It was a cold-arse night two years ago — evening, really, just after work, but this is Alaska, so it was dark, & yeah cold (& I say “arse” instead of “ass” for the benefit of my non-Amurrican friends who speak different brands of English) — & I was walking from the bus stop at Northern Lights & Seward Hwy. to a café to meet my sweetie, & as I was crossing in front of Sears the question came into my head:
What does cold feel like?
Pretty obvious, you say. Damn right. But I’m a writer, so next thing comes into my head was, Now who would be asking that question? And immediately after that: And who would she be asking? (Notice how I’d already made one decision: that the asker was a she; the one being asked became a she pretty damn quick too.) And on from that: What would be their circumstances, such that such a question would be asked?
Well, just as much as I’m a dyke (hence she & <she), so am I a great lover of science fiction, so: by the time I’d gotten across Benson Boulevard & into the warmth of Café Felix to join my honey for tea, I knew that my characters were two young women who lived on a planet in the late, but still very cold, stages of terraforming. She #1, the asker, had never been but briefly outside the warmth of the habitats in which most of those involved in this project lived; she #2, the asked, had been. And #2 would take #1 out there, so she could know what cold was, firsthand. They’d also become lovers, of course, though the point here is not a love story per se.
That was about it. I had the idea, it floated around in the back of my mind.
Then last winter came about, & the dark of November, more cold-arse nights. Under the influence of the cold, the story began slowly to embroider itself. Completely in my head, until one day maybe last February I wrote some of it down, maybe a page. No further, because that’s when I decided I’d be doing NaNoWriMo this November, & I want all the writing to be fresh, to save as much as possible for the discovery of the writing. But I will add that somehow I decided the first time I previews of the Showtime series “The Tudors” that #2, the asked, will be named Boleyn; #1 is probably going to be named Maev, not quite sure yet. At the story’s commencement, they are both 17, meeting each other again for the first time since they were 12, when some disgrace or another sent Boleyn’s parents, & her with them, into some kind of exile, maybe assignment to hardship duty at some remote facility of the terraforming project.
We’ll see what else comes out in the first draft of writing.
How I’ll do it: on a blog right here at blogger.com. It’ll be a private blog, for copyright etc. reasons, but I’ll be inviting friends & family to the blog so they can read it if they want, & to comment or even make story suggestions. If you’re interested, just ask. Just be aware that a first draft written at such a pace won’t be polished. But I’m not a half bad writer even on the fly, if I’ve got my momentum going.
Oh. The title of the novel? Cold.
Note from a few years later: The blog mentioned was cold-brrr.blogspot.com, a private invitation-only blog where I posted all my NaNoWriMo posts during November 2007. Since Cold is still a work-in-progress, most of those posts still remain private.