Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. I haven’t been in the Foundry in months.
In fact, aside from fixing up a few things in my missions that were broken by the launch of STO Season 7, I haven’t really been in the Foundry since I published The Mayns of Balnar Moon in May 2012.
There are two major reasons for this: one entirely boring, and the other rather more exciting. Well, exciting for me :)
The entirely boring reason is work – my job has kept me horrifically busy since last May, eating up my life and leaving me stressed, run-down and generally too tired to do anything creative in my evenings and rare days off. It is finally relenting, and so – at last – I’ve started to regain the energy and the enthusiasm required to write and think creatively.
And that’s where the rather more exciting reason comes in.
I’m attempting to turn the story of my STO Foundry mission City of the Polmar Ree into a novel, and all of my creative efforts for the foreseeable future are focussed there.
Pause. I’m waiting for you to go “Ooooh!”. No? Oh well then.
I’m calling this novel fan fic, because that’s what it is: it’s hijacking the Star Trek and Star Trek Online lore to tell a story not to sell, but just for the sheer love of telling stories set in that universe. And, if I’m honest, it’s also an experiment: I want to find out whether I actually can write a novel.
In common with a large proportion of the human race, I’ve always wanted to write a novel. I’ve always thought I could write one, providing a good enough idea came along. And so it did with my notion of the Polmar Ree, an ancient race who fled the galaxy eons ago and now live outside it, inviting every sentient species in the galaxy to visit them, all together, once every 216 years.
I’m lucky that the mission I created in STO about the encounter with the Polmar Ree in 2409 (the year of the Star Trek Online universe) has been incredibly popular; yet it has never been a particularly good mission. It was a product of the circumstances under which it was created – most of it was written during the months-long Foundry downtime following the launch of STO Season 4 in summer 2011. Without access to the Foundry, without being able to create objectives, and interacts, and maps, and encounters, I sat in a word processor for three months and created a behemoth of a story, dialog-driven and text-heavy. The resulting mission is not particularly interactive; the gameplay consists of talking to a lot of people and being told A LOT of well-written-and-highly-developed-stuff, then jumping down a turbolift shaft (guess when the map editor was switched back on?). All of this makes it a good story, and a bad mission. And maybe I should have been writing it as a book all along.
So: now’s the time to find out whether a reasonably good idea, a stock of self belief and a metric shit tonne of hard work are enough to turn an aspiration into an actual novel.
As old Jake Sisko said to a young girl who wanted to be a writer some day in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Visitor, “Sounds like you’re waiting for something to turn you into one.” Well, I’m done waiting.
I’ve written first drafts of a prologue and three-and-a-half chapters so far, and it’s taken months. Recently my pace has quickened as the demands of my job have slowed, and I’m planning to show my first drafts of the first few chapters to the world for some feedback in the next few weeks. I’ll publish them on the G&T Show forums, and see what the community makes of them. *zoinks*
Until then, it’s back to the word processor. And maybe a few penitent Hail Marys.