Brand New Year, Brand New Novel

Today for the first time in years, I sat down to start pre-writing a new novel.  I’ve been looking forward to this for an entire year.  I’ve been looking forward to it all Christmas.  When I did sit down at last, and pulled out my ancient, worn-out copy of “Teach Yourself Screenwriting,” it took me half an hour of internet time wasting before I could get going.

It was only when I finally got to the bit about choosing a title that I finally stopped for the day (also, I need some tea).  Finding a title has been excruciating.  After several false starts, I eventually settled down on a title that was basically pinched from a Marilyn Manson lyric.  This is NOT a good idea.  Having written before about plagiarism, I took myself in hand.  Anyway, the lyric kind of gave away the ending so really not a good idea, then.

It’s been three years since I first wrote up the original few pages of notes of this novel and in those three years, the novel has been through about ten titles.  The one I finally settled on today seems okay – but only okay.  It doesn’t have a WOW factor.  So I’ve bracketed it off as a Working Title and hope that something miraculous happens before I published, otherwise I’m going to end up with a lame, meaningless title like Ultra.  And look where that got me.

I can’t remember when last I sat down to write a new novel cold, as it were.  When I wrote Ultra several years ago, it had already been developed from a short story into a screenplay, with months and months of complex pre-writing.  So when I sat down to write the novel years later, it was easy.  I’d done all the preliminary work.  I just changed the names and places that felt more familiar to me and the story and characters literally flowed from my fingertips.

Since then, I’ve done a great deal of improving on my Fleet novels, but none of them needed rewriting from scratch.  Even when I rewrote Commences some six years ago, it was the third major attempt at getting the story out, so it wasn’t new.  Transference also became a novel developed from a short story into a screenplay.  Flesh for Sale started life as a novella.  V.Gomenzi, which needed a GREAT deal of work, had to be structured around the three other written Fleet novels, so it didn’t entirely feel new.  I was inside a universe that had already been created and V.Gomenzi bound that universe and made sense of it.

So, in fact, I have NEVER sat down to write a novel that wasn’t something else before.  This is my first truly NEW novel.  I self-published in order to get to this novel because I knew I couldn’t write it until I had the Fleet novels out the way.  I had to find some kind of closure on them and even though self-publishing has been a total utter failure, at least I feel it’s DONE.

I can begin again.

It’s been three years since I first had this idea.  What a relief it is to be finally working on.  Expect many reports on the gruelling writing process.

And as for that title, it’s top secret!!!

PS  Great date: 5 – 1 – 15


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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