Sunday, September 12, 2021

Aronnax, completed

I just finished writing the twelfth and final chapter Aronnax.

I’ve been working on this since the end of July, and for the first six chapters, it was one chapter a week. This week, I was on vacation, so starting on Tuesday, I wrote every day. They were never overly long chapters. The complete story is somewhere around 12k (actually 13,440, plus notes I intend to include in a future print edition) words, generously  considered a novelette, very generously a novella (I’ve published a whole string of novellas in the past five years, I should know). Not so long.

But I’m pretty happy with it.

As with a few other stories I’ve done over the years, each chapter is from a different perspective. Most of them deliberately cut off the narrative to keep the ending a secret, but the thrust of this one thing, Captain Nemo’s submarine the Nautilus, as a catalyst in disparate lives, remains at the heart of the story, I hope in effective ways. The idea, as with all the good stories, is to tell something about the human condition.

Hopefully something worthwhile.

The chapter will populate later today at Kindle Vella, and that’ll be that. I haven’t decided if I will tackle another project on the platform, a longer one (it wasn’t the original intention for Aronnax to be twelve chapters, but that ended up feeling like its natural shape), as apart from the story I’ve been writing once a month every month this year (I will have to play catch-up next weekend as I took up last month’s slot with Aronnax) I really haven’t told a full-length story in ages, and I have yet to find the courage to begin tackling Collider (maybe next month’s week-long vacation!). 

But it always feels nice to work on a story, and to finish it. With this one the original goal was to retell Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea without Nemo, or Nemo minimized, or Nemo contextualized. I think I accomplished that.


  1. It's always great to finish a project.

  2. BTW, I watched most of Lower Decks the last couple of days and mostly agree with your season 2 reviews. Especially the idea that bridge officers are always coming back to life. I suppose they do cheat death quite frequently, but an actual resurrection I can't really think of any besides Spock in Star Trek III. That kind of joke really made more sense in the second Robot Chicken DC Comics special because it does happen in comics all the time.

  3. That last comment was sent prematurely, sorry.

    I completed reading Aronnax, re-read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (a bit boring in places. I liked yours better), then re-read Aronnax. I liked it for the most part. I found it intriguing that in your version Professor Aronnax was able to recover the ship but in Verne's story it seemed completely lost. Nemo as a broken man being cared for by the Professor seemed reasonable, though. The intertwining of the two families was a great twist! Dysfunctional families happen no matter what race or social strata.
    I liked the bit with Pepper and would like to see more.
    I'm not crazy about sad endings, so the bit with Julian kind of bothered me, but I can see it all happening, which I guess is the point of story-telling.
    Overall, good story, though, with nice, tight writing.
    I didn't like Kindle Vella, however, because I couldn't use it on my Kindle app on my phone but had to dig it up through the browser. I finally wound up pulling up your blog and clicking the link from here.

    1. Thanks! The even sadder part is that Julian wasn’t supposed to die. But as I was writing the last chapter it seemed like the right way to go.

    2. It was poetic, to be sure and it did fit. Any chance for "Nautilus" or something of the sort?

    3. The only thing I would really be interested in is picking back up with Pepper, so I’m glad you liked that chapter.


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