I've muttered in passing before about the novel to come after I self-publish Transformation and the Tamboli Sequence is complete. I decided it was about time I collected my current thoughts in one place, so here I am.
This is just a first stake in the ground to lay down my initial expectations, as is my wont. It will be interesting to see whether the resultant novel bears any resemblance to it once it's complete.
This is a very early stage to go on the record like this, there's lots of design, research and character development to go through before I'm even close to writing the first words, but I have enough to get me excited with the prospect.
Firstly, this will definitely be a standalone novel, which has the working title of My Family and Other Ghosts. I expect I'll change that during development, but it fits rather well and amuses me enough for now. My slightly naff initial image for the project is above – no idea why I did it, but oddly it helped crystallise a few ideas in my mind by doing it. There is a significant spoiler in the image, which is luckily entirely obscured! Again, no point other than to keep me amused.
Unlike the novels of the Tamboli Sequence, this is a much smaller-scale drama. No world-changing events, no revolutions to overturn the current world order, no overtly pessimistic outlooks on the flaws of the human race. It's very much a family story, and how its members struggle to overcome a tragedy, wrapped in a mystery over the nature of that tragedy.
It's still science fiction – the premise of the novel wouldn't work without that basis – but very much focussed on the interactions between the characters and their own perspective on the events that have shaken their lives.
I only have the three main characters specified in even the vaguest of details at present: the primary protagonist, 46-year-old Chris Parsons, his similarly-aged wife Lisa and their 25-year-old daughter Alex. My next step is to flesh them out in full, glorious detail, so I understand how they'll react to everything I'm about to throw at them – basically to add colour to those white silhouettes in the image above.
You want an early draft of an elevator pitch? Oh, go on then:
Chris Parsons' life is devastated by the tragic loss of his wife and daughter in an accident. Luckily, on some days, his wife and daughter help him cope. If only he could remember what had caused the tragedy and, indeed, what happened yesterday.
A bit more detail? OK, well let's try for an early draft blurb for my Amazon page listing.
Chris Parsons struggles to cope with life, distraught by the loss of his wife and daughter in a tragic accident.
Chris and Lisa Parsons try to come to terms with the loss of their daughter, which threatens to inexorably tear their marriage apart.
Chris Parsons finds life hard to bear after the loss of his wife; only the support of his daughter, Alex, keeps him going.
Which of these stories will be true when Chris awakens tomorrow?
Only by understanding the true nature of the tragedy befalling his family will Chris be able to recover from events, but that's hard when he can't remember what the tragedy was, or even what happened yesterday.
What do you mean, that's a bit early to be doing that? I fancied trying something different this time and letting this story organically grow from just the barest of frameworks.
I guess I'd better go and start planning it in a bit more detail, while I'm waiting for feedback on the current draft of Transformation.