This post is going to be a little different from the last things you might have seen on my site. Usually I try and put together useful relevant content that is well researched and I have found some value in. I’m going to continue to do this, and I actually have four of those in draft right now. But I wanted to give you an update on where things sit with the writing projects that I have in the fire.
My Space Opera science fiction novel, which has been through many iterations and is now known by many names, is in revision. I managed to finish the actual manuscript last month and decided to take a little bit of time away from it to build some distance and objectivity. I’ve also had an amazing couple of friends reading through it and telling me what they think. It’s been incredibly valuable to get their perspectives on the work, and so if any of you out there reading this would like to be added to the Alpha Readers list for my future writing, and therefore get early access to works in progress including short stories and novels, please let me know through the reach out link at the top of the page. Even though the novel is still in draft, a friend of a friend has sent it over to a publisher. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this, as there’s a lot of it that I think could be a lot better with more time and energy. But ultimately, I agreed to send it over because if you wait for things to be perfect then you’ll wait forever. I am more than willing to do the work that’s needed to polish it up and hopefully get it into something that is really good, or at least better than its current iteration, but I also don’t want to fall into the spiral of making things just a little bit better at nauseum. So, more to follow when I hear back from that publisher and on to the next thing!
I’ve been writing pretty consistently for Metastellar magazine. It’s been exclusively their classics column, which includes an investigation of 1950s and 1960s era short stories to see which still resonate today and which are worth reprinting and sharing with the world. I have read several hundred stories in the research for the column and I have learned so much about the form and the genre. Short stories are such different animals than novels, and they rely on very different tone and style to be effective. The convention of the times was mostly indicated by immediate fast-paced action, and usually some sort of technological twist on a theme that is universal. I think that this general formula for short stories holds true, and in my reading of the modern short story forms in science fiction I have found a lot of the same general broad strokes. So my big takeaway from this is that if you’re going to write a speculative fiction story, you have to be willing to put in the time to figure out how the speculative element impacts themes that people care about.
I’ve also noticed that short stories are a great indicator of the times because they require less overall hours to complete, and therefore can keep pace with current events a lot more closely. The general themes that I have seen from recently published short stories are things like social justice, economic disparity, commentary on authoritarian government, and not just a few plague and post plague narratives. So extremely relevant for the time, but the ones that have stood out to me have taken those common themes and elements and laid them out on top of a deeper resonance. The struggle for human dignity. Survival. The search for identity.
The other writing project that I am involved in right now is a nonfiction work. The articles that I have written for this site are my initial research thoughts in the areas that will correspond to chapters in the final book. I am still playing with titles, but this is going to be a nonfiction book about storytelling. In general, the headings will be figuring out why stories matter, who stories matter to, what makes a story good, and how a storyteller can tell a good story. This seems like a pretty straightforward line of thinking, but I have been really enjoying all the different nooks and crannies that research has taken me into. Everything from neuroscience to sociology to fine art has popped up in the course of my readings and watchings. So, if all goes according to plan, I hope to have that finished sometime around winter, and if the stars align published at some point in the spring of 2022.
In addition to these things, I’m also doing the usual author community of practice stuff with reviewing fellow authors work, participating in critique workshops, and generally having a great time. I have been selected to sit on a panel at NavyCon 2021 as well, which I am really looking forward to. That event is virtual this year and deals with security and transition. The general stick of NavyCon is looking at what we can learn about the real world from science fiction. This is, understandably, an incredibly interesting area for me and I have really enjoyed Navy Con and all of the people during its last iteration as well as chatting on their discord server. If you have a moment to swing by, I highly recommend checking it out.
That’s all for this morning, I hope you have a fantastic week and enjoy the weather as we move from spring into summer. Please reach out if you would like to talk about just about anything, and if you’re out there writing, remember, just keep writing!