Often, when I consider a novel before I start writing, and especially if it’s meant to be a reasonably complete story within the novel even if it’s in a series, I think I know what the book is about. You know,
This book is about these character and they go there and do this thing which is going to be REALLY AWESOME and EXCITING!
And yes, that’s often what happens in the book. The characters do these things and exciting things happen. But often, and this usually happens not too long after I start writing, I discover what the book is really ABOUT.
For example for The Sahara Conspiracy, I thought it was going to be about desert bashing and the future Earth, and in a way it is, but it’s actually about the barbaric situation on Indrahui, a world many lightyears away. The book is about that in preference all the Earth stuff (it’s set 100% on Earth), because this is what drives the characters.
Similarly, I have now started writing Blue Diamond Sky. There will be a fair bit of jungle-tromping and shoot-outs and stuff. I thought it was going to revolve around the beauty of the wilderness around Barresh, and about the tribal Pengali. Yes, those are in it, but it’s actually about humans in Barresh, and why they live there. It’s about pioneers and why they left for a place that is not terribly accessible.