It’s a new week in a new year, and it’s time to get back to work on my work in progress. There’s a lot to do, but I feel like I’m ready for it.
I’m finally getting back to work on my beloved work in progress. Lately, I’ve been feeling better and better about Pathfinder. For some time now, one of the challenges I’ve faced is getting the lay of the land, so to speak. In a story so richly detailed, intended to grow and develop over time, it’s important to have a good idea of not only the action itself, but everything that’s going on in this hypothetical future. I feel part of what’s left Pathfinder feeling hollow is a lack of detail: I need to know what’s going on, how the people in my future live their daily lives, the realities they face.
This, safe to say, is not a new problem. Indeed, it was this very shortcoming that led me to abandon Pathfinder in frustration not once, but twice now. The last time around, I attempted to solve the problem by throwing myself into my notes. The result was an additional twenty-five odd pages of extensive notes, ranging in subject from advanced physics to cultural trends. This, unfortunately, was no help: I found it nigh impossible to adequately express everything I could see and feel about the “Dotiverse” as I call it, and was left feeling more lost than ever.
After a great deal of soul-searching (and a few months spent throwing myself back into Wide Horizon), at last I understood the problem. In my attempts at enriching Pathfinder, I began essentially writing an encyclopedia. But I’m not writing a report on cultural or scientific trends. I’m writing a work of fiction. I’m not writing about spacecraft or nations or technology; I’m writing about people.
Ironically, I found the answer to my problem not in my notes, but in my short fiction. Over the past few years, I’ve produced what I dare say are some great pieces depicting futuristic, yet believable technology, and made those stories work by placing strong characters into intriguing scenarios.
To that end, I’ve embarked on a crusade of sorts: for the next two weeks, I plan to spend every single day writing about Pathfinder, without actually writing the story itself. I intend to explore this future I’ve created in my notes and my writing, learning how humans of the late 21st century live their lives. This, I hope, will serve two purposes. While I believe doing this will help to flesh out the Dotiverse, I’ve also come to realize how much my early, diligent short fiction writing set up the early chapters of Wide Horizon. You have to walk before you can run. Now, it’s time to spend the next few weeks walking.
On the short fiction front, in addition to my work with Pathfinder‘s backstory, I plan to continue work on Astonishing Tales! For now, my primary focus is expanding the number of short fiction pieces I have available for the project. This entails not only attempting to wrap up numerous existing projects, but also revising and cleaning up several existing manuscripts.
As the college football season officially ends tonight, starting this week I’ll be resuming my long-running Short Story Saturday. Each Saturday, I plan to put in a full day of work, focusing solely on short fiction pieces. I’ve been frustrated to this point with my inability to get anything published, but I’ve begun to realize that part of the problem is my breadth of work, or lack thereof. Over the past year, I’ve made only about a dozen or so submissions, utilizing a mere handful of manuscripts. I need to start showing editors something new. In doing so, I may finally find something worthy of publication, and if nothing else I’ll be churning out a lot more science fiction for my readers here, not to mention plenty of work to choose from for Astonishing Tales!
I need to get back into shape. At the height of my writing, when I was chugging through Wide Horizon several years ago, I was churning out 4,000-5,000 words a day. Time I now spend watching TV, surfing Netflix, or playing games on my computer, I once spent writing. I need to get back there. If I want to see my work in print, I need to put for the appropriate effort. Here goes…