After reading Talli Roland's My Rejection Love Affair blog post, I started reminiscing about my first novel, Hear On Earth (formerly entitled All Systems Go). I should say at this point that I've never finished or submitted a novel; only three and a half chapters of Hear On Earth were written. But the important thing is that it was my first attempt at writing a novel.
Hear On Earth was a science fiction novel, based on an idea I'd had in my late teens. I won't go into too much detail about the plot and characters, other than to say that there were two main protagonists, one from present day Earth, and the other from another world and the not to distant future. They start off unaware of each other, but by the fourth chapter their lives start to converge through a series of disastrous events.
When I think back about Hear On Earth, three things strike me. Firstly, it has been 14 years since I wrote those three and a half chapters. The LSO and I didn’t own a computer, but were fortunate to end up babysitting a PC whilst friends of ours spent four months travelling. The PC was rented (they were too expensive to buy then), and everything was saved to floppy discs (if you were lucky, you maybe got a chapter on one disc!). I was 24 and full of such enthusiasm, but at the same time I was absolutely sure that what I'd written was nowhere near good enough, and this scared me enough to stop writing. I gave up.
Secondly, I no longer have it. In a fit of temper, I threw the manuscript and the floppy discs away. I can't believe I did that. It is one of my biggest regrets, because I’d love to be able to look back on my writing as it was then and compare it to now. Unfortunately, that will never happen.
Thirdly, although I don’t have the original version, I’ve come to realise in the last few days that I still remember those chapters as if it were yesterday. If I had to write it today, I could. I can recall character, place, and chapter names. I can recall each scene, each chapter. It is as if the very process of committing those words to paper years ago has etched it into my memory, forever. Of course, if I sat down to re-write it now it would end up being radically different. I’ve learnt enough in the last 18 months to know that much would need to be changed.
I am seriously considering starting Hear On Earth again – I have such bittersweet memories of it, and I feel that it would be like coming full circle with my writing – but I can’t decide if it is a good idea or not. What do you think?
Do you remember stories you wrote many years ago with such clarity? Have you experienced the same feelings as I about wanting to complete an unfinished project? Is there a dusty manuscript or disc sat in the draw waiting to be finished or do you just keep them as a reminder of what might have been?