Blocking in is the stage I am in with my current work-in-progress, not its title. This is to be my ninth novel and the twelfth book overall. When I came up with the initial sketch (the first plot outline) I’d envisioned this as literary fiction. However, to do justice to what I wanted to say in the story, it would have needed to have taken place in an alternate 20th century timeline, since I didn’t want to have to deal with the rampant racism and sexism that polluted that epoch. I’ve done that before, most notably in The Stubborn Life of Jesse Ed McKinney, but I didn’t want to do so here, for some reason. It might be because I’d come up with over a dozen worlds for my last book, and I hated to waste them, or it might have been that I prefer reading sci-fi right now. In either case, my final draft has switched the story to take place on another world, although no other elements of the book change in any substantive way.
Racial politics exist, and whether those races are defined by the same species is irrelevant. I can create a fictional town on another planet as easily as I can imagine one in Iowa or New Hampshire. So, literary science fiction it is. Let’s see how it turns out. I made a start, which just like the blocking-in stage in painting, is quick, ugly, and certain to change significantly as more layers are added. I thought it would be interesting to post here, so I can come back and laugh at it later, after I’ve painted over all of the rough spots.
Want to hear it? here it go.
Until I was fourteen years of age, the single-minded focus of my life had been following in my parent’s footsteps, preparing myself for the day when, as father was wont to say, my desires would be the servants of my will. Then, on the occasion of my fifteenth birthday, covered in my own blood and that of the feral fong beast I had barely battled to its death, I learned that real desire could be subservient to no man’s will. That night, with the wind’s shrill caresses causing the large tree that overlooked my bedroom to tremble and its leaves to fall in a final death-rattle to the soil, with lightning painting the sky and sweat drenching my brow, I became a man, beckoned therein by the touch of my dearest aunt, whom we called Mara. No one’s will could have been strong enough to resist that call, I reckon. Mara’s name meant sorrow, and to that point, it had suited her perfectly. She changed after that night, as did I, thought in ways neither of us could have predicted. I fear I am making little sense; this is my first attempt at writing my story … our story. Perhaps I should start at the beginning and not in its middle.