A Brave New Endeavor: Science-Inspired Fiction, YA, and NaNoWriMo 2012

Those of you who know me know that I’ve recently completed the short stories that make up my MFA in Writing thesis from Pacific University–that I’ll graduate this winter, in that closed-down carnival of surreality known as Seaside, Oregon. Those of you who know me know, too, that my M.O. and–and rallying battle-cry–is ‘on to the next project!’

Well, the next project, essentially, is this: I’ve had a story on the backburner that I’ve begun to suspect is actually a novel. A young adult novel, in fact, focused on the intersection of the world as revealed by science and the world of the human heart.

As the daughter of an engineer and a lifelong pop science enthusiast (as well as a green technology writer for EarthTechling), I’ve long had an interest in bridging the gap between the scientific view of the world, and the messily fabulous–and often quite irrational–realms of the human heart. I’d written a few stories to that effect, but during my third semester at Pacific, a new project came knocking. When I put my ear to the door, someone pushed it in.

That someone is a character named Eliot–he’s about to begin eight grade. He’s as smart as anyone, really, and geekily obsessed with Richard Feynman, but when it comes to emotional intelligence, well, let’s just say he has some challenges. That’s about all I know–except for the fact that the way Eliot looks at the world makes him uniquely suited to bridging the head and the heart.

Many brave souls begin National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) on a wing and a prayer–me, I’m taking the cautious approach. Over the next year, I aim to learn everything I can about:

1. The world as revealed by science (from the quantum physics to astro physics, relativity to complexity, cosmology to futurism)

2. Junior high (as strange a dimension as any, really)

3. Fiction inspired by science (and the intersection of science and the arts in general)

Interested in what this mysterious number three might hold in store? Me too! That’s why I was so pleased, recently, to discover the writer Tania Herschman. (More on her next time.)

In the meantime, please follow this blog, and weigh in on any of these subjects that interest you. I’m looking at the coming year as a collective endeavor, a period of crowd-sourced research, and an opportunity, really, to create a space for a conversation between the head and the heart. Feel free to forward a link to this blog to anyone you know who’s interested in science, fiction, and the fabulous absurdities of the wonder years.


3 thoughts on “A Brave New Endeavor: Science-Inspired Fiction, YA, and NaNoWriMo 2012

  1. Cool! (Is this also the project you were talking with Vinnie about, and that might have broader Indigo involvement?!)

    I “know” Tania–have reviewed for *The Short Review* (which just turned four years old, by the way!).

    And I’m sure I have some book titles for you to explore during research–my brain just needs to perk up to that remembering task. 😀

  2. Dear Susan,

    Universe In A Nutshell, by Stephen Hawking might be a good one for
    you to read, on your quest. The Magazine “Scientific American” is usually a good source of some interesting findings in Quantum Physics, and in Astro-physics, although their sponsers test mightily on animals, which hopefully will change.

    Good to see you at Residency, and, really liked your fiction piece on the carnival, which you read aloud at Thesis presentation, I think it was.


    Dawn (Poetry, 3rd Semester, Pac U.)

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