This is the equivalent of what some musicians might call the "the all-important third album". It is a work in progress for which I must summon all my artistry. The third novel can be the bridge between 'novice author' and 'wordsmith' because personal experiences are becoming exhausted and one must rely on research. "Defender: Adventures in Schizophrenia" didn't need plotting. "Zaxxon" didn't need to be plotted either, because it was based on an existing manuscript. So I haven't had to sit down, and conceive an original plot for over a decade. "Steam Engine" features a global conspiracy wider than anything else I have tackled. Yet almost the entire mid-section is a complete mystery to me. Writing is such a lonely occupation that any opportunity to collaborate with other people is welcome. Here is the premise:
Two organisations have ruled us covertly for a millennium. The 'Altostratus' is a multi-denominational religious order that police zealotry, and collectively worship fire. The 'Terra Sub Rosa' is a coven of the planet's richest Pagans, who manipulate conservationism and worship water. They are symmetrical, and the members radiate a calming elixir to the world's population called the 'Nostrum', which is generated supernaturally by caffeine, nicotine, and sugar. Two magic children were foretold of being born long ago. They are the incarnation of fire on Earth, and the embodiment of water. A prophesy indicates that if these perfect lovers ever meet it will precipitate Armageddon.
The Terra Sub Rosa votes to assassinate the children before they are born, because afterwards this destiny could be unalterable, but it is left late in the day to locate the mothers. The attacks actually induce the births, and as a punishment the 'Nostrum' is reversed. The priests and the pagans must give up their addictions for the rest of their lives. They can only eat, and drink water. Nevertheless, their normal daily diet causes the entropy of civilisation. The deities ache with love for each other, but it is believed they must be kept apart for as long as possible. They make love, at last, in August 2021. The world is being torn apart by riots and war, yet the prophesy was misinterpreted. The world as we know it does come to an end, but in a very different way to what was expected!
More than anything else this year, 2011, I want a fully integrated plot for this book. The immediate future is mapped for me, and I find that reassuring. I am a creature of habit. I don't like to wake up in the morning not knowing what I'm going to do. Utilising that strongest suit of a novelist - patience - is a fruit of routine. When I think about the mysteries and difficulties of the future, I usually tell myself not to worry about it; that it will work out. Oddly enough, it usually does. I hope that "Steam Engine" will be my best book so far. How long it will take is another mystery, but I have chosen this moment to exploit an opportunity. I am seeking representation for this third novel, so if anyone reading this is a literary agent, or knows one, can they please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.