We’re a week out from the launch of Thoughts of an Eaten Sun. To help tide you over until August 1st, I wanted to share the origin of the idea for the book.
I’ve had the phrase Thoughts of an Eaten Sun for some time. The earliest record I have of it is from a document that I used in college for notes and ideas. ToaES was one of those ideas—a phrase that sounded cool. Based on other items in the document, I can trace it to mid- to late-2008. In January 2009, I started my personal blog and titled it Thoughts of an Eaten Sun. It was nothing more than a few words that I liked the sound of.
It was several more years before my mind returned to the phrase. I’m not sure of the day, but I can remember being in my work cubicle and having an idea. I jotted down a few lines of something like a poem. These six lines introduced the wolf and the broad concept of the story. Some time later still, in October 2012, I hand-wrote two pages of prose that introduced the small village that would become Founsel, other locations in what would become the Far Finger, and the core events of the story. These events were described at a high level, like a myth or legend typically is.
Then the idea sat untouched for a few more years. This seems to be a habit of mine. I’ll think about an idea for a decent while, eventually write something down, work on it for a short while, only to turn my attention elsewhere and let the original idea languish. Follow-through has always been difficult. It’s easy to focus on a project when it’s fresh. Dedication to a long-term goal, prioritizing it above other fleeting ideas, and consistently making headway take additional, significant effort.
In November 2015, I began another writing project and set a goal of writing on most days of the week. About a month in, it occurred to me that this writing project could relate to ToaES, and I decided to take a detour to flesh out ToaES. I wanted to know how to best tie the two projects together. For the first six weeks of 2016, I wrote a 21,000 word draft. Hantle made an appearance, and other characters and events started taking shape. I liked the story enough that I wanted to bring it to completion before returning to my other project.
My initial plan was for ToaES to be a short diversion and end up the length of a novella. I worked on the next draft with some regularity throughout the rest of 2016. Some months were more productive than others, but I kept making progress.
It was also in 2016 that my fiance Karla and I talked about our future. She is an ER nurse and had learned of travel nursing. There are short-term contracts that hospitals in various cities around the country offer to nurses. These hospitals hire nurses to fill a role for, on average, 13 weeks. Taking a few of these travel contracts would be an interesting way to scope out other cities, do some traveling, and try a different lifestyle. She would take a few of these travel assignments and I would take a sabbatical from my career as a software engineer. This would allow me to both join her and see what life was like without a full-time job. I decided I would use my free time to complete my writing project. I would spend time most days working on Thoughts of an Eaten Sun, with the goal of self-publishing the story.
Next week (on release day!), I will continue this overview by looking at how the writing has evolved over the course of my sabbatical and how I finally went from idea to published work.