October 15, 2006

A Novel… in 90 seconds.

I’ve always fancied the idea of writing a book, just so long as I can take the credit without doing any of the work. So here’s my first – and probably last – novel, which I’ve condensed into a couple of hundred words to save you and me the bother of writing/reading it. Do let me know if I’ve inadvertantly stolen it from someone else.

Act 1
Man, aged about 30, living in London, 1997. Everything’s fine and rosy, but some things jar slightly. Traffic lights don’t look quite the same. People have mobile phone implants. You know, the usual. Reader suspects that this is some parallel version of 1997 (mammoth hints are dropped when Charles and Diana celebrate their anniversary together). Man gets himself into something he shouldn’t be in (walking in on some lame-ass drug deal or football bung). Reader is very sympathetic (following several chapters which have portrayed him as a thoroughly decent bloke who they’d quite like as a husband/son/father). Something-he-shouldn’t-be-in gets played out for 50-60 pages before he is summarily executed at the hands of some thoroughly unpleasant people. End of Act One.

Act 2
Man, aged about 30, living in Scarborough, 2032. Man has been playing an online-based ‘virtual life’ for the past three years and his death in the ‘game’ means he is booted out and returned to the real, offline world. Things have – you guessed it – changed significantly for the worse in those three years, with family members dying, North Korea finally having blown up the Eastern Hemisphere and climate change having progressed so quickly that it’s now on the downward-side of the curve, quickly approaching 57 degrees below zero. Majority of act chronicles his attempts to deal with this new world he inhabits. Act closes with him stealing someone else’s identity in order to be able to start again as a new player in his online game.

Act 3
Man, aged about 27, living in London, 1994. Said man finds that virtual world is unfortunately realistic and while he was happy in Act 1, his new life turns out to be thoroughly shite. Spends 20-30 pages pondering the fact that what life deals you is pretty much down to luck and realises that he has to choose between dying again (and going back to real world full of ‘real’ problems) or making the most of what his virtual self has. I’ve not quite decided which he should do yet.

Pile of toss, eh? Glad I didn’t waste a year turning it into a 500-page tome of crap.

P.S. If I turn out to have a rubbish sense of whether this is any good or not, I’m claiming full copyright on it. Don’t even try it!


- 15 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. There’s something Red Dwarfy in there somewhere… Curse everything that’s already been thought of!

    15 Oct 2006, 22:34

  2. Yep, the great Red Dwarf episode ‘Back to Reality’ has done much of that already. When they die they find themselves waking up from a virtual reality game (ie their existence thus far had been a game), but after a while realise that their death, and the virtual reality game, were both an illusion conjured up by a Suicide Squid.

    16 Oct 2006, 01:19

  3. Adam

    Screw the novel – you should turn it into one of those graphic novels that geeks read on the tube.

    By the way, apparently us SRA nominees get treated to a lunch at Capital radio on the day of the awards..you heard anything about it?

    16 Oct 2006, 11:27

  4. Chris D

    Ooh, you had to drop that one in didn’t you. You tease. Yes, I’ve heard a little about this. All I can say is it’d better be free! Cost of the evening bit is cheaper this year too, which is nice.

    16 Oct 2006, 12:53

  5. you should turn it into one of those graphic novels that geeks read on the tube.

    Oi! There are graphic novels in the Warwick library, so it’s not just geeks on trains, but geeks on U1s and 12s. :P

    I like short novels like this. It’s the only work of fiction I’ve read all year.

    17 Oct 2006, 02:12

  6. David Sheffield

    It had a good beginning but trailed off at the end I’m afraid. Needs more direction.

    17 Oct 2006, 08:53

  7. Sign up to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which would probably be ideal for you to motivate you to get your novel written. See http://www.nanowrimo.org/ The idea is that you have a deadline and therefore are more likely to write it up rather than if you just decide to do it some day...

    17 Oct 2006, 09:58

  8. What… where is the final twist? Basically, man from the future is in reality game, game ends, his life sucks, wants back in, gets back into the game, but in a bizzare twist of fate realises… life sucks in general. Its a good starting point but I agree… goes down hill at the end.
    Hurm… inprovement would be that he returns back into the game exactly as he left it but (no longer dead) to find out that everyone that he loved in the game has moved on and forgotten him.
    Alternatively, that he starts again from the beginning and no matter how hard he tries the game follows the exact same route as before… can he figure a way not to die.
    Ah… plot idea’s are cheap… its the hardwork of writing them down that sucks.
    Also, try to avoid the is he still in the game suspension that has been done so many times before!

    17 Oct 2006, 09:58

  9. its tough but keep trying

    17 Oct 2006, 22:31

  10. anonymous

    novel! kekeke

    18 Oct 2006, 12:47

  11. Chralotte

    Ive always wnated to be a journalist. I’m writing a novel on “Word” right now, though it might take a bit of a while to finish!

    18 Oct 2006, 18:20

  12. Jess

    What’s it about, Charlotte?

    19 Oct 2006, 12:24

  13. Charlotte

    Its about this boy who keeps transforming into a merman. Don’t know where I got the idea from…

    19 Oct 2006, 16:16

  14. Jess

    Intriguing…that sounds like a very good idea for a story, Charlotte.

    19 Oct 2006, 16:55

  15. Charlotte

    Gee, thanks Jess!

    19 Oct 2006, 17:08


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