Just over a year ago I wrote Europan Holiday. Hard to believe that the year has gone by so fast! I finished it November 2nd and considered doing something with it at the time for about five seconds. I put it away to worry about later.
Writing Europan Holiday was a different experience for me. For the first time I dictated the first draft of the book. I used a digital record and transcribed it using Dragon. It’s not perfect but I’d put the transcript on one side of the screen and then on the other I rewrote it, fixing what went wrong with the dictation, including all of my fumbling, false starts, and searching for the words. Those rewrites went faster than sitting down and writing from scratch because I had already worked out what I was writing in the dictation. Now I just made it intelligible. Since I mostly dictated (hands-free) while driving it was basically free time. In a typical commute I’d come back with 3,000 words of the book and then use my writing time to rewrite that into something better. I did need to train the software to recognize some of the names in the book. That was pretty simple, otherwise the process went smoothly.
The idea came from the aether as they all do. While doing an online writing workshop I was given an assignment to write a scene about a character in a snowstorm. I wrote about EuropaNick in his tiny space cabin in the middle of a storm. It was only the first 400 words or so at that point but I wanted to know more about this guy. Vibeke showed up and he got yanked up into space and I didn’t really know where my subconscious was taking us, it was just fun. I wrote it without expectations of it fitting anywhere — I just wanted to tell the story.
When I finished I moved on to other projects and just put this book away. As the year went on I had the idea to start sharing it a chapter at a time, giving me a chance to look it over and see what I had. It was also an excuse to check out Wattpad, Leanpub and Patreon, so I decided to put it up there and on my website. Still without expectations other than curiosity how others would respond to the book. I hoped that readers would enjoy it, as weird as it is.
Clearly EuropaNick’s story isn’t over. He made it back to Earth, if not home, and has a new home and a new purpose with the Christmas Gambit. I don’t remember thinking consciously that I set it up for another book, but reading over it these past weeks it’s pretty clear that at least on some level I intended to write the Christmas Gambit. I have no idea when that will happen. Right now I’m in a graduate program to get my Master of Information and Library Science degree. I’m writing all the time, just not much fiction, though I do squeeze in a bit when I can.
Thank you for reading this far! If you’ve enjoyed Europan Holiday please check out my other novels or the free weekly short story that I post on my site.
Ryan M. Williams, December 2015