It’s dead, Jim…or…Whoops?

By 2006, I thought I had this writing thing down pretty well.  The selling/publishing thing, no, but the actual sitting down and completion of novels, yes.    That was the year I met Ardath, the main protagonist of 2006’s unnamed and uncompleted novel.   At 71,000 words in, she just stopped talking.   The book had been going well, striding forward confidently, and then it died… in mid sentence.   345 pages (by my formatting style) and it was hopelessly bogged down just as it should be wrapping up.  To say I was stunned was putting it mildly.  Horrified is a better word, was I returning to those days when I just couldn’t finish one to save my soul?  It was a good book, I said it then and I still say it today.  I got along with Ardath well.   Until that sentence, she had held my hand firmly and led me on, and then she vanished.

Describing my own books has always been a difficulty of mine.  I was the voracious reader who couldn’t write book reports because I have trouble condensing the broad concepts of a novel into a few paltry sentences, and that goes twofold for my own.  I’ve also noticed just how stupid my core ideas sound when pared down like that, but here goes:

2006’s novel (Working label: Ardath.  All of my beginning books are identified by their main character’s first name until they get big enough to let me know what their actual titles are.)  is the story of Ardath, the illegitimate and hidden daughter of a nobleman/fighter pilot in a repressive and extremely formal interstellar government at war with two of its neighbors, the democratic Confed (I was going to give them catchier names in second edit, after it was completed, honest!)  and the Confed’s unlikely allies, the Shinneri Tribes.   (Think Gaelic sheepherders, with big air/ space superiority fighters.  Where they got them, also a case for the second edit that never happened.)     After events that she is unaware of, Ardath is kidnapped during a raid on her family’s estate, and taken as a prize by the Shinneri.  (The primitive gaelic spacegoing shepherds.  See, it loses something here, really.)   She is raised to adulthood in one of their brothels (Noooo….. again, really.  Just let that one go, it’s not what it seems.) to be a replacement for the Ardtirne (high lord) of the Shinneri’s wife, killed during those ‘events she was unaware of’.    So I was writing my own version of those Fabio adorned romances, I admit it, and anytime you are using a gaelic dictionary for your vocabulary, you have issues…  but it was doing just fine, right through Ardath’s metamorphosis from cloistered and unwanted nobleman’s daughter to war prize, squarely into her career as a fighter pilot  and female leader of the Shinneri triebh.   It flowed naturally into betrayal, having three opposing factions led to some interesting backstabbing, and had firmly stepped onto territory I found intriguing when Ardath ends up inheriting her uncle’s position after his death.  And then…silence.   No more Ardath.

Well, that happens more times than I care to count.  I’m not the most prolific writer around, and if I get distracted I can lose what I’m doing.  Also the stories tend to come in queue, and if one further back in the queue starts to yell louder, the original first story can be pushed back to allow the second one to talk.  But there was no second one.  There was nothing but those damned crickets.

So here we are, 2011, and Ardath is still sitting at 71k words, 345 pages, and is still sitting at the back of the queue, waiting for me to do something.  Maybe, when I have a lot of time I’ll go back to it and try to resuscitate it.   Hopefully, because a sci fi novel where the main cast are gaelic sheepherders really needs a good finish…


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