Hello again, dreamers.
After a brief hiatus, this week I’m beginning the final chapters of my work-in-progress, The Pioneer. It’s hard to believe. When I began work this past summer, I’d assumed my experiences writing Wide Horizon would have prepared me for this, but this story has not been what I expected. It took roughly two years for me to finish my first draft of Wide Horizon. Assuming I finish this month (I could finish this week), The Pioneer will have taken about six months. Who knows? Perhaps I’m actually getting the hang of this whole writing thing.
In any event, I have a lot to do this week. So, here’s what’s coming:
This is it: the final push. I now begin the penultimate phase of my work-in-progress, and I have my work cut out for me. As with the previous four phases, Phase 4 is off to a slow start. Over the past two days I’ve managed 888 words, though perhaps being a little sick has negatively affected my creativity. In any case, no doubt things will speed up soon. I have a clear path forward on this phase. I know exactly how it’s supposed to start. All I need to do is get into a rhythm.
I must admit, though, that while I know where I’m going, I’m still not exactly sure how long it will take to get there. Going into this, I had expected Phase 4 to last no more than five chapters, but that was, in part, due to the ballooning word count. After removing an unnecessary subplot this past week, I’ve managed to drop that down to a reasonable 105k, which leaves me plenty of space to wrap things up without leaving it all too long.
We’ll see how this all plays out.
I still have a lot to do in short fiction. Once I’m finished with the WIP, I plan to focus on finishing several stories I began in late October. At least one of them should be good enough to shop around for publication. I’m also getting the “self-published short story collection” bug again. For some reason, it always happens around this time of year.
I’ll admit, part of what got me thinking collection is the difficulty I’ve had selling hard sci-fi short stories. Perhaps I’m not looking in the right places, but I really think the problem is my material. There have to be people out there who want to read stories in which the action centers on some manner of man-vs-space conflict, not man-vs-armies-of-aliens or man-vs-significantly-more-evil-man. Once the WIP is complete, there will be more time to think about this.
After The Pioneer
As strange as it is to think about, once work has ended on my first draft of The Pioneer I’ll need something else to write.
If all goes according to plan, The Pioneer will be the first book in a long series, spanning hundreds of fictional years. Thus, the temptation exists to simply throw myself into the sequel, but The Pioneer has been an exhausting novel to the the heavy science involved. As such, given that I’ll likely be spending at least the next year revising and rewriting this novel, I’ve been thinking this may be a good time to work on one of my various side projects.
Most likely, I’ll be working on Ashes. It’s certainly the most original, most fun piece I’ve come up with beyond the confines of the When We Left Earth series, and everyone who’s read it has told me they’d love to read more. At least for the time being, I may not limit myself to a single novel, instead putting in work on each of my current story ideas to see which one jumps out at me.
It’s sure to be an interesting week, dreamers, and I for one am eager to see what surprises the final chapters of The Pioneer have in store for me. Until then, keep reading, and dare to dream. – MK