Don’t Believe Anything I Tell You

I’m not a liar. At least I don’t intend to be one. I’m not sure that changing my mind constantly, and jumping from one absolutely sure next-thing to another is lying. It’s that grasshopper mind at work again. What I had planned to do after NaNo 2015 was over was go back to the massive revision of Gift of the Ancien. The NaNo novel, Camp Expendable, was going to be put away to ripen for a few months. Good intentions and all that.

I made the mistake of starting to serialize Camp Expendable on Write On before I realized that I would actually have to finish it before it was time to post the last chapter. If that wasn’t bad enough, I also started serializing Bentham’s Dream on Write On as a way to make myself finish it. So Camp Expendable and Bentham’s Dream have been sharing my attention. Maybe it would be more accurate to say they’ve been fighting for my attention. I’ve actually made good progress on both of them, getting closer to finishing, and also doing some editing of both, from the first chapters on.

So what’s the problem now? I made the mistake of opening my Stories Scrivener project, just to have a quick look around. Don’t ask me why. I have more than enough projects lined up for 2016, all of them novels or stories in a fairly advanced stage of development. Starting something brand new is absolutely out, for at least the next year. But. But.

Tucked away among the several dozen story ideas is 500 or so words about an alien observer of our little world. He and others of his kind have been looking in on us for several hundred years, and they’re discouraged about the mess we continue making, and failing to learn anything from the past. We seem to be at a critical point in our history, with the potential for extinction getting higher all the time.

What should the aliens do — watch a once-promising species go down the drain and take the rest of the living world with it, or interfere in some way? Now this has been done, and done. Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End is one example. Is it even possible to do something entirely new with this theme? Well, the idea has hooked itself in my brain and doesn’t want to let go. That’s a good thing, in a way, because it means that ideas will be popping up without any conscious help from me, and the notes will accumulate until they begin to look like a story. It’s a bad thing if it starts distracting me from current projects. That’s all too possible.

Ten months is a pretty good gestation period for a novel. There’s a very good chance I can have it sufficiently developed to be this year’s NaNo novel. And if I keep that in mind every time I’m tempted to do more than take notes and do research, the rest of this year’s projects might actually get finished.

But don’t trust me on that.



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