Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Novel's Journey: Old Man in the Void - On a New Track and Full Speed Ahead!

To think just a few weeks ago, I was wondering if I'd make it to 50,000 words on this novel.  As of this writing, I'm at 70,000 and charging ahead with 3,000 words a day average.  The funny thing is, the writing took off again when I came to the end of the outline.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway ends when the fisherman, Santiago, arrives back at his fishing village with nothing but his life, his boat and the carcass of the marlin he'd fought so hard for.  Nonetheless, he is revered for his efforts, wins back his apprentice, and goes on with life as before.  That's really how I intended The Old Man in the Void to end, too, except for one thing:  It's not as easy to escape a black hole with your life and your ship intact.

Dex, my "fisherman" woke up in the hospital after major genetic surgery to combat the spaghettification effect, and his ship--or, more precisely, his AI, Santiago--nowhere to be found.  Thanks to time dilation, he's also 500 years into the future.  Not exactly a good recipe for picking up where life left off.  But I planned it, I really did.  A young man fascinated by the past and the Disk was going to help him acclimate, find Santiago and marry him to a new ship, and they'd be on their way.

I couldn't do it.  It was too easy, too dull and didn't let Dex be the hero of his own story.  No, Dex had new challenges to face, and the first was finding Santiago.

Now Dex has found his beloved AI, but only by putting himself and his friends in grave danger.  Now Dex and Santiago are teaming up again to beat the odds and save the day (and this time, with greater success.)

I'm off the track and writing blind, but the funny--and thrilling--thing is, everything I wrote using my careful outline is naturally playing into the rest.  A couple of times, I've even been able to better understand (and revise) what I'd done based on new events I'm writing now.

I am so excited to finish this book. It's been a great challenge.

Note:  I actually wrote this blog on Friday, Feb 17.  On Feb 19, I finished the book.  77,000 words or so and a very different book than the one I intended to write.  Like I've joked with friends: I never really planned to rewrite Hemingway; I'd be horrible.  I wanted to write Hemingway-inspired Fabian, and that I can do.  I'll blog next week on things I learned with this experiment.  Until then, SQUEEEE!  I FINISHED!

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