My initial goal this year was to start writing my second novel on January 1st…well, 3 months down the line I still haven’t actually broken ground on it but I have been researching and note taking and thinking and sketching like a madman.
I’m very close to starting, I can feel it. I’m also realising that my researching is turning into procrastination which isn’t a good thing. I need to feel comfortable before I start and that means having an idea where I’m going, which means I need a vague idea of the end. It doesn’t matter if this changes as I go but I don’t feel mentally prepared if I set off with no idea of the character’s motivations, goals or the point of the book. Like going on a journey without knowing the destination, do I turn right or left as I leave the front door?
I submitted a short story to Strange Horizons, an online speculative fiction magazine, and reading their thorough submission guidelines was an education.
They have a great section called ‘Stories We’ve Seen Too Often‘ which details up to 37 plots which they’ve seen too many times.
Some of them are blatant no-brainers such as ‘it’s all a dream‘ or ‘you meet all your loved ones in Heaven‘. Others stress that stories revolve around characters and their motivations, not technology, politics, scenery and other inanimate objects.
Worringly, rape and violence against women is mentioned more than once.
Here’s the second chapter of my novel, Railroaded. As with the first chapter, it’s a little over 4,000 words.
You can read the first chapter here.
Isaac slowly stirred and pulled the duvet over his head and revelled in the silence. Isaac had avoided the temperature controlled bed since Nicole had passed away, a guilty pleasure. Sleeping at a constant temperature had never fully agreed with him but it was a compromise as Nicole also wanted the media display playing in the background to help her get to sleep. This was something Isaac couldn’t abide, he required absolute silence to drift away so the display used to be switched off whilst the bed maintained a constant two degree’s above body temperature. Now everything was unplugged.