Embarking on a journey to write my first novel

I’ve always wanted to write a book. I remember saying on the playground in grade school, gosh knows how long ago, that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. It all goes back to the audiobooks that I listened to as a kid, on one of those old tape recorders where you have to flip the tape over to listen to the rest of the book. I grew up reading, or listening if you will. And I always had ideas. Ideas for stories that I wanted to put down on paper. It’s been ten years since my first real stories that I can document, and today I’m closer than ever to getting something finished.

Stars Extinguished started with a simple concept more than a year ago. I wanted to write a science fiction horror novel set in space. This in and of itself isn’t a terribly unique idea, but there were a few particular visuals that had me fascinated. I was reading H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories at the time, which may have struck a note with me. While my current concept for this book wouldn’t be found on the horror shelf, those ideas remain at its core.

As the idea has evolved, I have decided that I want to write a space western novel. A story about people living on a galactic frontier, where law is scarce and harsh. Where resources are thin, and pioneers have to cobble together the rusty remains of high technology that has trickled down from civilization’s center. I want to write a complex story, that touches many fictional worlds, and includes characters who never meet, spanning multiple series.

And today, I am closer to writing a story of this scale than ever before. In my past novels, I usually hit a wall. Somewhere around 20,000 words, the story would stop flowing, and I would lose interest. But a couple months ago, National Novel Writing Month inspired me to push harder with the ideas that I was working through. I reached 31,000 words. And since then, I have upped my word count to 41,000, and finished part one of three.

I have a long road ahead, but right now, I’m the furthest that I have gotten into a book. Part One can be seen as a very short novel in its own right, as it serves as a fairly self contained story on its own, but leaves quite a few questions to be explored in the latter part of the book. My current plan is to take this book to 120,000 words, which is quite long. And with luck, I intend to finish it by November of this year, 2019.

As a preview of what I’m working on, here is the opening Epigraph to Stars Extinguished. It is the beginning of an in-universe letter of sorts, which is included in pieces throughout this book.

To my friend, I send this message as my last shred of hope vanishes into the night. Those who have extinguished the stars themselves now close in on my location.

The opening epigraph to Stars Extinguished, by Matt Eskridge

I will be posting more updates to this blog as I make progress on Stars Extinguished. I am hoping that this will be my first novel, and that it will be done sometime this year. Once complete, I will go through the process of editing it, and will be seeking publication. I know that’s a long process which may or may not succeed, so I will also be starting other projects once that is finished, with a goal of writing one book per year until I break out into the business.

I have a long journey ahead. Join me, if you’re interested. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from each other along the way.