I started working on a novel some time ago.  When I say “working on a novel”, I don’t mean writing a novel.  I mean working on the stuff that will be necessary for me to write the novel, and none of those things is a title.  I’ll have one eventually, but for right now it’s just called “Untitled SciFi Novel” in my folders of documents.

What kind of stuff have I been working on?  I’m glad you asked!

I’ve been making notes about setting details, for one.  It will be set mostly in Colorado, so I’ve been making notes about climate, flora and fauna.  I checked out geography and decided I would most likely invent a small city that will fit all of the characteristics I want, as far as population and location in the state.  It would be great if I could actually visit Colorado in the spring when the novel is supposed to start, but that’s unlikely to happen.  I think I can do all of the traveling I need for my research, without breaking my budget, by using the Internet.

What makes it a scifi novel?  It’s got aliens.  Don’t worry, that wasn’t a spoiler.  There will be details about that in the opening chapter.  It’s also set in the future after a global catastrophe and an alien occupation.  I’ve been making notes about the aliens and the ways that different factions within society have reacted to their presence.  The novel is set approximately 40 years after the aliens’ arrival, so people have had plenty of time to get used to them and form opinions about them.

Perhaps I’ve spent the most time on my character notes.  I’m sincerely attempting to drive the novel through a cast of well developed characters, people who happen to live in a world where aliens have settled.  They are, first and foremost, people who have lives subject to stress, love, curiosity, and a host of other emotional factors, just like us.

In my best attempt to stay organized, I’ve been working on an outline for the plot.  At times, it’s difficult to find more than 10 or 15 minutes per day to work on it in quiet.  The outline helps me stay on track and makes it relatively easy to pick up where I left off.  I have never been one to use outlines in the past, which might be why I’ve never finished a novel.  I’ve started at least four that I can remember, without looking back through my computer files.  Maybe someday I’ll return to those and try to outline them.

If there’s a theme to these blog entries, I want it to be progress in a positive direction.  There will doubtlessly be failures along the way, but that’s part of progress for an overall upward, escalator-like ascension toward a goal.  I thought I would never have time to finish a novel, and then I decided that I definitely wouldn’t finish if I never started working on it.  If I have to take baby steps, that’s what I’ll do.  The notes and outline are the beginning, and I will keep climbing until it’s edited and done.

I will update this blog with my progress as I continue work on the novel.  I hope you decide to stick around and watch as it all unfolds, even if it happens pretty slowly.