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Friday, April 29, 2011

The Future Of Spinward Fringe Part I

There are some stories, some characters that writers spend time with and they find their lives changed. It's true to some extent that every character is a side of the writer who pens them, but it's also true that we borrow traits from people around us.

The characters of the Spinward Fringe series are a combination of both - ideas and borrowed traits. After a conversation with a writer who is much better than I who said simply, "I hope you never try to outrun Spinward Fringe. It'll be with you forever."

I ended up thinking about that all day. I went to that author with advice, and, like many great thinkers, he not only answered my questions but left me with a bone to gnaw on (thought-wise). After a full day of working on the Expendable Few, setting up a schedule for updating Broadcasts 1-6, and doing research reading, I'm comfortable with the notion that I'll never outrun Spinward Fringe. I love the characters, and I think they've grown from those patched together figures in my head into personalities that I carry around constantly.

At the same time, it's not like it's a huge entity or something I consider a burden. Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6: Fragments has only sold about 10,000 copies in the US and Canada. While I find that a staggering number, I'm still no more than a pebble on the vast beach that is science fiction. I love where I am right now. Many readers have become long range acquaintances and friends. I make a decent living, and I know that when I release the next two or three books there will be people interested in reading them. As a reader recently told me; "I'm living the dream."

It's a lot of work, don't get me wrong, but I'm doing what I want to be doing - no complaints, only thanks. That leads me back to my point. I don't want to outrun Spinward Fringe, I'm glad it's here, and writing Broadcast 7 is hard because I don't want to end this part of the series. I'm writing Broadcast 7 as if there will never be another Spinward Fringe book. That's difficult.

I know I'll begin new challenges in Broadcast 8, so it's not at all impossible. Endings are important in fiction - they give us an opportunity for closure that real life doesn't always provide. At the same time, I can't wait to write Broadcast 8. Why, then, am I taking a break to write a horror novel?* Dark Arts is a concept I've been developing for a while, and I need to clear my head before seriously starting a new book in the Spinward Fringe series. I have a few things written for Broadcast 8 already, but the smart thing to do is to put it down for a little while so I can get back to it fresh, eager to return to that universe.

So, what can I promise for the future of Spinward Fringe? More Polish! Two more books in the next couple months (if my editors and beta-readers sign off on them)! More books after that! I'm also doing work in the background so side projects like the store go more smoothly. Balancing what I have on my plate right now has become challenging, so I'm doing something about that. More about that coming this week.

Looking to the very near future, the first chapters of Spinward Fringe: Expendable Few,  go to test readers Monday. Things are moving right along.

As for reader mail and other correspondences, I'll eventually answer everyone, just give me time.

In short, the future of Spinward Fringe looks pretty good. I'd much rather ride along than try to outrun it.

RL

*More info on that other book here.

3 comments:

steamer said...

Of all your invented technology, Crew Cast was the one that pipped my courtesy as it was the one I could relate to the most and it also got me thinking about social media and the future.

Is social media the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented well Julian Assange thinks so. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/wikileaks-founder-facebook-is-8220most-appalling-spying-machine-ever-invented-8221/1332

Randolph said...

You happen to be right. In the case of Crewcast and the fictional future, there is a common acknowledgement that it knows everything about every second of someone's life.

The control attached to the system involves who gets access to that information, instead of restricting what information is collected. I didn't write Crewcast that way because I think that's the way social management systems should work, rather, it's how I expect that social and professional management tools will work that way eventually.

Privacy is becoming the coin we purchase an online identity with. We spend it so we can be social. I don't like it, but I expect that, like many other things in Western culture, we will be bankrupt before long.

RL

Paul said...

I am seriously on pins and needles, waiting for Broadcasts 7 & 8. I quite literally stumbled upon your books and must say, you've a very bad man by making me a virtual addict. I didn't read your books, so much as devour them in the span of two weeks. Good job and know you've earned another fan!