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A Novel Pivot

Starting a company is like writing a novel: they're both things people do sometimes.
A Novel Pivot
A single monkey on a single laptop will write a single pile of nonsense.

My intent with these posts was to track the process of starting a company or something. That's what the one-liner said anyway.

But I kinda lost the plot a bit and so far have mostly posted ideas. Even though so much has happened this year.

I should write about all that.

And I probably will. But today I wanted to write about a little break I'm taking before I attempt to jump back on the tech horse again.

I'm writing a novel. Or, more correctly, I'm attempting a challenge in which folks the world over write novels during the month of November. If you write 50,000 words of something that resembles a novel in November, you complete the challenge.

I've done it a bunch of times before, the first time 15 years ago, and it is the perfect creative reset. It takes you out of your normal thought patterns and turns your mind over to creating a new world full of new people and where whatever you want to happen you can make happen.

It occurred to me (and why I thought to write about it here) that it feels quite similar to starting a company in many ways. You start with nothing but an idea. You build on it and build on it, and it changes directions in ways you don't expect. You work with all kinds of new and interesting people, except in the case of a novel they're fictional. You spend a hell of a lot of time in front of your computer. And it requires a ton of hard work and persistence. Then when it's done, if you haven't totally made a mess of it, then you have something of which you're (hopefully) quite proud. It gives you that "hey, I made a thing!" feeling we all crave.

But with this challenge, it's all contained in a single month. Neat.


I don't want to go into too much detail this early, but:

You know in sci-fi how deep space travel stories sometimes have body stasis / hibernation / cryo-sleep technology? Well, I'm writing about the creation of that technology. Specifically, it's the story of a person who works as a tester of it. The stasis tech is being tested on earth as it's being developed by a tech-startup-type company. The person I'm writing about goes to 'sleep' for days, then weeks, then months at a time. And then, of course, stuff goes horribly wrong. You can probably guess what.

The plot is mainly an action / mystery style one, but I also wanted to write about themes of depression, isolation, capitalism, technology's place in society, and a whole bunch of other things we're probably all thinking about a lot these days. I also wanted to explore a particular vision for future life in general, given the book takes place somewhere in the next century.

I'm not sure how many of these themes and ideas will actually make it in, but that's the starting point.

Can I read it?

If it comes together the way that I've outlined it, then I may do the self-publish thing. I've also thought about putting it up on Github or something so I can version it as I do edits. It would be fun to have all the diffs and commit notes during the revision process and that the book, like software, would never be 'done'.

For now, it's just an exercise to zag my brain in a different direction so that the next zig feels a bit fresher.