So now we move onto the next novel.
It took me working on it for most of 2005 until it was finally finished – Of Lizards And Men, clocking in at 66000 words.
When I wrote this, I really liked it. I thought I had the science of the horror down well. I researched genetic research, cloning techniques and transplant techniques. I thought I had the relationships between the main characters and the characters themselves done really well.
It involves a scientist who is using genetic manipulation to create a sort of intelligent lizard-man. But then two of them escape. Meanwhile, his daughter is involved in an accident, and he transplants her brain into one of the lizard-men. Complications happen and the lizard-men stalk Adelaide. That’s it. Yes, looking at it now, it’s Frankenstein meets Dungeons and Dragons, but, like I said, I did like it. And so out it went into the world of publishers.
A few years later I re-read it after getting some feedback from a publisher.
It reads too dry. It reads too emotionlessly. There are too many long passages that seem to go nowhere. And there is way too much telling and not showing. But as I looked at it that second time, I felt the only way to change it was to rewrite it completely, and I could not bring myself to do that. So it has joined so many others in the rejected pile.
She was sitting apart from everyone else in the University cafeteria when he first saw her away from the lecture theatre. He knew that her name was Kim Hunter, that she was a third year student like himself, and that she was majoring in biological sciences, also like himself. That was it. They shared two lectures and one tutorial together, but he had never seen her raise her hand to answer a question, smile, joke, or anything. And now, looking at her here, it appeared as though she was all alone. Three years and she looked not only alone, but also expecting to be left alone.
He looked around at the rest of the milling students. This was already his third year here, and he had to say, he knew how she felt if that overwhelming loneliness was the case. He probably had three friends in this whole place, and two of those were friends from high school, one of whom he was drifting from as he got more and more involved in his science and his friend gravitated towards the politics side of things. University was not a place of social groups and friendships like previous years of education; it was a place of loneliness and study, especially for people like him who always found it difficult to make new friends.
Would he risk it? he asked himself. He had never done this before. Going up to a girl he hardly knew and introduce himself. It was something only other people did, only confident, cool people. But that sort of person would not go up to some-one like Kim Hunter either – with her slightly over-weight figure, medium-length unstyled and blandly coloured hair, lack of make-up, and clothes from two seasons earlier. In that regard she barely stood out from three quarters of the girls he had seen wondering around. Sure, some of the art students were more into fashion than their studies, but the science students tended to be a bit more serious, especially if they made it through to third year and the possibility of going on into post-graduate study. She was just another geeky student.
And, completely out of character for him, Rick Lloyd carried his tray over to the table occupied by one, lonesome girl…
“Do you mind if I sit here?” he asked, forcing himself to smile through his nerves.
It took her a moment to realize some-one was addressing her and then she stared up at him through brown eyes that were dark and full of life. Her brow furrowed briefly, then she nodded. “You’re Richard,” she stated. “In my Fundamentals of Biological Science tutorial.”
He took that as an acceptance and slid opposite her. “Rick, please,” he smiled. “Yep, that’s me. And you’re Kim, right?” Her smile barely touched her eyes. Silence fell over them and Rick felt his stomach tighten. He knew he should say something to her, but could not think of what to say. Anything felt superfluous and forced, even before he said it. This was exactly how he feared a situation like this would go – start and then die a slow and painful death…
Rejection total: 73 + 9 = 82