21 October 2013 - 6:51 pm

Catching/ramping up

It looms, but we love it

It looms, but we love it

I can’t believe that it has been so long since I posted here. Things are busy, my health is crap, and most of the time I’m scraping through the bare minimum to keep my head above water. Plus there’s Starwalker to write and post, and all of this year’s NaNoWriMo stuff to prepare, including another ambitious Writer’s Retreat. Oh, and there was GenreCon, which was awesome and I should post about that.

So much to do, so much to report on, and so little time. With NaNoWriMo starting next week, that’s where a lot of my focus is, so let’s start with that. The ML stuff is coming along nicely (much thanks to my co-MLs and other friends who have leant a hand; I’m so grateful to have them). The Retreat is ticking along and about to start sucking up more of my time, as we approach deadlines and confirmations and the need to pay for things.

And I’m still not sure what I’m going to write this year. I’m determined to write something new/different and not focus on Starwalker for once (my brain needs a break, and I’ve been writing Starwalker for the past three NaNos, so it’s time for a change). But in my looooong list of potential projects, which one to choose? I have two that are in a good state to start writing and I’m currently struggling to decide between them.

Here’s the blurb I put up on the Brisbane NaNo forums recently:

Vampire Electric

500 years ago, electrical creatures rose up and drove humanity out of their city. In the wilderness, a strange bargain was struck and the first vampire was made. Humans went on to build their new civilisation on steam and clockwork, while this new breed fed on the energy of humans in secret.

Now, Diza just wants to prove to the university board that a scholarship girl can earn a linguistics degree. To do that, she takes on the translation of an ancient text that tells the tale of the first vampire, the deal he struck, and a device that might create a newer, stronger combination of man and electrical entity. But she knows that this is no fable; this might be her chance to take revenge on the vampire that killed her family. As she gets drawn deeper into the politics of the vampire world, she begins to wonder if the protection of the man who hired her will be enough to keep her alive long enough to see that revenge through.

I have been writing this one on and off for a couple of years now. It’s one of those things that I poke at in the background when I have time or need to do something a little different. I’m about 70,000 words through it and haven’t reached the end (it’ll probably hit 100k before I’m done). I’ve got to the stage where I know all the things that I want to fix, do differently, and do better.

So while this one wouldn’t be a ‘fresh start’ exactly, I think I’m in a good position with it to start a new rewrite.

Tales from the Screw Loose

It’s not a good time to be an android on the colonies. After Earth was evacuated, floods of refugees needed homes and jobs. Automated solutions are being pushed out, and with it, the need for droid mechanics is on the decline. Grace is forced to leave her home outpost and seek work in the big city.

She ends up as the maintenance engineer at the Screw Loose, a robot brothel. With competition from the real-flesh whorehouse across the street, rising anti-robot sentiments, and an inconvenient corpse that could close the Screw Loose permanently, Grace’s new job quickly proves to be more fraught and dangerous than fixing farm gear.

I have talked about this one on and off for some time. It has taken a couple of years for the pieces to come together, all the elements that will take it beyond an amusing situation (robot brothel, lol) and turn it into an actual story with something to say. Not that I’m aiming for Fiction With A Message; I prefer stories to have a plot and an arc to them, and an idea that they’re ‘going somewhere’. As much as I love serial writing, soap operas and situation comedies are not my style.

Now, I finally feel like the Screw Loose‘s elements are all there, and it’s about ready to start.

The truth is, neither piece is speaking to me very loudly at the moment. It’s possible that there’s just too much going on in my head right now for them to be heard. I kind of suspect that, come 1st November when the starting pistol goes off for this year’s novel-writing challenge, I’m going to be staring at a blank yWriter project, wiggling my fingers above the keys to try to encourage a decision to come out. And then I’ll start writing.

Wish me luck!

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  1. Francisco says:

    I admire your energy and organisational ability. There’s no way I could take part in NaNoWriMo and hold down a full time job (let alone publish another writing project at the same time).

    As to what to write: I would advise asking yourself which are the projects where the characters tell you want they want you to do?

    October 23rd, 2013 at 5:48 am

  2. Mel says:

    Thanks, Francisco! It helps that I’m taking most of November as holiday from my day job. Considering my health right now, I think I’m going to need it!

    This is my problem: both stories and both sets of characters are speaking to me at the same volume right now. I’ve lived with them both for a while, letting them develop in the back of my brain. I could go either way. Ahhh, choices! 🙂

    October 23rd, 2013 at 9:17 am