This novel is the product of my third year attempting National Novel Writing Month. It is a contest of sorts, held every year in November, with the goal being to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month. The only person you compete against is yourself. The idea is just to write and not to be bogged down worrying about quality and other things that tend to block us from writing. It is frantic and fun. I would recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in writing.
It's my third attempt at NNWM, but only the second time the novel is being posted here on Antioch. Last year's wannabe mystery novel shall never be spoken of again.
Going into this year, I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to participate in NNWM again. There were various constraints on my time that I assumed I would have during the month, and it seemed like NNWM was going to be what I would have to squeeze out. But it turned out that I was going to be more free than I thought initially, so that meant that it was time to again give it a try.
I had a vague idea that I wanted to write something science fiction-y this year, and that was where I began figuring things out. I didn't really want some kind of Star Trek-like sci-fi where technology is so omnipresent that it's taken for granted, but I didn't know more than that. Before long, I had the idea that I'd set my novel on a ship that was bound to colonize Pluto. That journey would make up the novel, hence the title.
On top of that, I wanted to do something else experimental (for me, as a writer) this year. I decided that, rather than go with the natural instinct for a story that would span five years in a closed system, which would be to have some sort of ensemble cast (not unlike what you might see on my two favorite TV shows at press time, Lost and Battlestar Galactica), I would instead have the story be told in the first-person from one particular character. I knew this would be a challenge for me. Since it was NNWM, I sought to create a character whose storytelling would be conversational and would create words for me.
So David Dearborne Jr. was born. The primary inspiration for the character is Holden Caulfield. The story, I figured, would be the journey of a misanthrope as he came to interact with the people who were forced upon him. Assorted other details of his character were fleshed out, many of which were intentionally made for his life to be as absurd as possible. He was not meant to be a sympathetic character from the outset. I wanted him to be the protagonist, but not necessarily the good guy in all situations. With that in mind, I started the novel, and 23 days later I am finished.
The finished product has not been edited at all at this time. It's my raw, first draft. There may never be a second draft. It's not perfect, and at times it gets downright ridiculous, a common symptom of NNWM novels. Still, I had fun writing it, and hopefully at least somebody will have fun reading it.
November 24, 2005
Novel was composed in plain text for simplicity. Unfortunately, this is not really conducive to easy wiki-ing. I've broken it down into plain text files for each chapter for the time being. It will probably remain in this format for quite some time.