Last night I passed a milestone for a long-form writing project, locking in the semi-detailed outline, basically the overarching narrative, for the book I’ve been working on since the beginning of the year.
It’s Fiction. Spaceships. Wormholes. Bicentegenarian celebrities. Politics. Media. Post-Earth. Post-Heteronormative. Transgalactic Corporate Hegemony. You know, all the usual fun stuff.
The main character is a fighter pilot who has just finished her ten years ‘service’ in a fierce galactic civil war. She just wants to go home and put the things she has seen and done behind her, but it’s probably not going to work out that easily. And her last remaining relative has been sentenced to lifettime cryogenic indentured service.
The working title is “Red Sands.” But that’ll probably change.
I’ve been reticent to talk about it to too many people before now. Until I just pulled that last thread together it didn’t feel totally real and I wasn’t 100% certain I was going to get there. I’ve begun writing large scale projects before. I have two first draft novels and a third draft of a screenplay in my “bottom drawer” for starters. They’ve all stalled for various reasons.
I’ve often found (and from what I’ve read this doesn’t appear unusual) it’s easy to get long writing projects started, and the character and the world established, or to even. It’s much trickier to know what the steps are between one and the other. And given the middle is often the longest part of the book, it’s kinda important to get it right.
So after months of scene writing and thinking and research and sketching and world building I feel pretty happy to have locked in some of the key structural elements and know what’s going to happen through the whole thing.
It started as a short story I wrote as part of a short story workshop I did at the NSW Writers’ Centre last year. After almost five years in full-time politics I was out of practice – the only fiction I’d written in that time was media releases 😉 By the end of the course I had flexed my fiction muscles, established some good routines, and written a “short story” which I realised was really a tentative journey into a much larger world.
Process wise, I’ve also done two excellent writing workshops – one at Gleebooks with the great people who run Seizure Online, and the other at Urchin Books, my favourite inner west Sydney secondhand bookshop – through both of which I’ve met many excellent people – and these have been great to keep me writing from one week to the next.
Anyway, I’m sure when I start threading all the scraps of cloth I’ve been collecting to the pattern I’ll need to make some alterations, but it’s there – an exciting shiny world to keep exploring – woot!