Phil MacNeal, a senior communication studies major, recently self-published his book, Rift. The science fiction novel, available as an eBook and in a Kindle book format on Amazon, follows the futuristic story of Jason Slate, a low-ranking employee of a corporation overseen by a dysfunctional government who finds himself involved in resistance efforts. MacNeal wrote Rift throughout his time at Klein College of Media and Communication, but crafting the book was far from his only commitment; in addition to maintaining high academic marks, he is also a member of Temple University's men's crew team.
MacNeal first conceptualized Rift after deciding to take creative writing courses through Temple's College of Liberal Arts. There, he fleshed out ideas that served as the basis of the book while he juggled smaller writing ideas. He worked on combining original stories of three fictional nations that eventually turned into the one featured in Rift. He decided to pursue the ideas that inspired the book, though he never shared them in his creative writing classes.
"I thought about it like, 'Do I really want to commit to this?'" he says. "But I figured why not, I didn't have anything to lose, so I'll just take my time with this."
MacNeal solidified his routine during the three summers he had after his spring semesters. Writing the book was one of his top priorities: he woke up, knocked out a considerable amount of writing — sometimes before he even ate breakfast — and, despite crew training and other commitments, kept that consistency every day. When he reached a dry spell halfway through the book, he created an outline to keep the ideas flowing. He says that perseverance is what helps him push through writer's block.
"Having the discipline from rowing just helped me create a structure for myself," he says. "I kind of looked at it as no different than a training program. You carve out a specific time during the day and you get it done. And once you start doing it enough it'll just become natural: and it did."
MacNeal also designed the book's cover, handled designing the payment options, and uploaded the content to Amazon. Besides having close family and friends look over the book and provide suggestions, the project was self-generated. His love for science fiction and his desire to express himself motivated him to make this project, his vision, a reality.
To purchase Rift, visit www.amazon.com