Monday, October 17, 2011

Unconventional

I wrote Drivers in present tense. That's not as unconventional as it used to be, and it was also in first-person. (Present tense third person still sounds really weird to me. First person feels as natural as thinking.)

The Freezer is going to be past tense, first person. But I'm doing something else unconventional. Yeah, it's generally not such a good idea to be different when you're still trying to find an agent, much less get published. (Or it is a good idea, depending.)

What can I say? I follow my heart.

Meet Thane Ryder. His wife Dawn left for outer space as the pilot of an interstellar ship carrying infrastructure for a new colony on an Earth-like world. She did it to get Thane and their daughter Amanda seats on a ship that will follow. Meanwhile, Thane is raising Amanda in a dying society on a doomed world.

Then Thane finds out Dawn's ship has disappeared. No one knows what happened. Maybe its out there, maybe not.

Then he finds out that if he leaves Earth as planned, he has to leave his daughter behind.

He chooses to stay, knowing there's still a chance Dawn will be waiting for them on that new world. So he writes to her to explain his decision. And he keeps writing.

And that's what the book is:  letters from a doomed husband to his missing wife about their daughter. (Can I just say it breaks my heart to think about it?)

There are quite a few novels that have been as letters. It doesn't matter to me how many there are. The more I think about it, the more I feel like this is the way I want to tell this story. It's a glimpse from the outside into the heart of a man—beamed into space at the speed of light, available to everyone in its path.

And by the time it reaches Dawn's ship, Thane and Amanda will be gone.

(As far as you know, anyway.)

4 comments:

  1. Wow- I was brainstorming some sci-fi today, and I like this idea so much better than the one I came up with, which was that the cyrofreeze damaged nearly everybody's DNA and only 24 people are undamaged and able to continue the species. Commence light-speed dating. Yeah, it's a little fluffy, but there will be some serious soul searching, I swear.

    Anyhow, I love your idea. What's going on with Drivers?

    And PS- your whole conflict could be avoided if they'd just followed the number one rule of whole-family travel- "Everyone takes the same flight." Just sayin'.

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  2. This is a good idea. I read a wonderful book (oh my God I'm SO annoying, I feel like every time you have an idea I'm all "blah blah blah that's been done before" and I don't mean it that way, I swear I'm saying your ideas are good) called When You Reach Me which won the Newberry, which was all letters. It was great.

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  3. Oh, and letters are one of those things that can be present tense without bugging me. Because letters usually are. Like how dialogue can be present tense and it's not a "thing."

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  4. I have ALWAYS wanted to write a novel in letters.

    Megan McCafferty's career as a writer was pretty much made with her series where all the chapters are journal entries.

    They don't read like journal entries. I mean, they sort of do but not totally.

    The way your brain works is awesome. I bet you love it once you're in it.

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