In the past few days, I’ve gotten two tentative invitations for new writing projects, though one is much more tentative than the other. I hope they both come to fruition, though. At least, it’s a good sign that I’ve gotten approached twice this early in the year.
Also, today I finally got paid in full for my latest Star Trek Magazine article (well, latest published, but second-latest written), after the first check got lost in the mail.
Meanwhile, my progress on the spec novel has had a bit of a setback, but in a way that’s progress in itself. I realized that just trying to keep as much as possible from the old version of the story wasn’t working; there was too much infodump and lecturing and not enough characterization or emotion to make it work, and at the same time I wasn’t making good enough use of the setting and situation at this part of the novel. I realized there were some things I could do to address both problems at once, so I have to do some major rewriting of this portion and replace a lot of the recycled material with new content. It entails partly reversing a decision I made before to reduce the number of distinct alien races I used in the story, because the old version was getting too cluttered and unfocused. So I was initially skeptical of the thought that including another alien race (indeed, one pretty much recycled from some of my old unsold fiction) might be the way to go here. But it’s okay, because I’ve solved the main clutter/focus problem (by having the central arc of the back half of the novel grow out of an established character and species whose motivations tie into another significant piece of worldbuilding in the novel, rather than tossing in a different antagonist and species that have no connection to any of that), and because I can use this alien race in place of another one that I was planning to use anyway in the final stage of the story (and was on the fence about using at all), so it gives the story more cohesiveness if I set them up here. Moreover, it lets me showcase the setting more, making it come alive as more than just a backdrop. So I think that this time it will serve the story integrally rather than sending me off on a tangent like before. At least, I hope it will.
If nothing else, at least I finally feel my imagination is fully engaged with this project; the ideas are flowing more quickly now and I’m recognizing both problems and solutions that I wasn’t seeing before.
Today in a thread on the TrekBBS, someone asked my colleague David Mack whether his published word count to date had topped one million words. That got me wondering how many words I’ve gotten published (i.e. stuff I’ve been paid for). It might also just be useful for my future reference to have a list of all my word counts. So here goes:
- “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide”: 12,000 words
- “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele”: 9400
- “The Hub of the Matter”: 9300
- “The Weight of Silence”: 7600
- “No Dominion” (upcoming): 7900
- “Home is Where the Hub Is” (upcoming): 9800
Total original fiction count: 56,000 words
- X-Men: Watchers on the Walls: 83,500
- Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder: 71,000
Total Marvel novel count: 154,500 words
STAR TREK NOVELS
- Ex Machina: 110,000
- Orion’s Hounds: 105,000
- The Buried Age: 132,000
- Places of Exile: 55,000
- Greater Than the Sum: 78,500
- Over a Torrent Sea: 89,000
- Seek a Newer World (sold but unpublished): 82,000
Total ST novel count: 651,500 words
STAR TREK SHORT FICTION
- “Aftermath”: 26,000
- “…Lov’d I Not Honor More “: 12,000
- “Brief Candle”: 9800
- “As Others See Us”: 9100
- Mere Anarchy: “The Darkness Drops Again”: 28,900
- “Friends With the Sparrows”: 10,300
- “Empathy”: 11,000
Total ST short fiction count: 107,100 words
STAR TREK MAGAZINE ARTICLES
- “Points of Contention”: 1040
- “Catsuits are Irrelevant”: 1250
- “Top 10 Villains #8: Shinzon”: 820
- “Almost a Completely New Enterprise”: 800
- “The Remaking of Star Trek“: 1350
Total article count: 5260 words
- Novels: 806,000 words (724,000 to date)
- Short fiction: 163,100 words (145,400 to date)
Total fiction: 969,100 words (869,400 to date)
Add in nonfiction and the total goes to 974,360 words sold, 874,660 published to date. Include everything but Seek a Newer World and I’ll have at least 892,360 words in print by the end of the year, probably more.
So I’m within 110,000 words of my million-word mark. As it happens, I’m aiming for 100K with my Star Trek DTI novel, and I have stories on the market that could add another 12K if they sell. So there’s a very good chance that DTI could put me over the top.
EDITED TO ADD: What about breakdowns by word count? It comes out to 9 novels (over 40,000 words), 2 novellas (over 17,500 wds), 11 novelettes (over 7,500 words), and 0 short stories. I guess “The Weight of Silence” is right on the borderline, though; the magazine it appears in, Alternative Coordinates, technically has a cutoff of 7,500 words, but I guess it’s not absolutely rigid. So TWoS might end up being classed as a short story in bibliographies, if anyone considers it worth cataloguing. The two stories I currently have on the market are both short stories, at 6900 words and 5200 words. Another I’ve been shopping lately is 4200 words, but a recent rejection letter suggests that the opening could use some revisions which might add to that. (I’ve been trying to produce shorter fiction lately because there are more markets for shorter works.)
I had a job interview Tuesday. It was for an institution I really want to work at, and I really need to be employed as soon as possible. However, I don’t feel I aced the interview. I don’t really have a lot of experience at conventional job-hunting. Most of my past employment has either been in college, where it was fairly easy to get a student job, or as a writer, where you rarely have to sell yourself face-to-face. So I’m not the most adept job-interviewee out there. I just have to hope they saw something in me beyond that awkwardness. Failing that, I’ve applied for various other openings at the same institution; hopefully I’ll get other interviews and manage to do a better job.
And it probably didn’t help that I came down with a cold the day before, though the symptoms didn’t really start to kick in until after the interview. The night before the interview, I strove for relaxation and confidence and somehow managed to find a mental place that let me achieve more serenity and peace of mind than I’ve felt in quite a while. So that probably helped me do better in the interview than I might have, but I just hope it was good enough. And since then, I’ve just been feeling icky and sniffly and lethargic.
Not that it’s kept me from getting some work done. I’ve managed to get another article-writing gig this past week. It’s my first interview-based writing assignment. Which means I’ve gotten to be on both ends of that process this week, since I was just interviewed myself for someone else’s article. More info on both of these when the time is right.
I saw Star Trek Magazine #23 on the shelf at the grocery store today. It’s a look back at Star Trek: The Motion Picture on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, and I’m glad I got to participate in a small way. And small is the word. My piece is a sidebar essay, and it’s found within the Jon Povill interview. It’s a rumination on TMP’s legacy to the Trek franchise and what might have been if more of that legacy had been embraced.
Over on the TrekBBS, Star Trek Magazine editor Paul Simpson has just announced the contents of the upcoming issue #23, including a new article by yours truly:
This issue we concentrate on the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with interviews with Walter Koenig, producer Jon Povill and story creator Alan Dean Foster. Christopher L. Bennett wonders how Star Trek would have continued had TMP been a success, while Scott Pearson compares and contrasts the first and fifth movies.
There’s an excerpt from S.D. Perry and Britta Dennison’s new novel Inception, featuring both Carol Marcus and Jim Kirk (plus one of his old flames) as well as reviews of the latest comics from IDW, as well as a detailed examination of the three different versions of the Star Trek movie…
And for fans of the movie (particularly those who would like to see what the engine room would have looked like, had different decisions been made) there’s the second and final supplement of extra material to complement the Art of The Movie book from Titan.
All this available technically from December 22nd in North America, and from New Year’s Eve in the UK…
Hey, this is my first blog post announcing a new project! Plenty more to come in the future, I hope…
This is also the first time I’ve had articles in two consecutive ST Mag issues, another situation that I hope will repeat itself.
Here’s the link to the ST Mag site, though it’s still showing issue 22 for the moment (but then, I’m in that one too!):