The Novel Never Written

It’s been several months of planning, thinking, dreaming, taking notes, etc., but I recently finished my outline for my first novel, “Entanglement.”  Entanglement is a Sci-Fi novel set in the near future about a man whose wife and daughter are taken from him in a government conspiracy.  He must leave the world he knows to battle an organization he’s devoted his life too in an attempt to save them.

The 36-chapter story follows a model that doesn’t deviate too far from the Hero’s Journey, and fits in well with the Dramatica Theory of Story.  And I doubt it will ever be written.

As I Monkey using typewriter hg whtfinished the plot of the book, I spent a couple weeks walking through it step by step, looking for holes, noting what excited me about the story, and also noting potential weaknesses.  And following all of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that the story, as currently written, just doesn’t work.  I’ve tried too hard to make an action novel fit in with a scientific premise and mold itself to a standard structure, and in so doing, have lost the uniqueness, the sense of wonder, and the character development that would keep me excited to write it.

Of course, I could go back and refine it, and refine it more, and continue to force it into a working structural mold, but I really don’t think that’s the right answer.  It’s not a story that goes where I want it to, and although I’m proud of the work I’ve done developing it, the character arcs I’ve walked through, and the detailed research and world-building I’ve done, the bottom line is it just doesn’t feel right.

So, I think it’s time to chalk up this first attempt as a great learning experience and exercise in the steps to building a story, and move forward with some other ideas that I feel will make for a better overall tale.  They may not break as much new ground as Entanglement may have, but for a beginning writer, the web of Entanglement, as it currently stands, is beyond my purview.

I’ve been mulling over an idea for an urban fantasy novel based on a key tenet of our laws of physics, partially inspired by both Jennifer Ouellette’s “Physics of the Buffyverse” and Patrick Rothfuss’s “Name of the Wind.”  Not only do I feel this will be a better starting point for a rookie, I also think it will be considerably more fun to write, as I’m less concerned with the subtleties of political manipulation and intrigue, and sliding back into the adventure, action, and swagger of the type of stories I tend to enjoy.

I’ve heard it said a writer needs to write one million words of dross before reaching the gold… to date, my only real fiction story is the one my 2-year-old helped me write about Cornelius the Dinosaur.  But that’s OK, I have enough serious challenges in my life that I don’t need to push and force — my real goal is to have fun with this project as a diversionary sidelight, and I need to keep that in sight, especially as the hours I’d hoped were available to devote to this project over the summer months have rapidly evaporated.  We’re one week into August and already I feel behind on my professional work I’d hoped to complete this summer due to a number of unexpected challenges, family illnesses, etc. — and the paying job and my family have to take precedence.

So, I’m going to continue to work on a novel, but at this point I think it’s wise to start over with my new concept, one I have more energy around, one I feel has a better chance of success, and one that I feel can be handled better as a sidelight/hobby as opposed to an extremely involved, highly entangled knot of interwoven plots and characters.

The Quietest Dinosaur

The Quietest Dinosaur — by Dan and Sarah Fullerton

Baby trex looking hg wht


Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived a young dinosaur named Cornelius.  Cornelius loved to run and play with the other young dinosaurs.  He especially liked to dance in the rain and sing dinosaur songs.  But Cornelius wasn’t like the other dinosaurs.

The other dinosaurs loved to roar with loud and frightful roars.  They would have roaring contests, in which they would take turns make as loud a roar as they could manage.  But when it came time for Cornelius to roar, all he could manage was a very small, quiet, squeaky “roar.”

The other dinosaurs laughed at Cornelius.  They thought it was funny that a dinosaur had such a small and quiet roar.  But Cornelius didn’t think it was funny.  It made him sad.  He wanted to roar like the other dinosaurs, but he didn’t know how.

One day Cornelius decided to go searching for his roar.  He wandered over the mountains, through the trees, across the rivers, around the lakes, through the canyons, up the cliffs, down the ravines, and into the forests.  But no matter how hard he searched, he couldn’t find his roar.

Disheartened, Cornelius decided to give up and go home.  He turned around and walked out of the forests, up the ravines, down the cliffs, through the canyons, around the lakes, across the rivers, through the trees, and over the mountains.

Just as Cornelius rounded the last bend on his way home, he tripped over a log on the ground.  He hadn’t seen the log, and he fell a long way toward the ground.  As he fell, he yelled “WHHHOOOOOAAAAAA” at the top of his lungs, afraid he would hurt his nose when he hit the ground.  Just before he hit the ground, though, he caught himself with his little dinosaur arms.  He was unhurt.

“Whew,” Cornelius sighed.  “That was a close call.”

Baby trex begging hg wht

When he got up and looked around, he saw that his dinosaur friends were standing in a circle around him.  His yell was so loud and frightful that all the other dinosaurs for miles around came to see what could make such a tremendous noise.  When the other dinosaurs saw that Cornelius had learned to roar, they cheered and congratulated him, every dinosaur making sure to shake his hand.

Cornelius was a dinosaur in a land far, far away.  He loved to dance in the rain and sing dinosaur songs.  And, Cornelius could roar a very loud and frightful dinosaur roar.