Monday, January 07, 2013


Original art by Chris Howard

The novel I began writing the last week in June of 2012 is a completed first draft. At a titch over 100,000 words, it's the longest work I've written since my first novel, an epic fantasy. It took me about 6 months of calendar time to get from initial idea to finished draft, though that represented about 5 months of actual writing time, as I lost most of the month of September when my mother passed away and writing was the furthest thing from my mind.

In many ways, this book is for her. She instilled in my my love of reading, though she never could understand why I gravitated towards Science Fiction and Fantasy. Nothing I read made any sense to her; neither did anything I wrote. But she knew it meant something to me and she was proud of my work.

It's funny. DERELICT weaves the stories of 5 teens, 4 of whom have fraught relationships with their parents. Other than my own teen angst and my fear of/need for separation during those years, I actually had a solid, close, and loving relationship with my parents. (More like Nomi than Ro, if you are reading the serialization of the story.) I'm not sure why there is so much family discord in DERELICT, especially given that I have a wonderful relationship with my own teens, but there it is. That's what felt authentic for this story and these characters.

So far, a little more than 2/3 of the story has already been serialized, both on Wattpad and on a dedicated blog. The remainder will be posted at 2 chapters a week for the next month or so, when it will be complete in both sites.

Readers seem to be enjoying it, despite it being in its first draft glory. :) The Web Fiction Guide says:

"Engrossing young adult science fiction in the tradition of Heinlein. The four teenagers living on this space station have distinct personalities, but they are all intense and driven in their own ways, each having an exceptional talent or passion.  . . . While Ro, Jem, Barre, and Micah each follow their own motivations, there is something sinister happening on the space station that they are all about to get caught up in."

My plan is to finish posting it to the web, then let it sit for a little while before doing an initial revision pass.  Then it gets sent to some lovely beta readers for their impressions, before further revisions/edits.

Serializing a novel in progress was a leap of faith and an experiment in shaking up my own writing process. Because posting on a schedule was making a promise to the reader, the additional outside accountability kept me focused on the project. It also forced me to have the structure of the entire novel planned ahead of time. Not quite an outline, but enough structure that I never had to struggle for where the next scene was going.

I am glad I waited until I had a backlog to begin serializing, however, because it allowed me to take off the time I needed in my personal life without breaking the promise to the reader.

So, serializing a novel. Would I do it again?

I'd have to say yes. I enjoyed sharing my first draft process. It might not be right for every project, but it felt like the best path for this one.

If you haven't been following the story, feel free to pick it up. I've added a Table of Contents to the story blog, and the Wattpad interface has it already integrated.

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