I took a little break in December from writing to polish over some older stories (and play some Prince of Persia). But by the time the New Year rolled around, I was itching to get back in the saddle.
It still took me a while to get started, tho, because I had work I needed to take home, but finally this past weekend I was able to start a sci-fi thriller I had been playing around with for a few months. The concept required some researching of indigenous cultures around the world, preferably those that had been around for more than 20,000 years, like the Australian Aborigines. I didn't want to use them, however, as that angle has already been done to death. Similarly, I didn't want to go with a culture in Africa for the same reason.
So, I eventually landed on the mostly "undiscovered" island of New Guinea. It's one of the last places on Earth with people who can trace their lineage back to over 40,000 years ago! I mean, CHRIST!!! That's a long time! Some of the tribes in the highlands have only seen outsiders for the first time as recently as 1970. Technologically-wise, they were still living in the neolithic!
I think that's simply amazing. With such a setting, it was easy to let my mind wander and take the glimmer of an idea and really expand it to something exciting. After doing some more research, I was able to narrow the location to the western portion of the island -- which is really a province of Indonesia called "Papua." This is not to be confused with the eastern half of the island, an autonomous nation all on its own called "Papua New Guinea." Yeah, try figuring that one out. It sure took me a while. :)
I'm pretty proud of the story I crafted. It took me 4 days to write it, and came in at just under 6,500 words. Despite the low-tech setting, it really is a sci-fi tale through and through. I won't give anything away, but if you know me, there's some pretty freaky goings-on in here! I was particular taken aback by how well the research supported the premise of the story, however. I hadn't planned on it to work out so well, just one of those lucky coincidences we writers wish for in these instances. But as it turns out, the high-concept sci-fictional idea I had cooked up was actually supported pretty neatly by the local native folklore and spiritual beliefs. Wow!
The story is tentatively titled "Prison Moon" for now. I often change the title once I get through the polishing stage, but even though this is still the rough draft I think I might keep this one. We'll see. I'm happy I've been able to cut my average word count down, with this latest story being my most economical to date. I've written shorter stories, but never like this. Slowly but surely my word efficiency is improving. I'm able to "show" more while writing less and less. It's amazing how much story I was able to cram into these 6.5k words. I'm so thrilled!
Anyway, I've already worked out an outline for my next story. Typically I try to write at least one new short story per month. Sometimes I write two. I want to crack open some Fallout 3 on the Xbox 360 this weekend, but since I already have a rough idea of how this next story is going, I may just take a quick few days out of my gaming schedule to write it out for the end of the month.
So, yeah, "Prison Moon" was a success (at least by my standards). Time will tell whether or not I can get someone to take the bait and actually pay me for it. :) I probably won't be sending it out until the middle of next month at the earliest. But I'll keep ya'll updated!
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