So back in 2013, I wrote a book. I didn’t really start it because I thought it would lead to anything, although that maybe grew a bit later. If anything, I began it because there was stuff I wanted to get off my chest.
Of course, I now realise there are easier, more concise ways of doing that.
Later, the attraction of being a writer, or rather, telling people I was a writer, basking in the self-image I constructed in my head, overtook the fun of actually writing the damn thing. As it turns out, spending a year writing can be a bit of a slog
That and the genesis of the whole deal meant that I hadn’t actually planned anything out. I’d started scribbling in a fit of emotion and ended up with a chapter of a novel before shrugging my shoulders and getting on with it. Probably because of this, I spent more and more time disentangling plot threads and rereading stuff I’d already written as I went, which wasn’t particularly fun.
Anyway, the resulting manuscript isn’t particularly good. You can trace the various currents of how I was feeling while I was writing in the prose, as it drifts into pretension and exposition and the boring nuts and bolts of longform fiction. It doesn’t start particularly well, it meanders quite a lot, the dialogue is often stilted and the world-building is clumsy at best. It even commits the worst possible sin, in that it’s boring.
So why even mention all of this? Because I plan to post chapters of it here. At the very least, it’s a good exercise from my point of view to go back and read stuff I wrote a couple of years ago. In particular, I can look at it and consider what I might do differently on any long fiction projects in the future. A little editing practice wouldn’t hurt. And of course, it’s a convenient way to manufacture content with very little effort.
But what benefit do you, the reader, get from chapters of a mediocre, unplanned melange of sci-fi tropes? Well, none really. I mean, you could treat it as a kind of writing club, where people critique one another’s efforts (which would be pretty cool). Or you could ignore it.
Either way, I wrote The Homecoming because I was trying to say something about the nature of home and and belonging and leaving and growing up and friendships and perspectives and change. I didn’t really manage it. Being young and suddenly cast adrift in a world that’s far more impossibly complex than you could ever imagine is terrifyingly, thrillingly exhilirating. It needs someone far more skilled than me to capture it.