Monday, October 27, 2008


The novel is proceeding albeit at a slower pace than I’d like. I had set a deadline for a complete first draft for Halloween. Since that’s this Friday and I’m nowhere near close to anything that could be called a complete first draft, I will have to accept an extension of that deadline.

Some background: People who know me may be aware of an ongoing, very much unfinished novel that I have been working on collaboratively with my friend Pat. This project (which bears the working title of The Domain War within my files) has ground to a near-halt in recent months. Neither of us has done any serious work on it since the summer, though I believe we will pick it up again soon. So, for the moment, when I refer to “the novel,” I am not talking about Domain War but rather another book entirely. It currently has no title—even a decent working title—and is known within my file directory simply as Current Project. At a current length of about forty thousand words plus an outline that will guide about another sixty thousand, it is much further along and closer to completion than the other book, so I have shifted my focus to it and set aside Domain War for the moment. Perhaps my most major contribution to the Domain collaboration was the creation of a future history for the human race involving long-time inhabitation of the planet Mars and that planets eventual re-location to another star system. That imaginary Mars was in turn lifted from a much earlier attempt at a novel that I never finished but I thought my vision of it was still interesting enough to recycle. Skip ahead about a year and a half—deep into the writing of Domain but also in the period of its slow-down—I had an exciting and scary dream early one morning involving me and some other people I know fleeing aboard a ship into a stormy sea carrying with us a corpse (or possibly a vampire) that we had stolen from an entity that was trying to halt our escape by attacking us with a machine gun-toting zombie horde. I immediately decided to try to write a short story based on this but, of course, substituting decent characters in place of myself and Jeff and our friends. A page or two into the short story, which I called “The Stowaway”, I hit on the idea of using for characters some soldiers much like those from my version of future Mars. Then I decided that it made sense to set this new story in my future history somewhere well before the events of Domain but also well after the events of the old story from where these Mars ideas were first salvaged. And the thing started getting way too elaborate to be confined to a short story, so I was like “What the hell? Let me try to make this a whole new novel.” So now I have three novels all in various states of incompletion, none of them having any direct tie one to the other aside from having in common the existence of this vision of a future human-ruled Mars. Even though progress is slower than I’d hoped it would be, I still think that Current Project will reach complete draft stage a lot sooner than anything else, so I will continue to concentrate on it and let Domain simmer on the back burner until we are ready for a major new effort on that.

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