Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I should probably never try for good, solid 'this is what I'm going to do' plans. I swear, every time I settle in with a nice plan, something comes up. At least in writing.

What came up this time is a returning back problem -- spine actually -- that led to incredibly bad headaches for days. They're still there, building up again, but it's not constant. So I can work. But concentration is shot to hell.

Which makes writing new material very hard. I have the outline for Farstep Station, and that's helped me keep moving on it. Creating outlines for other material is not easy, though, and I've let them slip for a few days. Editing Eliora's World isn't bad. Editing Mirrors has turned out to be a lot of fun and diverting.

But even Farstep started to get difficult. So I went looking for something easier to work on. Maybe an older story that I needed to rewrite and get on computer so I had more than one copy....

I found something. I can't say it's easier, but at least I'm having fun.

I wrote the original Sooma story in about 1971, I think. That copy got lost in a flood, but I did somehow save a rewrite I did in 1981. Handwritten, by the way. I pulled it out while I was in chat and the people there talked me into typing it up. IT'S ALL THEIR FAULT!

Sooma I, handwritten, is 1770 pages long. About 100 words per page. Yes, easy math there -- around 170,000 words. And it's the first of four, though the following three are shorter.

I got through the little intro note and started on the chapter. I kept telling myself that I would only type it up. No rewrites. No rewrites. NO -- hell, I couldn't stand it. The entire first two chapters hadn't a single bit of dialogue. The characters fought a massive battle in the first chapter. I'd never read anything so dull. If there was ever a sign that I'm a better writer (for whatever that might mean) it's here in this twenty-three year old handwritten monster.

So why bother?

Because something in it still calls to me, oddly enough. Sooma was my very first original work. I'd done Star Trek, High Chaparral and a few other odds and ends. I hadn't done Sangre yet, which was something of a joint effort anyway.

Sooma was my first brush with creating my own world, my own characters and my own (rambling) plot. I doubt I'll be able to do more than make it barely readable. But you know, you shouldn't forget your first love in writing.

This is fun.

So here is a snippet from the opening, part of a journal:

I am old now. The Eternal Children are gone, and I am an old rambling heretic high priest who feels the end near, and must -- for the sake of his soul -- tell the truth, even if it is only on paper.

I will write here all that they told me, as well as what I learned from my father and grandfather. This is not the tale of the Gods as it is written in the Official Creed of Sooma (which I also wrote). No, this is the story of four people who chanced to be immortals, and found life as much a curse as a blessing. They paid dearly for their gift.

I write this as I wait here on Alofi like any other pilgrim who traveled the stars to see this world. And a thousand times a thousand years from now, when even the name of Sooma is finally forgotten, perhaps then this journal can be found and read -- and understood.

We were a young empire -- insecure, barbarian -- and when they left, we needed something.

They gave us Eternity.

Come seeking, but do not pray to Sooma.

Pray for Sooma.

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