Decide on my next novel

I wrote Trimalchio about two years ago and ever since then I’ve been experimenting with screenplays and playwright nonsense. Did some poems and some drafts of some other stuff. Except I’ve not put out anything substantial writing-wise since then. Maybe I should apologize for that but, you know, I’ve been kind of busy. But since those two years I have had the time to write a few things and have been transfixed on quite a few ideas. There’s a problem though in that I can’t settle on what to do next. See, I’m quite a way into three novels. Yes, novels. I’m doing one of those things again.

So I need your help in deciding which one to continue on and finish with. This will likely take up the bulk of a year or probably more. Actually, yeah, probably just a bit more. But I need to settle on a story to write and rewrite. So here are the three stories that have been turning over my head the most. And attached is a sample chapter or prologue for each of them. Read them all or just one of them or none at all, there’s some blurbs below if you can’t be bothered. There’s a poll at the end of this post so just vote for whichever one you like the best. I’ll have a look at the results in two weeks or something.

Forgive the mistakes of grammar, spelling and otherwise. The final versions of the chapters below will be much more well polished. Consider the genre, themes, characters and the general ‘feel’ of the stories.

TOWARDS A WORLD UNKNOWN

Drifting out of the Solar System, Noah Frost and Sydney Kim must pluck together impossible courage to steer mankind through centuries of sleep. They share their dreams with Charles Osgood Frederickson, an ancient mind in control of the ship Theseus, aiding them to glide humanity out of extinction. Yet in the blurring image of the Earth they once knew, the last two humans will have to wrestle with impossible dreams and wage psychological warfare against an insane computer program in order to save everything they know.

Towards A World Unknown – Sample Chapter

TRAIN

A lone wanderer walks into his hundredth year to find his face still young. One forgotten young boy grows aged and bitter, with dynamite anger stirring inside him. When these two collide, continents will shift and gods will fall from the sky. Alongside, two young boys must come face to face with the realities of heroism, and must harness unusual abilities to fight back against the stir of the shadows. An existential twist on the superhero genre.

Train – Sample Prologue

SPLIT

A charismatic billionaire embarks on the ultimate vanity project but finds himself cornered by a vision of himself. Amidst identity crisis and self-destruction, he must pick up the pieces of his past to recover exactly who he is.

Split – Sample Chapter

2014

first1

There are a few times in our lives that none of us can understand. This entire year has been one of those times. In this short span of 12 months I have traveled to Asia and taught little kids the Punic War, wrestled with the philosophy of Plato and Hobbes, written a few thousand words on the nature of history, had so many drunken stupors and fun forgotten nights, and, really, a lot of it just still isn’t understood by me. A week ago I was stood in the middle of Selwyn College, Cambridge, in a black bow tie with the cold all around. The leaves were glazed over with frost and the night was turning into stupid, and yet there I stood. A few hundred miles away from home. Half-drunk, with projections of snow flakes and a whole circus of students milling around me. There are times when you have to pause, to re-collect, and this was one of them. Only three letters came to mind. My entire year can be summed up in one giant W-T-F. Continue reading

On Mark

Writing is hard. I mean, yeah, it’s cushy and fun and I shouldn’t complain as a young white male about anything in my life. But it is hard though. A long time ago I finally got around to writing a novel and it went pretty well and I enjoyed it and a lot of ‘myself’ aged whatever was put into it. I’ve been told it’s pretty fun and the whole rhythm, patterns and humour that came from the character Mark was something I enjoyed writing. The whole affair a meta-inter-textual literary romp through romantic tropes and half-assed jokes. In the end, I’m still proud that I told a consistent story with actual characterization, but I’m a bit sick of white males dealing with white male problems in stories. At least he should deal with something interesting like an intergalactic war or superpowers that make him a timebomb or a world full of dead Presidents. Trimalchio, though, was once a one-off and then it became a stamp. I intended, at one point, to take Mark forward along with myself.

I planned to write a sequel called Under the Red, White & Blue after Fitzgerald’s other other title for The Great Gatsby but this time without so much allusion to Carraway’s lust for some rich guy. Broadway & Beyond was even hinting at it. As you’ll find out, Mark is gone now. I believe a lot in the fact that the author is dead and he/she shouldn’t really know what happens to his/her characters after stories, and that he/she isn’t really the authority of ‘meaning’ even in their own work. But that’s just me being me.

But I did intend to take Mark into a whole rut of writer’s block. The characters of Melanie, Nick and the other ‘Trimalchio’ cast would end up as singletons spread throughout the globe with the play as a roaring failure in the eyes of the Tony awards and the wider audiences. Frankie and Gerry would break up, with Mark estranged from both of them. Nelson, the sort-of-not-really antagonist of Trimalchio would string Mark into a sea of book deals and playwright contracts, before concrete writer’s block breaks him and takes us to the events of Under the Red, White & Blue.

So much more carries on in my notes, and so much of it has been dropped and reshaped. I intended for it to be two narratives side by side, with them meeting by the way of dreams and writings. Nick Carraway would turn up, forlorn and looking for purpose, into the harbors of Havana, whilst Mark would lock himself in a hotel room but find himself wandering the town, bumping into old people, stories and young women, with one of them, a Canadian college drop-out on the run from her parents, leading him into a sense of hope and belonging. I then dropped the Carraway B-story and had Mark writing Furnished Souls inside the story, which was to be my own novella of The Great Gatsby set from the POV of Michaelis. I then dropped that and made Furnished Souls into a two line joke. I then dropped- and you get the picture. Under the Red, White & Blue was to tell the story of Mark trying to find his project, to find his purpose, and rediscover what is truly magical about writing, creativity and the whole fruits of life, all ending in the beginnings of a genuine love story.

It was a happy ending, ending on the note that Mark wanted to write something more serious, with all of the personal fused with the wider world he had encountered. Frankie would rear his head, calling out of the blue and invite Mark to Thanksgiving, alongside his ‘friend, nothing more’ of Gerry. Melanie would post engagement pictures and Mark would still see pieces of his one-time-love on the internet, after attending her wedding and running away from its own ending. But it would end happily. With two people holding hands.

I even planned for another story, Among Ash Heaps, told Hangover type style as Mark, awoken in a tuxedo on a Central Park bench, tries to play detective with his own life and find out about the night of his 29th birthday and the drunken disaster that he made it into. It would even end in the Newark Theatre, where the bulk of Trimalchio took place. He’d be holding a bottle of wine in one hand and a ringing phone in the other.

See, I stopped writing Mark not out of losing his voice but out of realizing that he was a part of my past. He was forged within a very vulnerable period of my life and that’s okay. He was a fun distraction, something to pour my worth into, but I’m much better now and I’ve grown up a bit. The humour, vocabulary and all sorts of things that were ‘in’ Mark will crop up again, as it’s my very writing style. Mark won’t, however, because those works are a bit too indulgent for me right now. I just wanted to share where I would’ve taken his story, in case you cared about him as a character.

I do want to write more serious ventures, but I also want to write more seriously. This doesn’t mean abandoning the jokes or monologues, but it does mean changing a few things round here. I won’t be announcing things off the cuff and then writing a giant few page spread about why it’s cancelled or delayed. Things will be said to be in the making when they’re mostly done. Concrete release thingies will be with them. I may play around with Mark in the future, I may finish Tears In Rain 2 (which is the exception to this new rule – I haven’t done the bulk of it but it will be finished) and I fully intend to write all sorts of new fancy things and perhaps some surprises. The future is bright.

Mark is, for the most part, finished for me though. His story was once mine but now it’s his. His future is whatever you want it to be. He is not my protagonist or really ‘my property’ (he is my intellectual property though so don’t sell my novel or its pieces or I will find Charles Dance and make him Tywin Lannister all over your face). I’m Nathan Hardisty and I’m a writer. I intend to entertain you, beguile you and maybe learn you good a few things.

Cheers.

It’s been a long time, have a short story

Apologies. Many of them. I have been doing a History degree and it’s surprisingly time consuming. I’ve also been pitching a few projects and floating boats and being a writer person. I promised Tears In Rain 2 and I’m sorry but I don’t think I can deliver it. I’ve made a new vow that I won’t promise anything anymore, unless it’s already ‘done’. Like when they release a trailer for a film, when all the principal photography has been done. 

In the meantime I’ve been tackling plays and poaching articles and some experimental nonsense. In the meantime I’ve pitched a lot to some big people. In the meantime I might have solved the question of where exactly I go from here.

In the meantime of the meantime I’ve written a few things. Most of them dreadful, but all of it towards a purpose. I will be going to Nepal a month from now, for six weeks, to teach schoolkids and explore the lands and to go into a bit of an exile. There’s some mental baggage to sort through and some wrongs to right. I can do it.

In the meantime of the meantime of th- basically I have written one thing I will release. It’s Broadway & Beyond, it’s a short story chronicling Mark, from Trimalchio, two years after his play premieres. I am in a bit of a mingle as to whether or not I write a sequel to Trimalchio, as it was a very personal crusade, so as to put some demons to bed. 

I am still planning to write a book or two before the year is out, but studies and other constraints and moving house and walking my doge and going to another country and sorting myself out and writing a lot of stuff might mean I cut Blogossus short. It’s been a long time since the last post and once more I’m sorry for that. There is stuff coming. Some stuff. 

Speaking of Nepal, if you want to throw some money at the schools I’m teaching at then that would be lovely: https://www.justgiving.com/Nathan-Hardisty/

In the next few months I hope to write at least one big thing about:

  • Furnished Souls – an experimental novella thing I’ve tried to write for a few months
  • Train – planned as my first proper novel venture
  • Tears In Rain 2 – a slim sequel to my film theory book on Blade Runner
  • Trimalchio – the play, the theatrical version thing
  • Other Stuff – I have pitched some big things and I hope to be greenlit… it seems that I just might

Thank you for your patience. I will write again soon. Many thanks, lots of love and things.