Saturday, September 6, 2014
My Novel Beginning
Several years ago, I woke up from a very simple dream. An astronomy professor at the California Institute of Technology had just returned from a summer research appointment in Chile, where he has been working at an observatory high in the Andes looking for a parallel Earth in the Milky Way galaxy. He was having a brief conversation with an administrative assistant at the university, who had asked him how the summer research went....
.... and that was it. Nothing more, no additional details, no understanding on why I would have a dream like this. The simplicity of it, along with the setting was so starkly unremarkable, that I couldn't help but ask myself "why did that just happen in my head?!" The fact that it was so simple and so disconnected with anyone or anything in my life, made the whole thing seem so strange.
For the rest of the week, all of my free thinking time was consumed in the silliness of the dream. Ideas flooded into my head that continued to develop, until I recognized that a clear Science Fiction plot was forming. From the one simple seed I began writing an outline for a novel. But, wait... I don't write novels. I'm an engineer, not a writer! And while I love to read, I have no experience or training in writing novels. Nevertheless, I knew that this thing that was growing inside of my head just had to find its way onto paper.
As I began writing, more thoughts came to me, and I realized that I wasn't just writing a novel... I was writing the first book in a five-book series! After a few years, that first book was complete. I decided to self-publish, but as I started researching the process, I took a closer look at my book, and realized that I had over 800 pages (250,000 words!) of material. There was no way I was going to publish such a beast as a first novel. I mean, not even my family would read something that verbose. So, I spent the next couple of years reworking that one book into two, and reworked the first one even more after some feedback from my wife, Suzanne. After a final personal edit, I am now back to doing the research on self-publishing, and hope to publish "The Orthogonal Galaxy" soon, but there is still some work to do.
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