Sunday, September 8, 2013

The State Of Homecoming

A lot has happened in the last week or so with regards to my new novel.  Homecoming is right on schedule, and I expect it to be complete in the next couple of weeks.  I took a business trip to Alaska recently, and I got nearly three-quarters of the way done while there.

I spoke recently about getting behind and trying to find time to complete my work.  This novel will finish between 80,000 and 85,000 words, and that looked like a large chunk when taken all at once.  Therefore, I broke it into more manageable pieces.  Upon my return from Europe, I was at 43,000 words.  I left for Alaska at 45,000.  I now stand at just over 59,000 words, and I feel a hell of a lot better about where it's headed.

I do some of my best work on airplanes, and this was no exception.  I resolved to do 3,000 words each day while in Alaska - the town of Seward, where I stayed, isn't known for its nightlife, especially after the summer season - and another 5,000 on the plane ride back to Hawaii(the flight there was an overnight flight, so I knew I'd accomplish nothing there).  I wasn't even halfway into the trip back before I hit my goal.  As previously discussed, I stopped at that point to avoid burnout.

The final direction of the novel is exciting.  The narrator has a lot more personality than I'd originally planned, and his voice is coming out.  In fact, his transition from optimism and naïveté at the beginning to cynicism as we near the end is proving crucial to the overall story.  He has seen beyond the curtain, and what he saw shattered the worldview he once held.

I've also found an interesting trio of villains.  The novel is about mankind returning to Earth after 10,000 years to push out another alien species that drove us away.  In returning, we had to pass through a third species that was at least as powerful as the boogeyman that beat us in the first place.  Making the invaders, as well as that other powerful race, bad guys has proven easy.  However, it's the third villain that makes the story much more complex, especially from a moral standpoint.

I postulated that after we left Earth, a small portion of the population was left behind.  We assumed they'd be killed quickly, but several pockets of them survived by hiding from the invaders, and they hold a burning hatred of those that fled.  Their presence on Earth, and their interaction with those returning, has help give the novel moral dilemmas and created friction in unexpected places.  The fact that they view those who fled as cowards has made the narrator question the view he held of history.

I finally have an ending in mind - I rarely start a novel with the ending fully formed...sometimes I have no idea what it'll even be - and it comports with the complicated nature of war while still resolving the story in a satisfactory way.  It also leaves open offshoots that could lead to future novels in this universe.

My goal is to have this done in about two weeks by writing 2,000 words per day.  My outline is near the end, so just sitting my ass down and writing will be the most integral part.  I hope that by the time October rolls around, I can report Homecoming's completion, giving me time before Christmas to get to a few other projects.  It's an exciting time.

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