On Saturday Jan 5th, I wrote the first 1,100 words of my next book. More important is the fact that they are the first manuscript words I've written in 5 years!
Why am I writing again? Well, I have been outlining dozens of stories, and tweaking them over and over, but nothing really jumped out at me, at least enough to force me to "make" the time to write. With a full-time job in science and raising two kids, I simply don't have the free writing time I used to. Then I finally settled on one particular story that takes place on a distant ocean planet (I'm an oceanographer so it made sense to "write what you know") and I began outlining what was going to be a series of short stories or novelettes. I've been tweaking that outline for over three months and two weeks ago I thought I had a perfect 8-story arc completed.
Then this past week I had a major brainstorm and slashed some of the middle "filler" stories and merged some of the others, to come up with a 4-part story (actually 5 parts counting a stand-alone prequel story I want to write) that is very tight, action-packed, full of deception and mystery, and yet centers on one man's struggles to deal with both his tortured past and his troubling present. It is also an "epic" story in that it deals with the very survival of humanity in the distant future.
In addition there is a subtle "moral" to the story--which follows some of my own rather liberal beliefs--that of the importance of embracing differences in people and of not fearing change. I know so many people who distrust anyone of a difference skin color or background, and others who live in fear of tomorrow and what it may bring, and I just wanted my story to discuss those subjects without preaching.
I also like that I came up with a survival story that takes place not in a stereotypical post-holocaust "dystopian" future, but rather a utopian world that has just gone wrong from neglect and is now falling apart. It is actually a play on the word "Utopia" which many believe means an ideal place, but literally means, "an imaginary and indefinitely remote place."
So anyway, there I was, Saturday afternoon, realizing that I no longer had a valid excuse to keep me from starting down the path to bringing this epic story to life. So I just started the simple act of putting fingers to keys and the story just flowed out of me and onto the computer screen. It was almost magic!
At long last I am heading down the writer's path again, and it looks to be an arduous, and yet adventurous one!
I'll keep you posted as I go...