Once Again Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

My novel writing aspirations origally began in 2003 with the vision of a space fantasy, Star Warsy but more sorcery than sword. Despite many great ideas and a lot of changes to that universe, I could never figure out where the story was going, so it went into the ‘world building, find a plot box’ for many years.

My first story success came with a short story for the EMBO science writing contest, which I won in 2005, beating 42 other entrants. It’s a story that highlights a relationship between smoking and schizophrenia. Despite this success, I’ve never been very interested in writing short stories. Somehow they always turn into novel ideas.

So, in September of 2006-2007 I started writing seriously and began work on a novel during NaNoWriMo that year. It was to be a big year for me in terms of writing. I finished the first draft of that novel, originally titled New Horizon, in February. Over the next few months I put together a full-length fan fiction novel for the video game Unreal Tournament III (called To Die Again Another Day, the first 10 chapters are currently available on my Lightspeed Dreams site), featuring original characters (cameos by the main characters, of course).

Prior to the 2007 NaNoWriMo I’d been playing a lot of superhero-themed MMOs (City of Heroes, Champions Online) so it was only natural that I decided to try a superhero novel. The twist was that it was going to be a romance (something that came out of related work I did for my sister). This novel (Altered Destiny: Echoes of the Past) I finished by mid-December of 2007, my third novel (albeit 1st drafts) in under a year. And then real life interupted.

My wife and I had decided to move to England and she was there on work training while I was writing, visiting, packing and figuring out how to get a timely VISA and a way to ship the cat. We also learned that she was pregnant. So, shortly after I finished Echoes of the Past, I managed to get everything and everyone to England [I entered without a VISA, relying on my being Canadian, i.e. commonwealth, and being married to an EU citizen to get me in — it worked, thankfully. Did get the VISA later, and it took 2 years!]. Our daughter was born just over a month later and life, as they say, has not been the same since.

I have no problem in saying that my wife is the principal earner in our family, with an earning potential far in excess of what I could make. So I became the principal carer. Those of you with children know what this means.

During the next several years I did managed to take some writing courses, began attending sci-fi literature conventions (Eastercon and Novacon), started a novel critiquing group and wrote a screenplay, and published three anthologies (up and coming authors). But almost everything I did that was writing related, focused on my early novels. While this isn’t completely bad, there were two problems. First, I wasn’t writing anything new. Second, I’d written those novels largely for fun and learning, and I wasn’t interested in devoted so much time to polishing them.

It’s been over five years now since the Big Change (yes, I believe caps are warrented possibly even some deep, echoing reverb) and life is settling down, as much as it does in a family. The latest Eastercon inspired me more than many, as it had a debut author panel, and I came away from the convention with one thought: why am I wasting time working on projects I’m not interested in finishing? And I realized, it’s time to go back to my baby.

So, I’ve pulled out the approximately 140 pages of work already written on my space opera story (not including world building and backstory), complete with some fresh ideas for characters and plot, and I’m reworking it into something coherent and, hopefully, entertaining. It’s a space opera now, not space fantasy, as one it’s early transformations was to something that was harder sci-fi, although still maintaining a bit of fantasy feel — after all, it is 1000 years in the future. My goal is to get book 1 put together by the end of the year. I’d say wish me luck, but I don’t really believe luck enters into these kind of things. Yes, writing a book is fun, but it’s also work. Lots of hard work. However, I still appreciate any well wishes 🙂

Insight and longevity.

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