By the Time I Get to the Galactic Rim

Yesterday, when I wasn’t wishing for the car-mounted, large-caliber weapons, needed to blow away idiot drivers on I-65, I was out among the stars.

Specifically, those stars way the hell out on the edge of our galaxy.

A very long time ago–a year or so after I started writing Transporting–I had an idea for another grand story, something of a space opera, but a little more grounded in reality.  One that dealt with a interstellar vessel that was part of a special organization that–well, to put it bluntly, they showed you the horror of war before war come a knockin’.

It’s one of those things I haven’t thought about in years.  Yet, the last couple of days, while I’m doing nothing in the writing arena, I’ve been giving the story a lot of thought.

At some point, maybe 1991, or ’92, I wrote the first three or four chapters of what would have been the first novel.  It sucked.  Trust me, I wouldn’t mislead you.  The dialog was clumsy; one of my main characters was far too hard-assed even for me; there was little motivation for why one of the main characters acted in a certain way at the end of the opening action sequence.

In short, I had no idea what I was doing, or what I was writing.

Still, the story never left me.  I started working on a time line for the story:  I think I started this in 1994, and finally finished it about 2003, 2004.  It’s a pretty good time line of the universe.  War on Earth, countries band together to form an origination known as the TSA–no, really, that’s what the tyrannical bastards are called–and the TSA is later overthrown by another group known as The Coalition, who are slightly less tyrannical, but still bastards.

The entire timeline became twelve pages, and overviewed the action in the first novel, and set up the action for the section novel.  Yeah, you heard that right:  two novels.  The entire story of this group of people would cover a trilogy, no more, no less.  And when the third novel came to an end, that would be it:  none of this, “Oh, I always envisioned it as four or five novels,” bullshit.  I know the start, the middle, and the end; it’s all in my head, all worked out.

I’d only have to write them.

Since the timeline is only twelve pages, were I to take the action all the way out to the end, I’d probably end up with eighteen or twenty pages.  That’s very likely, since I just love to get my world building out of the way so I can jump into my universe and give my characters life.

Where am I going with this story?  I don’t know–not yet.  It’s bouncing around in my head, and it’s another of those “Projects From the Past” that has never really left me.  But is there a desire to get back into it, to write the first novel, when there are other things I could work on instead?

Ah, such are the dilemmas of a writer.  You have all these things going on at the same time, and then–Wham!  You get blindsided with an idea the moment you decide you’re going to take a break.  Yet, there are no breaks when you’re a writer.  You are either writing, or editing, or thinking about either of those–or having your Muse show up at your front door, dressed like Barbarella, telling you, “Hey, I’m about to leave for HD 151985, and I need a co-pilot, you wanna come along?”  You hesitate a little, then she added, “Oh, and the ship only has one bed, I hope you don’t mind sharing–” and you’re just about ready to pack your bags . . .

Man, when you get an offer like this, it’s hard to say no.