Sunday, April 19, 2009
Spinward Fringe Frontline: Nearly At An End
Spinward Fringe Frontline is unlike anything I've ever written. I'm almost finished my last draft and my editorial pass and I've tried to call this book a war novel, an adventure novel, a hard core science fiction novel and even a space opera novel. After reaching page 370 of 410 the best conclusion I can make is that it's a Space Opera novel that contains strong aspects of all those other things.
This book is 410 pages after cutting 68 pages out and without the last chapter. I've also scrapped three prologues, two of which were good enough to be prologues, one of which was good enough to be its own short story, but none of them were what I wanted. I have a 1.5m by 2m story board covered in post its that failed to contain what was happening with all the characters, the details of the plotlines and the overall movement of this piece. I'm not saying that writing and editing this book was a nightmare or that it's a mess, but it certainly was an unprecdented challenge for me. Thankfully this book came together as a very linear, clear telling of intertwining plotlines.
Before taking on the topics and stories of Frontline the largest book I had written was a fantasy novel called Fate Cycle: Sins of the Past. That book covers several weeks worth of events and builds a world complete with a history, system of mysticism and several other basic components nessisary to a conventional fantasy world. In comparison Spinward Fringe Frontline is much larger and yes, it addresses the weeks between it and Spiwnard Fringe Triton, the timeline of Frontline covers a week or less. In contrast to the fantasy novel I put out five years ago Frontline doesn't have to establish a universe or introduce a multitude of characters, so the four hundred ten pages (so far), are all plot, character development and action. In terms of television, this book would take about six full length hour long episodes to cover and you could easily stretch it to eight with the right special effects budget. (GRIN)
A lot of our favorite characters grow over the course of this book. At the same time the whole thing occurs during a period of adjustment, things are still developing and I enjoy some of the unexpected challenges the characters face. Other characters embark on a journey that changes them in a lasting way. I have to say that I enjoy this book, partially because of its differences from everything else I've done.
I love the dialogue in this book because it's beyond being functional, the characters are really asserting differences in their manner of speech. The story in Frontline goes a great distance to advance things while it brings a lot from the past into focus. I've lost all objectivity again and that's why I'm so happy to have a good, honest editor who will be able to tell me if my work is done or if I have to do another draft. My test readers will be able to sound alarms if I'm missing something or going in the wrong direction.
Having said that, I certainly hope she and everyone else enjoys this book as much as I have. It's complex, it's epic in scale and I'm at the same time looking forward to finishing the drafting and editing process as well as dreading the end because leaving this book behind is hard. I've lived in it for over five months now and the longer you spend with a work the harder it is to let it go.
Having said that, I hope that in a few days I'll be posting my editor's approval as well as an opinion or two from a test reader. If the feedback tells me I have more work to do, I'll tell you as soon as I know and I'll pin down another release date. I'll see you then!
What are you looking to see in Spinward Fringe Frontline? Leave a (spoiler free) comment below!