On January 10, I finished the first draft of my first novel. Right now it’s called The Harvester, though it’s possible the title will change. The novel is about 85k words and took 70 days to write. That’s a bit over one thousand words a day.
The Harvester tells the story of Mara Murphy, a young scientist brilliant beyond measure, whose inventions awaken an alien trap set for humanity a hundred thousand years in the past. When the alien’s apocalypse is unleashed on the Earth, Mara must find a way to protect the ones she loves as well as all of humanity.
The story touches on a lot of themes that I’ve felt have never been fully explored in books or cinema that I’ve read, at least not all together in a single story. I love the zombie genre, where every street is full of danger and horrible things waiting to destroy you. The zombie genre exploits the individual struggle for survival and the stories are rich in human drama. On top of that, the story explores a worldwide catastrophe more acute than a typical slow-moving walker epidemic. In many ways, the catastrophe resembles an alien invasion complete with spaceships and alien destroyer beasts straight out of War of the Worlds. In the midst of this chaos, can a single human stand against such a global threat? This is where I mix in the final genre, the superhero. Mara’s unique talents set off the apocalypse and the story explores if she has what it takes to put an end to it.
I have been thinking about writing this story for many years. I’ve never written a novel before and part of me thought that I never would. I would tell people I know about the plot and everyone would tell me it was good, that it was a good story and they encouraged me to get to it and write the damn thing. For years I took notes and wrote down themes that I wanted to explore. I wrote little scenes here and there and started fleshing out a few characters. I did everything but actually start writing the actual story. Then NaNoWriMo 2014 began and on November 2, 2104 I jumped in and started writing. To my surprise, the words just came. I almost never had a problem blasting out one or two thousand words in a session. Sometimes it would be five hundred and sometimes it would be forty-five hundred. When I got to the end of Act One I was ecstatic. It was at that time, probably at twenty thousand words, that I knew I could do it. I could actually finish. The exhilaration I felt every moment of every day during that time was indescribable. I was doing what I had always wanted to do. In fact, even now that I’ve been letting the novel rest for a few weeks, I still have that feeling. I have this sense of accomplishment that just makes me happy.