Writerly Hauntings: Half an Old Novel Rises From the Grave

It has been said, perhaps  by my father, that one spends half one’s life collecting stuff, and the other half getting rid of the stuff collected. Thus, I find myself going through some stuff, filling bags and boxes with recycling, trash, and those odd border-creatures, who shift substance from things I might want to things I certainly don’t, and thus live between universes.

I came across this:

The Strand

My son says the coffee stain lends it a real touch of authenticity. I don’t remember why I printed it out, must have wanted to show it to somebody. Good thing I did – the original is on a floppy somewhere, this is probably the only copy I’ll ever have.

16 years ago, I started a Sci Fi  novel I called “The Strand”. Somewhere are some notes and outlines no doubt lost to me, but here are the first several chapters in an “authentically”  tattered and coffee-stained state.

The cleaning and purging ground to a halt while I read this for the first time in many years.

And it’s pretty good. Needs a rewrite in places (duh), but, for what it is, I kind of like it.

Now what? John C. Wright cowed, dazzled, and inspired me a while back recounting some of the notes he made for his “Count to the Eschaton” series, as told here.  So, the next step, one I had already started to take years ago but has now been lost in the intervening years, is to outline the rather complex political, religious, mythological, astronomical and geographical ideas that, half-formed, made me want to write this in the first place. Then, write the ending so I know where I’m going. That is, if I really intend to finish this. I love writing characters and dialogue, and dreaming up settings. Getting to the point – you know, actual plotting and stuff – comes less naturally. It’s like actual *work*! Imagine.

In August, 16 years ago, we had 4 children under 8. I don’t know how I ever got as far as I did. The big question: is this stuff to be saved, or stuff to be gotten rid of? We’ll see how well it sticks in my mind.

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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

6 thoughts on “Writerly Hauntings: Half an Old Novel Rises From the Grave”

  1. Always save half-written stuff. You may not be able to use it entirely; but there will always be bits and pieces than can be bitten off.

    1. Thanks, I will. Who knows what other ‘treasures’ this bit of housekeeping will turn up?

      Now, I can’t get this (half-thought out, half written, half assed) story out of my mind. In order to do it justice – or, more realistically, raise it to the level of ‘readable’ – I’ll need to flesh out the mythology (which is the central semi-idea) and then the religion, culture, science and history that flow from it. On the one hand, what could be more fun that that? On the other, sounds suspiciously like work.

      To be a writer, one must man up? Who knew?

      BTW: Firestar is next in line, when I’ve read enough Hegel to justify a break.

      1. That January Dancer was a similar “trunk” novel that was taken out, dusted off, and given a new coat of paint.

  2. I rather like your writing. I would suspect even if this isn’t salvageable as a whole, it could still be useful, and does not deserve the recycling bin.

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