What My Future Bestselling Novel Will Be Like
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What My Future Bestselling Novel Will Be Like

For starters, it certainly won't be finished anytime soon.

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What My Future Bestselling Novel Will  Be Like
Photo by Caio Resende from Pexels

Ever since I was little, I wanted to write a novel. In my wake, I've left dozens and dozens of half-baked or overambitious stories unfinished in my quest to write the kind of story that puts me on the map. Even now I still dream of completing my big novel and having it published. Recently I scrapped "Kriegsheld" for the seventh time to start again and I started to reimagine what exactly it is I want to write.

I want to write about war.

Yeah, I have a tendency to jump straight into the complicated things. When I first started coming up with what I would later come to call "Kriegsheld", I knew I wanted to make a commentary on the nature of war and what it means to fight one. I've always had strong opinions on the war and why it is so important that we exhaust every alternative before resorting to it.

In particular, a huge point I hope to make is that there is no right side in a war, that war is a conflict between two entities both believing themselves to be justified and committing unjustifiable actions in the process. So the story I've been conceptualizing since I was 13 is principally on what it means to wage war.

It centers on a disenchanted former soldier.

The story will be about a character who has firsthand experience with war. I have tackled this from a few different angles, but ultimately, I want to juxtapose my central character – nihilistic, refusing to continue a fight he cannot justify – with other more idealistic (naïve) characters who believe the war is justified.

Over the course of the novel, I want to explore these opposing viewpoints in a way that does not necessarily paint one as more correct than the other. The central character will have very valid points for opposing the war just as some of the idealistic supporters will have equally valid points to say that the war is justified.

Nobody is right.

I want my novel to stand out in that the central character is not inherently correct, nor is the opposing view to his own. I believe that the truth on the nature of war is somewhere in between the central characters complete and total refusal to support the war and the common person's complete support of their military. Through several other conflicts, I really want to drive home this concept that there is no black-and-white answer; everything is ambiguous.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Something critical to the analysis I want to make on war is that the powers at play do not necessarily begin from a corrupt place. While the rights and wrongs of either side of the conflict will be up to the reader to debate, I hope to be able to portray that both sides initially began from a place of justification until the act of waging war corrupts both sides.

While I hope to make it clear to the reader that neither side is fighting for the right reasons by the present-day, there should be strong arguments that in the beginning there was a good reason to start fighting.

Propaganda is defeated by face-to-face interaction.

Something else I want to explore is the way in which we vilify the people on the other side. Over the course of the novel, I hope to contrast the way in which the enemy is perceived with the central character's firsthand experience with them. I think if I combine this with a look into how the central character's society is viewed in equally harsh terms, I can convey a message that the people we vilify in our real-life society might similarly be unfairly judged.

Just as the central character's views were changed as he personally interacted with the people he had always considered enemies, so too should we recognize that the only way to unlearn these prejudicial views about others is to meet them face-to-face and learn from one another.

Commentary on the real world through fiction.

Something I have always loved about great works of fiction is that no matter how far removed from reality they may seem, they always reflect the author's commentary on the real world. When I think about writing this novel, I think about what it is I want to say about the world I live in. I think that in a world where we see constant conflict, it's as appropriate a time as ever to consider what it truly means to wage war.

My novel has been a work in progress for years now, and once again I find myself starting it over. Names, locations, world-building concepts, these things all change from iteration to iteration as I grow and develop as a writer.

From the first time I wrote what would evolve into "Kriegsheld" which was little more than the daydream of a kid who wanted to be the main character of a grand story to today where I have developed the maturity to write a deeply flawed central character, these ideas above have grown too into the core of what I hope to one day see sitting in a bookstore window.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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