10 July 2012
Forgotten But Not Lost by Ashleen O'Gaea
Not too long ago, I found what I thought, given its age, was likely to be an unfinished manuscript. It was undated, but clear from xxxing outs and actual typewriting that I'd written it before I had a computer (which means it was the the late eighties or very early nineteen-nineties). I was very good, back then, at not finishing stories, but surprise, surprise! This one was finished!
The other surprise was that I didn't remember it. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Of course I don't remember every single word I've written, but usually after I read a line or two of a poem, or a title or paragraph or two of a story (this piece is still untitled) I can nod and say to myself, "Oh, yeah - I sorta remember that." Not this one. So I started playing data entry, and retyped it on the computer. I wasn't diligent about it, but I took the time to distinguish between the originally typed bits, the hand-written revisions and additions, and the bits I felt I needed to add while I was typing. I still don't remember writing the first draft, but now I have a rough -- very rough -- draft of a fairly terrible 58,000-word sci fi novel.
With the loose pages was a file folder, covered in notes (character name possibilities, mostly), and containing a few more hand-written pages of half-developed ideas and scene descriptions. I haven't fully read or integrated any of them yet. But one note is in bigger writing than the others, and circled, and matches one I made when I was retyping: lose the whole Valery thing. (Valery was a character to whom something distressing but interesting was happening, but the characters who were supposed to be taking care of it for her got distracted, and she was never mentioned again, even at the end when the distressing-but-interesting thing was referenced one last time.)
I'm pretty well out of my sci-fi phase now, but there is a slim to slimmer possibility that I could rewrite the whole thing as steampunk: the plot would work, but the setting would require dozens of large, sturdy trucks to move. And speaking of character names, some of those were over the top: I changed one as I typed, and had already changed another in mid-original-draft. My two favorites are Weightless Tarsendall, a scientist -- and the villain's ship, the Doomgadget. (See? I said it had some steampunk potential.)
Now that National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo) has opened Camp NaNoWriMo in June and August, I might take advantage of that motivation to work on -- um, my yet untitled new old novel -- next month. I'm not sure about that yet, but one thing is for sure: I won't forget this story again!