Friday, August 28, 2009

My First Novel

The primary benefit of taking a year off from schooling is the chance to pursue interests that I didn't have much time for in college. It's taken three months of summer, but I've finally gotten started on the novel I've intended to write for over a year. I'm hesitant to say too much, lest I reveal important plot points but I've been at work on it for the past three hours and it's much easier to write about the novel than to actually write it.

Roughly, this is a science fiction novel, not aimed at any particular age, but something that both intelligent ten-year-olds and adults could read and enjoy. Furthermore, one of the primary themes of the novel will be the nature of the scientific enterprise of understanding and of the characters of the people who carry it out. It will not be about science as technology or about its sociological effects. It will also be a coming of age story, and will investigate different forms of education. I suppose that this reflects my college philosophy studies, which included heavy doses of philosophy of education and philosophy of science.

So far, the going is difficult, but no more difficult than I anticipated. I have not done much plot sequencing so far, but I have three primary strains that I will somehow weave together, and scattered significant. The real challenge seems to lie in getting from big scene to big scene in natural and interesting ways. There's also the difficulty of maintaining a consistent voice for my first-person narrator. One's tendency is to write oneself, and I'm trying to remove most traces of cynicism from my narrator. A coming challenge will be to take a philosophy that I think is patently ridiculous and obscure and give it appeal and clarity.

Nevertheless, this is great fun. My primary aim is to write the sort of novel that I would want to read for pleasure, and if I don't, I have only myself to blame. I like the creative control. I anticipate the novel being 50,000 - 75,000 words, or 200-300 pages, with fairly long chapters. I promise an excerpt when chapter one is finished.

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