Hello, dreamers. It’s been far too long since I’ve done one of these, so here we go: back to the Junk Drawer.
For those readers unfamiliar with this long-standing project, Memorase is an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head for a while. Set in a dystopian future where corporations control virtually all aspects of society, the plot revolves around the eponymous “Memorase”: a drug which, combined with a home scanner system, allows, individuals to selectively erase portions of their memory. The process proves highly psychologically addictive, as it allows individuals to experience their favorite moments, pastimes, foods, drinks, etc. for the first time, over and over again.
By the time the story takes place, the popularity of Memorase has led to a stagnation of human culture; artists, singers, filmmakers and the like struggle to survive as most of society has lost all interest in anything new, preferring to continually relive the past. The main character, Kevin, is an aspiring artist who finds himself virtually destitute due to the popularity of Memorase. Once a highly-successful painter, demand for his work has evaporated since the introduction of Memorase, as all of his admirers prefer to dwell on his earlier work.
In time, Kevin finds his way into a small group of creative individuals, and uncovers a conspiracy: DereCo, the pharmaceutical company behind Memorase, is using the drug to pacify the population, while preparing to seize control of the government and instill a corporate oligarchy.
I’ve only written a few sentences so far, but I know that the story will open with a drug advertisement for Memorase (“Have you tried Memorase?”).
A return to novel writing this week meant a return to Ashes as well. Currently, I’m working my way through a difficult scene, in which the Mentor and the Minder (the two computer programs running a colony vessel, for those unfamiliar with this story) are discussing the death of one of the children on the ship. Initially, I wasn’t quite sure where I was going in that sequence, but I feel I have a better handle on it now.
Ashes feels as though it has stalled to me. Perhaps my initial enthusiasm was simply owed to finding a fresh idea amidst frustrations with Pathfinder, but whatever the reason, I feel I might not be doing too much more work on this one anytime soon. The main issue is the lack of depth; while I have a unique and certainly interesting premise, unfortunately as I’ve continued writing I’ve found that really, that’s all I have. A premise, a basic conflict, a few characters, period. I need a better framework for the story. I need defined turning points beyond about a third of the way in, and it would probably help to have some idea of where it ends.
It can be enjoyable to sit and just pants one’s way through a story, but when doing so, I’ve found I need to know where I’m going, even if I don’t know precisely how I’m going to get there. Until Ashes has a definite ending, I’m not sure how much further I can go.
Well, I managed to write a little more of this one this week, but it, too, is in a sort of flux. For the benefit of those who do not regularly read my posts, Breaker is, or rather will be, a novel in which a young man discovers that the laws of nature, like those of a nation, can be broken. The story, which takes place in Baraboo, Wisconsin and features a teen protagonist, was originally conceived as a young adult novel. However, several readers have since suggested that the story might be both too dark and too philosophical for a young adult audience. This, perhaps more than anything, has ground work on Breaker to a halt.
Now, I am forced to decide whether I wish to change the novel to fit my target audience, or switch target audiences to suit the novel. The latter is more likely, though I fear the novel may not be either as marketable or as powerful if written for a mature audience.
Over the coming weeks, I feel the Junk Drawer may not prove any more interesting than this. With my focus shifting back to Pathfinder, and work on publishing Wide Horizon set to resume, combined with numerous short story manuscripts awaiting review, I have a lot on my plate at the moment. Rest assured, however, that won’t decrease my writing output. For now, keep watching, keep reading, and dare to dream.