So I did it. I’ve now completed fifty thousand words of my new science fiction novel The Pathless Void with two days to spare. I was going at a solid clip of two thousand a day up until the holidays, but wound up missing three days over the long weekend due to family commitments so I’ll probably be looking at 52 to 54 thousand written by Friday.
The novel is not finished yet. That will take longer. My guess is that the final draft manuscript will come out at 80-90 thousand words, meaning that I won’t be reaching the end until sometime in December. I hope that I can keep it up, though, since I’m really enjoying writing it and I think my fans will enjoy reading it as well.
I don’t know when the book will finally be available, but I’ll keep you all posted. I’m going to see if I can get it published as a piece of mainstream genre fiction, and if that fails I’ll make it available as an e-book, probably via SmashWords along with my other titles.
As of yesterday my retro-SF novel tentatively titled The Pathless Void is up to a little over 30,000 words. I’m realizing at this point that it’s not going to be finished at the end of the month, but that’s not necessarily a bad or unexpected thing. Novels of the genre for the “golden age” SF period tended to average somewhere around 80,000 words, so even assuming I make it to 60,000 by the end of the month there will still be more to go. I’m confident that I can keep up my pace after the end of the month, so that means the draft manuscript will most likely be finished some time in December.
I’m not going to make the same mistake as the last time I started a new novel for the November event. Demiurge, the sequel to Arcana, also was started as an unofficial NaNoWriMo project. At the end of the month I had 52,000 words, but then got stuck on the story and abandoned it for a couple of years while I worked on other projects. Now the draft manuscript is up to about 70,000 words and I think I know how I’m going to finish it, but I haven’t gone ahead and done it yet even though I last worked on it more than a year ago. I have no idea if The Pathless Void is going to interest publishers – my current publisher, Pendraig, publishes fantasy but not SF so I’ll have to either find another publisher or issue it myself as an e-book or something.
Have no fear, though – when I’m done with the book it will be made available in some form. Since I’m going to try other commercial publishers first it may be a little while before that happens, but rest assured that it will.
November is National Novel Writing Month, abbreviated NaNoWriMo. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the idea is to complete 50,000 words of a draft novel over the course of the month. While I’ve never officially participated, I did complete 52,000 words of my still unfinished novel Demiurge two years ago and finished my novel Ipswich last year. I submitted Ipswich to my publisher last summer and am still waiting to hear back, and while I think I’ve finally worked out a good way to end Demiurge, this time around I wanted to try something totally new.
For my project this month I decided to ditch my usual urban fantasy genre altogether and go for hard science fiction. Think Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein as far as the style goes, the sort of SF that was popular in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Generally speaking, it’s less character-driven than many other genres and more centered around speculative future technology rendered as accurately as possible given the current state of scientific understanding. Also, rather than the dystopian stories that constitute much of SF these days, science fiction of that period tended to be more about how awesome the future will be rather than how badly it will suck. The story I’m working on is much more of the former variety, since overall I find that perspective a whole lot more fun.
So far I’ve been on track at 2000 words per day, which actually places me ahead of the quote for NaNoWriMo if I can keep it up. At the end of the month, I’m hoping to have at least 60,000 words completed, which would be my most productive month of writing ever. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on how that turns out.