New Novel Idea

May 8, 2016

At work last night, I began thinking about a novel I had started but never really got executed quite right enough to get very far with it.  It was this sprawling story heavily influenced by Awolnation’s album “Megalithic Symphony”.  Essentially I was using a lot of the songs to help direct the plot and themes at work.  So last night I was thinking about this story and got to thinking that it would be pretty kick-ass if I incorporated some steampunk elements and reoriented the action a bit.  So I pulled out my trusty Moleskin and jotted down some quick notes and a synopsis.  And here is what the opening is starting to look like.  If people are liking this, I will post more.



In each area of the world, men knew what was valuable. Those who lived in the cities valued their peace and security above all else. In the Mountains, men maintained the lightning fields and dams, keeping electricity flowing through the lines to the cities. In the forests, they fashioned the nectars and elixirs that were always in demand in the cities.

The ones who dwelled in the desert had other priorities. Having spent centuries traversing the sand, they knew only one thing was important: survival. All the profits from oil drilling and quarrying of stones would mean nothing if they did not return to sell their raw materials. The Sand Rats honored the Rules of the Sand before all else.

Aadila’s scouts were searching for their next field when the storm hit, the ground shaking beneath them for a moment. Regaining their footing, the scouts bounded up the nearby rocks for a better vantage point. Tightly wrapped in their desert gear, they peered out at the landscape. Storms were rare to catch the Sand Rats by surprise. Looking through her binoculars, Aadila frowned as she surveyed the landscape. Her tail twitched angrily as she evaluated the options. Her fingers flicked the switches on the side, cycling through various magnifications. Keeping the binoculars on the horizon, her hand shot out a series of hand signals.

Two of her subordinates rushed to carry out the orders as she continued to assess the situation. Her partner, Ari, moved her side. He lifted his googles and brought out his binoculars to appraise things for himself. The old Sand Rat frowned.

That’s no ordinary storm,” he observed.

Moving way too fast,” she confirmed. “Be here within the hour, probably less. Lucky we were near Palo Tablo.”

First rule of the Sand,” he stated.

Never be far from refuge.”

The caravan moved under the crags settling in on the rocks. They rapidly put together the tarps to act as a shield against the wind to protect themselves and their haul. An elder began the process of assessing their footing, making sure everything was on solid ground. Pleased, he continued to assist with the preparations as Aadila and the last of her scouts gathered beneath the tarp. The comfort of solid rock put many of their minds at ease as they huddled in for the long night of storms.

The groups two elders sat across from Aadila to plan as the wind picked up around them.

This storm was unexpected,” Ackbar observed. “Out of season.”

It wasn’t moving like a storm,” Aadila said. “Too straight on. More like sand shifting as it is disturbed. And the direction…”

From the north east. The Megaliths?”

We were less than half a day’s travel from them. I will investigate when the storm has passed.”


It was the next morning before the winds died down. Peaking around the canvas, Aadila saw the ground had settled and calm reigned. Her eyes scanned for any disruption in the sunlight that might signify a return of the storm as she moved across the desert. Her scouts took up formation around her as they traversed the sands without rhythm. Another rule of the desert taking hold. In previous ages there had been beasts lurking within the sand that would be attracted to the footsteps of Sand Rats. The tried and true method used was to move in such a way that their vibrations held no consistent pattern. That had worked for the Sand Rats for thousands of years, until those creatures had died out. No one had seen a Sand Dragon or any of the others for centuries, but the conditioning still held in Sand Rat methodology.

Sand Rats. The name fit. Years of living in the desert had changed them in many ways. Their limbs had shifted to being more willowy to better aid in traversing across the sand and they had tails that allowed for better balance. Their features were tanned and leathered from the dry heat of the sand, making them even more fitting of their name.

Aadila stopped just beyond the rocks of Palo Tablo to look at the sand. Scooping it up, she saw fresh deposits of rock she did not recognize.

Sif,” she called. The young scout scrambled over, looking at Aadila’s hand. “Do you recognize this?”

Sif studied it for a brief moment.

Not fine enough to be sand,” she observed. “Fragments are too big anyway. Look like they were freshly broken apart. Would have broken down more if it had been there awhile.”

Can you tell what it is?” Aadila asked.

Nothing we find out here.”

Aadila nodded, feeling her suspicion was nearly confirmed. With a wave of the hand she signaled the group to move. They moved in formation to the Megaliths. An hour stood between them and their destination. Cresting a dune, she saw the sight that she expected.

The Megaliths were the mountains that surrounded the world. Looking across the sand was a the rubble and remnants of the jagged spires.

Several scouts dropped to their knees in prayer around Aadila as she looked at the devastation.

Two of you go back to the caravan,” Aadila instructed. “Get them up to speed. The rest of us will take a closer look at what happened here. Tell them we start for the cities immediately upon our return.”

The two scouts started across the sand as Aadila led the remainder of her group towards the rubble. The scouts chattered nervously about what could have caused the destruction. Most of them continued to pray as they drew closer.

Keep it down,” Aadila ordered. “I don’t need to hear about the end of the world. We’ll just take a look and go.”

At the edge of the world were only shattered rocks. Aadila picked up a fragment and looked at it for a brief moment.

I guess there really isn’t anything that lasts forever, she thought. Tossing the fragment away, she turned to the group. Before she could give the order, a sound caught her attention. Looking over at the nearby rubble, she could see it shifting slightly. The scouts ran over to investigate, digging out a pale skinned man dressed in torn rags. He looked young, barely a man.

Do we bring him back?” Sif asked.

The group erupted into a debate. The subjects ranged from angry gods from the lessons of charity. Aadila remained silent as she pondered the question.

Bring him with us,” she said. She looked at her more religious scouts. “I doubt the gods would have put him in our path if we weren’t meant to do something with him.”


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