplays. The adaptation of my first novel provided important lessons about story telling.
A most useful lesson was getting a screenplay short enough. That is a challenge, since a typical novel would literally equate to a ten or twenty-hour-long movie. Shortcuts must be taken, and dialog must be pared to a bare minimum. The whole thing must be shrunken. As I reduced word count, I replaced much descriptive verbiage with sketchy scenes. (Such depictions will ultimately be perfected by the director and film crew rather than the screen writer.) Over and over again, I imagined what picture might replace my novel’s proverbial thousand-word equivalent.
I found that the greatest difference between any novel and its later screenplay is story-telling itself. After adapting my novel, I was well-prepared to go back and rewrite the book. I began that first rewrite by replacing clunky “verbal pictures” with carefully crafted word “drawings.”
Perhaps the most important lesson for me was realizing that, like good movies that connect viewers at an emotional level, gut-level appeal made good novels too. It also became obvious that remaking my “sow’s-eared” tome into a potential best-selling “silk purse” required keeping things simple. Thus, not every possible plot twist would be needed in the final rewrite.
I knew exactly what to do. For instance, early drafts of that first novel had snared hero Adam Boatwright in a murder. He was not only falsely accused of the crime, but he was compelled to solve it himself. Police work would be too slow for my Adam, who couldn’t tolerate delaying his cancer-cure experiment.
I repaired the story by simplifying things, so that Adam helped police solve that murder without him even being a suspect. I made many such alterations and left some things unexplained. I would allow readers to fill in many holes, enabling them to mentally nod in amazement and move on. They would not be taking a final exam. They could understand as little or as much as they felt fit. (We can appreciate Star Trek stories without having to understand warp speed, which may indeed be impossible to achieve.)
Textbook writing and novel authoring are both art forms. They have different objectives with lots of similarities. My career trajectory from one to the other was painful and inefficient. I had been too-successful as a textbook author to easily overcome my early hubris from “knowing it all” about writing.
At the time of this posting, the following four books comprise the Adam’s Chronicles series, with more to be added.
Adam’s story is always brought up to date in fresh ways, so that books in this series may be read in any order.
The following book is the series prequel and may be read independently.
All of the above are available at Amazon as Kindle E-Books.
What Others Say About This Series
Awesome story of restoration of Earth—an epic novel, one that shall never be forgotten. Dr. Lapin is truly gifted as a story teller. … Powerful, fast page turning story. Highly recommend—Nancy of Utah, Amazon Reviewer.
Great book, it is the kind of book you can’t wait to read again—Sandra Potter, Amazon Reviewer.
I am fascinated by the quality of this book. … A wonderful blend of thrilling adventure, science fiction and romance. … It delivers on so many different levels. Well done—Dennis Waller, Top 500 Amazon Reviewer.
This story had every element … an exciting plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. Abundance of well-illustrated scenes. … had me immersed from the beginning. The story flows … with ease, and the author shows exceptional skill when it comes to storytelling. … Twists and turns in this page turner … make you want to read it non-stop. … Highly recommended—Piaras, Amazon Reviewer.
Phenomenal series offers elements of the thriller, mystery, science fiction, and romance genres. Dr. Lapin’s novels are exciting, with wonderfully developed characters and situations—Jada Ryker, Top 1,000 Amazon Reviewer.
Mad scientist or brave hero? … A murder mystery, medical thriller, and science fiction novel all rolled into one. I recommend it highly—Diane Rapp, Amazon Reviewer.
A fast paced story so plausible that I had trouble figuring the line where science fact and science fiction resides. … That credibility made the debate about the desirability of immortality real instead of fantasy. … An entertaining read—Capt’n Bob, Amazon Reviewer.