It’s that time of year again—the end of October, another Halloween, and another National Novel Writing Month all set to begin just one week from today.
But it’s never too late for a clean start and for a million reasons I want to try it again and there’s certainly nothing stopping me. So then the question becomes, which idea?
Last year I was all set to write a space opera carrying forward my character from the Pro Se anthology Write to the Cover, Volume 1. I went through the various experiments in outlining with note cards, and so on, blogging all about it here, but then never actually, y’know, wrote the thing.
The previous failure was a science fiction/fantasy crossover about an attempt to build a series of teleportation gates around the “twilight zone” of a tidally locked planet (a planet with one hemisphere always facing the sun, the opposite always facing the cold darkness of outer space).
Listen, ideas are easy to come by. I’ve tried to put your feet to the fire on that subject before, and here I am current not working on a novel. Why would I not be working on a novel? That’s crazy. Is it that I’m too busy? Yeah, we talked about that last week.
There are no excuses, or as Stephen King says: “. . . a writer who only produces one book every seven years is simply dicking off.”
In an effort to stop dicking off, then, how about this . . .
Here are nine loglines, also known as “elevator pitches,” or twenty-five to fifty-word descriptions of a book. I’ll try, again based on my own advice, to keep these focused on three essential elements to any story: hero (aka protagonist), villain (aka antagonist), and conflict (aka story).
Bella Lucky and the Monsters of Methone (pulp space opera SF)
Saturnian police detective Bella Lucky investigates an accident at a remote research station only to find it was no accident. Something deadly now lurks in the depths of the airless moon, and the person responsible for releasing it may be a part of Bella’s team.
The Book of True Names (dark fantasy)
Jashiv has taught his only daughter one thing: If the demons come, stand still. But when a demon finally does come, it takes her, and sends Jashiv on an impossible journey to find his daughter and face the silent king who’s sleeping demon army is stirring awake.
Monster Planet (military SF)
A mercenary crew, summoned by one of their own to an uncharted world, is prepared to face a team of competing mercenaries, but they didn’t bargain for this strange planet’s local wildlife: monsters the size of skyscrapers that see these tiny creatures shooting at each other as tasty light snacks.
7º (SF/fantasy crossover)
The teleportation portals have to be set up every seven degrees of latitude around the twilight zone in order to unite a world already divided by teleportation technology itself. And the next team to travel through miles of unexplored jungle have a traitor in their midst.
Those four are the “I could start right now” ideas, but here are some bonus ideas if you really want to challenge me:
Chimp the Aviator (YA historical)
A family of depression era barnstormers add a chimpanzee to their act.
Sick House (horror)
A family buys a house that’s haunted by the sicknesses of the people who died there in the past.
The Cavern Club (light time travel SF/romance)
Time travelers go back to early 60s Liverpool to see the Beatles play live, and one local discovers their secret.
The Gun Said I’m Sorry (hardboiled thriller)
Rival gun collectors resort to murder over a rare pistol.
What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor? (a novel sans genre)
A sailor passes out in a bar and changes hands over the course of a single wild night.
Okay then, two questions:
Question 1: Which of these should I write in November?
Question 2: Do you have at least this many loglines/ideas in a file somewhere? If not, why not? If so, which one are you going to tackle starting Tuesday?
AND: You can also vote via Twitter. Just add a link and call me out: @PhilAthans
November 1 Update: The votes are in, and across all various social media sources, The Book of True Names beat out Bella Lucky by a single vote. I’m ready to start writing!