The week Alex was born, I made up my mind to finally write a full-length novel. I didn’t want to do it for publication, riches, or fame– but because I had some great story ideas (just concepts, actually) and wanted to put them to paper. I spent a few days laying out the plot and the characters and even the world where they occurred. It was, of course, science fiction and therefore had to take place in the far future on some far-flung world of the galactic empire. I even started writing, but after twenty or thirty pages I simply ran out of steam. Over the years those ideas have festered, the plot has evolved, even the characters have changed. And every time I try to dive into it, I find myself stuck beyond a few chapters.

As an interesting side note, one of the three main characters in that story was named Kyra al-Kii, and a year and a half later I took that name for my daughter. So now it might look strange to have a heroine named for my daughter, but the truth is that it’s the other way around. That’s when I really decided Kyra was a cool name, and what better use for it?

Anyway, the years– almost six of them– have rolled past, and I’m no closer to finishing the novel. I’ve added to the concepts, but my biggest hurdle (and a constant weakness of mine) is that while I have some really fascinating plot lines, I haven’t figured out how to tie them all together into a coherent, gripping, sensible story. It’s like I have pieces of twenty stories and need something to bring them all together into a saga. I don’t know if that’s how most novels are written, but I suspect not. I’ve read books about how to write novels, and all of them suggest planning chapter-by-chapter, describing characters on paper before even beginning to write about them, and really thinking about the story and finding its weaknesses and “dry” parts so they can be improved.

So the ideas are still there, the ambition is still there, but I simply haven’t dedicated the time and energy to do it. I’ve always said that my goal in life is to spend my retirement years (hopefully not too far away) sitting on my big house-encircling porch, in an easy chair, clicking away at a novel on my laptop while the sun setsover the mountains in front of me. That image is so vivid in my mind that I can almost picture the place I live, and the setting I’m describing. Of course there’s a long and not-so-fun road to get there, but if things go really incredibly fantastically well I could be there someday. Time will tell.