Today I put my first novel — Helix — up on the Smashwords online publishing site. I made it available in almost any digital format you can want. I’ve been working on and finishing and polishing and editing and submitting the thing since I started it at a novel-writing workshop in 1998! And at last, at last, it’s out there in a public form. (With its own ISBN and everything!)
Here’s the synopsis:
If we suppress the impulses that inspire religious terrorism, do we also eliminate the spiritual impulses that lead to transcendent acts? Do they stem from the same source in the human soul, intertwining like the helix of our DNA, condemning us to an endless, deadly either/or choice?
Helix puts those questions to Peter Stewart, after the apparent suicide of his twin brother Jon. A century after the world was shaken by global religious wars, a United Nations government has brought peace by taking the teaching of religion out of the hands of families and spiritual institutions, controlling the doctrines taught in school, and not allowing children to declare or practise a religious preference until age 18. But Peter senses that the new peace stems from a deadness of spirit that has infected society, and he finds no inner resources to help him grapple with his twin’s death.
Only when he discovers a “religious underground,” fighting to bring freedom of religion back to the world, does his own spirit seem to revive. But behind this movement looms the prospect of reintroducing the freedom to attack others in the name of one’s own spiritual beliefs. Peter’s exploration of censored history and his struggle with this either/or problem interweave with his ambivalence about the dangerous project of the religious underground throughout the novel.
I thought I was excited two weeks ago, when I actually got my first very own ISBN. Or last Saturday, when I finally finished the very exacting formatting that Smashwords requires. But when my friend Kevin did the cover today, meaning I could finally, finally upload it — oh boy. Unbelievable feeling.
Sorry that the Prologue is coming now. When I finally opened up the story files after the disk had sat for several years in storage, I forgot to open that file for a long time. So the most recent read-and-edit was done without it, and I still forget it sometimes.
That is going to be one of my questions as the story goes along. Do I need the Prologue at all? It adds extra meaning to what goes on in Chapter 1, but it may not need to be there. What do you think?
Feel free to leave any comments in this post if you want to. Let me know what you think.
For those who commented on all those adverbs attached to speaking verbs, that won’t be amended in this chapter, but it should be better in every chapter after this one, as they go through a fresh edit before each posting.
That’s right, everyone! I’m starting to post some chapters from my own writing, on a kind of corner of my editing and writing website, Shiny Ideas.
I’m starting with sample chapters from my YA novel, The Bridge, which I’m currently editing to try to resubmit to some agents or publishers. But in the meantime, I’m posting the chapters for all and sundry to read if they want. (I don’t believe “The Bridge” will be its final title, but it’s the best I can come up with for now.)
There will be other pieces of writing posted in that corner, including an ongoing soap opera I’ve been working on for a long time, for my own entertainment and just to see if I could do it. 🙂
Meanwhile, this novel is about a rather mousy, bookish high school girl with a very active imagination, who escapes from her boring math class by creating a fantasy world in the back of her notebook. But she finds that imagined fantasy world taking on a depth she never expected in her wildest dreams.