I’m writing this because I feel I have to. No, it’s not a question of unburdening my restless soul, it’s just that the beast demands content.
I decided a while back that I am a writer. I thought I’d write a book. I chose the sci-fi genre as I thought I could get away with doing minimal research. My book is set in the twenty-third century, so anything that appears ‘wrong’ can just be explained away like this: no, that’s right, in the twenty-third century. If I’m curating that fictional universe what I say goes. I did wonder, for a bit, about extending that idea to spelling, then I realised that would be pushing it too far (of course, they would spell that ‘two far’ in the future. The one I create, anyway).
I did some research, in the end. The book is partly set on a future Mars inhabited by humans, so I had to find out a bit about Mars; its history, geography and so forth. It was quite interesting to read about, and some of it made its way into the finished novel. I tried not to ladle it on too heavily. I came across that in another book I glanced through, like the author was resentfully spewing out all the damn Mars facts he could, because he’d had to research the damned thing and he was determined to put all that sunk time to work.
I arrived at the sci-fi genre and I thought up a story. Originally, I had an idea about a huge spacecraft that gets damaged and left adrift. Order inside breaks down as shortages and deprivations take hold, and it becomes a sort of hellish island in space. Elements of that idea remain in the novel I eventually wrote, but only at the periphery and to a hugely scaled back extent. My story became about a war of secession. I very, very loosely used the American Revolutionary War as a template, and transposed it to Mars.
I can’t remember how I developed the story. I wrote a long ‘history’ of future Mars exploration and development, and then refined the main story according to that. I do know that I had the major and minor plots before I had characters; they came towards the end of that process.
Once I added characters I found them subtlety reshaping the story, which is how it should be. And then, I began writing.
Fifteen months later I have a final draft (of course, it’s never final. There will be some sneakily evasive typos in there, I’m sure of it). Now I’m setting off into the publishing and publicity phase which, according to one guru I came across, should start three years before you begin writing. Oops!
So that’s what happened. I thought I’d be a writer, now I are one. Boof!