A couple years ago I decided to stop writing short fiction and dedicate myself to writing novels because, as much as I enjoy writing short fiction, it takes up a lot of time and keeps me from doing other things, what a friend described beautifully as “the cul-de-sac of productivity.”
Trouble is, What novel to write? I outlined many, but nothing I could get any traction on. Finally last year, after getting laid off by Macmillan when they shuttered my imprint, Tom Dunne Books–historically for me a precursor to novel writing–I outlined a book that was a take on Martian Chronicles: what if the psychic Martians attacked Earth first? Trouble is, it was just people reacting. But Tom Dunne liked one element, so I outlined an entirely different novel around that. Which Tom thought was halfway there. So I outline another novel, and that’s what I’m going with.
I have a rough draft of the first 20 of 30 or so chapters. Once I finish the last 10, I’ll revise the whole thing to fix continuity problems, address changed premises, etc. The third draft will smooth out the relationship at the heart of the story. While the book has a very high concept–instead of straight SF, I’m going for a more Crichton-esque “SF for non-SF readers”–to me it’s really the story of a marriage. That background is important to me; even if it doesn’t show up on the page so much, it informs a lot of the little decisions and touches, the way The Dragon Round is a book about faith in a world about gods.
And now to update my story publications. I have two on the way as I continue to sell my dwindling stores. I also have several I’m trying to get reprinted.
So I haven’t been totally lazy over the last couple years.
Also I’m working on a play with the above mentioned friend, an actual playwright. We’ll see how that works out.