I’m not a very ambitious person. In fact, I’m more or less living my dream right now. I’ve got a beautiful wife, two fantastic kids, and I’m out in the middle of nowhere with nobody around to bother me. Plus, I have an iPad. What else could anyone ask for?
Of course, having very little ambition doesn’t mean that I don’t have ANY ambition. One ambition that I do have is to write and publish a science fiction/fantasy novel. I believe I’ve blogged about this before, but it’s been on my mind lately, so I thought I’d write about it again. Why not, right?
I’m going to say up front that I have a project that I’ve been working on for some time, but I’m not going to give out any details about it here, because I’m excessively paranoid about somebody stealing my ideas. That and, you know, spoilers. But I’ll give a little background on my quest to be a published author.
I originally decided that I wanted to be a writer when I was in high school. I spent a great deal of time in high school working on a project that I’ve since discarded. The school newspaper did an article on me, which was pretty much the highlight of my writing career thus far. This was actually a bigger deal than it might sound like, since my high school’s newspaper was ranked, like, 2nd in the United States by whoever it is that ranks high school newspapers. In any case, they had standards. And apparently I met them. I suppose it’s not every day that a high school student starts working on a novel, although I feel that it would have been more impressive if I had actually finished it. Whatever.
In any case, my original idea was sort of loosely based around my own experiences. In the summer after 7th grade, I went with a group of kids in my church to some youth retreat/event in Gunnison, CO. A couple of summers later, I was part of the high school marching band when we went on a trip to the East Coast. We went to Boston, and we also marched in the oldest Fourth of July parade in the United States, in Bristol, RI. Somehow, these two trips got vaguely incorporated into a story about a post-apocalyptic war between the post-Communist successor to the United States and an ancient evil from beyond our dimension.
Confused? Intrigued? Well, allow me to fix that. This story began a little after the year 2050. Somewhere around the turn of the century (I had this idea in 1997, remember), the United States had broken up into smaller nations, one of which was ruled by Communists. Eventually the People’s Republic of America (or whatever) conquered all the other pieces of the old US, and proceeded to wage war with the rest of the world. This resulted in the PRA launching nuclear weapons at Europe, Asia and Africa. Fortunately for America, a rebel group was able to activate some sort of orbital shield that kept the radiation out of the Western Hemisphere. These rebels then proceeded to overthrow the Communist dictatorship and reestablish something approximating democracy. Unfortunately for them, the nuclear strike awakened an ancient demon that had been slumbering somewhere in Asia for millenia. This demon, of course, then decided to raise an army and conquer the whole world.
That’s the setup, anyway. I had the story pretty well sketched out in my head, and I had a whole timeline written up, but that’s as far as it went. Part of the reason why I never finished it is that I’m a lazy slob. But the main reason is that even while I was trying to work this story out in my brain, another idea was starting to form.
I’ll never forget the day I was walking home from school and the first tiny bit of my current project popped into my head. For some reason I was thinking about Batman, and I was thinking about how Batman is kind of lame, and how I wanted to write a story about a vengeful superhero that was way more awesome than Batman. And so I came up with the idea for an unstoppable being that lurked in the shadows and smote (smited?) evildoers and whatnot.
Now, in case you’re wondering why I shared that after I said I wasn’t going to talk about my current project, fret not. This project has evolved so much over the years that it has almost nothing in common with that original spark of an idea. The avenging superhero character is still in this book, but he’s not the main character, nor is he an avenging superhero anymore. But he does lurk in shadows a lot, so there’s that.
Also, I don’t think Batman is lame anymore. So don’t worry about that.
So yeah, this project has been in the making for a long, long time. I can’t remember exactly when the original idea popped into my head, but I was probably 16 or 17 at the time. And I’m 30 now. I don’t know whether it’s impressive that I’m still working on this idea 13 years after coming up with it, or sad that I haven’t actually written a book based on this idea after 13 years of thinking about it and working on it.
Well, I’m finally getting around to doing some serious work on this project. I have an outline that is 61 pages long and counting, and I have several lists and spreadsheets that help me keep track of various other aspects of the history of the universe that I’ve created. I haven’t actually started writing the actual book yet, but I’m getting there. Maybe by the time I’m 40, I’ll actually have something published. Maybe.
In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away at it. Maybe someday I’ll feel comfortable talking more about it on this blog. But you have to promise not to steal my ideas! Okay? Okay.