I never quite gave up this ambition, but I haven't done any serious work on anything that would remotely qualify as saleable fiction in the last...uh...several years. It hasn't been five yet, I know, but it's getting there. Sadly, my writing productivity was highest before I went to college, and yet, all my pre-college writings, to put it politely, stink.
To begin the beguine: I have resolved to make an effort at writing a novel I can re-read without cringing. (Note that I'm not saying I will do so -- I'm just going to "make an effort", whatever the heck that means.)
This said, I have to decide what I am going to write about. I have two ideas that remain near and dear to my heart despite the years that have passed since I first embarked on them.
This is a science fiction story, set on a colony ship which has just abandoned its first attempt at colonizing a foreign planet. This is intended as a "hard SF" story--not in the "I know these cool techie things that really are possible and this story is about them" but in the sense that I will not be employing FTL travel or other things presently thought to be impossible. (At least, not at the outset, and not if I notice them.). The story follows the lives of a few individuals in particular, in slice-of-life fashion, and the broader issues of the way their universe has turned out, what makes a fairly sizable group of people decide to colonize space in the first place, and how they manage their society. It also touches on some religious and philosophical issues, though I do not intend to proselytize, or create a fictional utopia.
I originally conceived of Hope’s story in comic book form, and the first chapter did not translate well to pure prose. (I’m not going to do a comic book because comics are all but impossible to sell, and even if you do manage to produce and sell one, the profit margins are tenuous. Not to mention that the time and money investment for a graphic novel is substantially higher than that for a prose work. I might as well do a screenplay as a comic book-at least then I could hope for fame and riches, in addition to producing an unmarketable commodity. /rant)
Anyway, the story did not make me cringe when I looked at the pieces of it that I had, which means it satisfied my first criterion.
An epic fantasy of the end-of-the-world sort, with a lot of traditional epic-fantasy elements, like a group of protagonists gathered from various corners of the world and enlisted to oppose the would-be destroyer. Atypically, the destroyer and her cohorts are major characters-she probably gets more “air time” than any other single character. The story was inspired by Greek mythology and O’Neill’s play “Electra” (don’t worry, it reads like neither) as well as the epic-fantasy genre, and my concept was to explore how prophecy-particularly accurate prophecy-would affect a world and the lives of those about whom much is foretold.
Here's why I'm posting this here: to let y'all vote. Which story would you rather read? It probably helps if you're interested in reading either.
To give you a better idea than the little blurbs, I've uploaded the first chapter of Hope, and the first two from Prophecy, to my website. You can find them here. I don't feel like running them through an html encoder (or doing it by hand). I'm sure most, if not all of you are capable of downloading and decoding an rtf, however. Kindly put your votes in comments below.
You can even vote "don't quit your day job" if you like. I wasn't going to anyway.