Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hearing author Christie Golden speak about her writing career at the Nashville Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writers Meetup. Christie is the author of several Star Trek and Star Wars novels, as well as books set in the Worlds of Warcraft and Ravenloft series. But before she met with any of the success mentioned above, she created what she now calls a “trunk” novel.
Simply put, a trunk novel is one that you wrote a long time ago and filed away in a trunk or a box or the back of a file cabinet, never to be seen again. Most writers probably have one of these. I do. In fact, I’ve got three of them. They are part of a sci-fi trilogy I was working on while still in high school. I remember vividly how I spent most of my study periods and even part of my lunch period in the library, hastily hand writing wild scenes and characters into the spiral notebooks I was supposed to be using for taking notes about biology and history. I went through reams of notebooks and tons of pens, often leaving me with nothing to write with or write on when I had to go back to class. I didn’t care about that, though, as long as my world was living and breathing on the page.
The novels are largely over-written and loaded with adverbs (a big no-no in writing). But that’s beside the point. The point is, they are novels I wrote. Stories, situations and characters that I created, that I gave life to. While not fit for print today (unless I went the self-published route and didn’t care about such things as editing and grammar), there are vivid ideas there. I’m fascinated by my own imagination.
I’m currently working on a mystery-thriller novel that I hope to finish in the next couple of months. After that, who knows? Maybe it’s time to dust those trunk novels off. Maybe there’s a story in there after all. We’ll see …