Inside the Fiction Factory – Part 47


I started writing out the first draft of a new novella called Algorithm this week. I’m confident this title will make it all the way to the cover and then publication. I didn’t set out to start this particular story, but I was needing something to give myself a break from going through the edits of The Canongate Containment, which is a crime thriller set in a dystopian Edinburgh. I’m thoroughly enjoying how this is turning out, though the edits are challenging in places and it still needs a fair bit of work. I have also been trying to source a front cover and this is proving problematic. I have some I’ve put together and they are just not suitable.

Algorithm is a science fiction story (or at least it is in my mind) but cyber features throughout. I like to mix things up and hopefully it will work out. I’ve blogged previously about novellas and how keen I am to write more, so I’m glad this is now underway. I did think the follow-up to Eva would have demanded my attention, as I have an outline ready to fill in, but I usually go with the flow when it comes to what to write next. I had sat down on the 0630 train and on opening my laptop, the urge to start Algorithm took over. When those moments occur, you don’t push back or fight them. Always best to at least make a start and see how you go.

I’ve no timescales for this other than it would be nice to put it out this year. Ideally I would also want to finish up the follow-up to Eva. I’m aware I’m forever starting new projects and not concentrating on finishing what I already have. It’s the way I work. To be fair since the start of 2022, I revamped my short stories and included a few new ones, published two novels and a novella and had a short story featured in an anthology so compared to the years before, I’m proud of what I achieved. Another novel and a novella this year should be possible.

It has dawned on me the inspiration for Algorithm has come from one of the first science fiction short stories I recall reading while at school. It was the Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury. It was one of those early reading experiences that had a real impact on me. It showed me what a story could be and fuelled my interest in science fiction. It was written in 1951 and is one of those stories that imagined a dystopian future. In many respects the themes he deals with in this short story have been scarily close to being realised in society today. My hope for Algorithm is to build on those themes and give my own take and prediction of what may be coming next. That’s the plan. Reading that back it does sound ambitious, but I’m going to give it a go.

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