The Junk Drawer

It is a popular fact that most authors have their own personal “slush pile”: a variety of as-yet unused ideas that could be converted into works ready for publication.  As I am not yet an author (authors are published), I do not have slush pile.  Instead, I have what I call my “junk drawer”; concepts and works in progress that will, I hope, one day become novels.  Once a week, on Friday, I like to rummage through my junk drawer, and work on something other than my current project.  Here’s what I worked on this week:

-This week, for the first time in a while, I had a new idea to work with.  Ashes came to me early this week, and I haven’t really taken to a new idea like this in quite some time.

Ashes is a dystopian story set in the distant future.  The story takes place on a massive spacecraft, called the Crucible, launched from a dying Earth with tens of thousands of cryogenically frozen embryos.  As the craft begins its final approach to a distant star with an earth-like planet, the embryos are awakened in artificial wombs, intended to grow into colonists to establish a new human population.

The story revolves around a group of children, who are groomed to become the leaders of the new colony, raised by a stern, ominous AI known as the Minder, and taught by a kinder, optimistic AI known as the Mentor.  

Over the course of the story, the children grow and mature, passing through adolescence and eventually reaching adulthood shortly before the Crucible arrives at its destination.  From there, the story will follow the colonists in their attempt to found a new mankind, and their struggle to avoid repeating the mistakes of their ancestors.

Suffice to say I’m very excited about this story, the first new novel idea I’ve had in a while as well as one of my most interesting concepts.  I’m eager to see where this story leads me.  As of this writing, I’ve already rattled off the first several paragraphs, on my phone no less.  A testament to my enthusiasm.

-Lately I’ve been warming to a project of long standing.  

Beyond (working title, likely to change) is a story about a teenage boy growing up in small-town Wisconsin who learns that the laws of reality, like those of government, can be broken.  Over time, he also learns that, as with laws of government, there are those who seek to enforce reality’s laws.  Most of the story revolves around the boy’s struggle to awaken mankind, while evading the Black Hats: shadowy, faceless beings that exist to enforce the laws.

While I’d like to think the story is both interesting and fairly original, I’ll admit my interest in this story is due in large part to the marketability of young adult science fiction, which is all the rage these days.  However, I have a firm idea for a major scene, which I hope will spur my creativity moving forward.

That’s all for this week, dreamers. Needless to say it’s been a slow week for me, but I’m encouraged by my enthusiasm for Ashes.  Hopefully there will be more to report next week.  Until then, dare to dream.

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