Why is it that I am trying to write my magnum opus in my first novel?
Why am I doing this again?
If I didn't insist on moving the story to a planet far, far away, where they use hexadecimal instead of decimal numbers, including hexadecimal time, I'd probably have been finished by now. But I'm trying to use the novel as a vehicle for exploring all the problems of modern society.
And I thought I was progessing, but I'm now out of time.
Why is it that I tried, in my senior projects in computer science, to reinvent the entire computer industry from the bottom up, and then threw away the assembler and Forth interpreter that I did finish?
Why is it that, for my first information systems term homework assignments, I wrote real-world applications, and then threw them away?
Why is it that my father-in-law thought he had to teach me how to fill a small bag of rice from a larger one without spilling any? And why is it I found it so hard to bear his unnecessary demonstrations and hand-holding? He was wrong, but it was his house and his cockroaches he was trying not to feed, not mine. And it was his daughter I married against his wishes, so it isn't really all that unsurprising that he would want an excuse to slap my hands.
People are always telling me I'm doing things wrong, and I am always trying to prove that different is not wrong just because it's different. It's been that way all my life. And I end up proving nothing, in particular, except that, while their methods might work for them, mine tend to work for me, if they'll just let me do things my way, and we'd all get a lot more done if we didn't waste so much time arguing about who is wrong and who is right.
But, of course, if you can't figure out what I'm doing, what I'm doing has no value for you. Or, at best, the value is limited.
Apparently, argument is not a very good vehicle for bringing value back from the wilderness, not the best way to communicate.
And I'm really out of time. Got to go work for people who will pay me money.
The secifics about this novel:
When I go out to find work teacching English, I only have a bachelors in computer science -- no advanced degree, and the major is not clearly related to English or teaching. And I don't have any teaching certifications.
I'm too late to pick up a Japanese certification. They have age limits in Japan. And I have not had the extra time or money to go back to school or pick up one of the international Teaching English as a Foreign Language certifications. And I have to compete with too many younger kids. So it's getting harder to find work.
I thought, if I get a novel published, that would be pretty good proof that I can read and write English well enough to teach it.
How's that for a pile of non-sequitur?
So I thought, what would be an easy idea for a story that my high school students could read, that I could write quickly, and that would be easy to sell?
Man and woman stranded by themselves somewhere.
Space ship? I want to sometime write about why that presents serious engineering issues far beyond simply getting people up there and keeping them safe, but that would take a lot of research and a bit of computer modeling. Putting them on a planet of their own would add additional religious philosophical problems. I would have to lay proper groundwork for Adam and Eve, essentially, which is another thing I want to do when I have better skills and more time.
Ultimately, I settled on a desert island. That would sell. (Look at the market two and a half years ago. If I could have gotten it out on the market then, it might well have sold.)
How to get them on the desert island alone, long term? Storm? Accident?
Now I am nominally a (good?) Mormon, so I don't want my main characters to have sex without getting married. So they would have to have a back story that would support them refraining from that kind of behavior. On the other hand, romance is what sells, so I want them to have romance.
I thought about having the man be Mormon, and having the woman spend the whole novel trying to wear him down. That might sell, but I really didn't want to write that story -- or the gender converse. It's a bit misogynistic. And man-hating, as well.
So I settled on two graduate students from a Church school doing fieldwork in an island country.
While I was working through this, I was also thinking how desert island stories are the sort of simplifications relative to sociology and economics that the cannonball and feather in a vacuum represent in physics.
And that is how I got to Economics 101.
That's how the novel developed conflicting goals -- one, to keep them apart, and two, to get them together -- Three, to entertain at a level to get people to buy, and four to instruct in some ideas that people current (falsey) consider to be pretty arcane.
Various aspects of the story took me away from the general folk Mormonism, and I don't want to argue with people about that, so I initially intended to resort to alternate reality.
But that wasn't enough separation, and the back story and the island story started to diverge, so I decided to move the story to another planet, far, far away. I thought that would give me some wiggle room in bringing the back story and the island story together. I've tried twice, even, and the result just makes the pieces that much harder to fit together.
If I had just been willing to stick with a simple story, where they are found in a few months, and religion is not a big part, but they do respect each other's freedom of association, I could have been finished.
Too many additional requirements. It's the story of my life.
But you know, I don't feel like I have sinned. I've lived long enough to realize that, even if I get stuck, refusing to add necessary additional requirements is what gets us things like the Intel 80x86 processors that make the Internet ten times the energy waste that it should be, MSWindows OSses that are magnets to malware, and so on.
A truly secure OS would be a different kind of evil, as well.
The one thing I have not yet succeeded in doing is figuring out how to get people to support what I'm doing. Even the friends who read my stories want me to take them different directions.
Hmm. Now that I know something about the terrain, maybe I could do a couple of the simpler stories in a way that would not be just adding to the body of bad literature. That would be good, too, and maybe I could finish it while I work some other job to try to pay for food. And it might help get the problems in the first one worked out.