How I wrote a novel

Patrick Ullmer | Photo Courtesy
The science-fiction novel I wrote, Eternalize

Part 1 of 2- visualizing and writing

In the winter of 2019, I wrote a science fiction novel entitled Eternalize. The story focuses upon an astronaut in space who befriends an alien and how the two embark on a great adventure. During this past summer, I edited and published the novel under the independent publishing company During this event, I realized just how much of a growing process writing a novel can become.

I originally envisioned this story while I was sitting in an empty classroom on campus. I drew up the outline of what the story would be about. Three things constituting a beginning, middle and end. It would begin with a person leaving Earth and experiencing a great tragedy. Then it would cover him rescuing and understanding an alien creature, and it would end with the two returning to Earth. That was all I had written as an outline. 

It was from here that I started the story, developing a bleak future of slavery, numbness and at the end of it all, hope. At the time of writing, I was in a dark place and transferred much of my own insecurities into the mind of the protagonist. Detailing how he had lost everything and then built a new life with the alien and other friends he makes along the way. I wanted there to be a heavy emphasis on optimism and humanism, two features of which present sci-fi seems to be devoid of.

After writing all of this out, I set it up on a shelf for nearly a full year before returning and editing it. Author G.K. Chesterton once stated, “A good novel tells the truth of its hero; a bad novel tells the truth of its author.” I realized that I had to be careful about what I put in writing since many people I knew, and many who I did not, would read it. I toned down some thematic elements while enhancing others and changed the protagonist into more of an optimist. I publish this book simply because I was proud of it. This is a story about a man who is thrust into a world beyond his understanding, and about how his personal heroism and ethics help him save the lives and souls of those he encounters.

How could I not be proud? I have not viewed novels the same way and am open to writing novels again. Next week, I will discuss the defining moment of writing- the editing and publishing processes.

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