Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 7: Framework Is The End

Exercise and manual labour are good for a writer. To many of us that's the simple truth and as I've been packing with more and more urgency as my moving date (15th of November!), draws closer, a few things about Broadcast 7 have come into clearer focus.

In Broadcast 5 I introduced two minor characters that are slaves in one respect or another. In a way, slavery and mastery are very important to the whole Rogue Element Trilogy. Now that I've written a great deal of material for Broadcast 7 and had some time away from it to think about it for a couple days, I'm realizing that those themes actually support the entire trilogy and will be crucial to delivering the ending.

Writing is going pretty well on Broadcast 7. If I were writing without paying any attention to theme, or with no interest of providing a real ending to the entire series, then I would be finished by now. Everyone would have 120,000 words in hand and after a bit of reading they'd finish. A few things would be resolved, a couple characters would have developed in interesting ways, (I hope), and everyone would look forward to Broadcast 8 (again, I hope).

That's not the book I'm writing, however.

Broadcast 7 is the end. If you're one of the readers screaming for me to just come to a conclusion, well, here it is. For all intents and purposes, there doesn't ever have to be another Spinward Fringe novel after Broadcast 7. Many of the characters you've been rooting for will arrive at some meaningful place in their lives, questions will be answered, and you will finally understand what motivates some characters (*cough* Hampon *cough*), and why others are so screwed up (*hiccup* Eve *hiccup*).

Other plot lines will come to a close as well, I'll leave you to guess. The book will come to a thunderous close that will hopefully surpass everything I've done before. To this day I receive more email about the end of the First Light Chronicles Trilogy than any other book. When I wrote the ending for that trilogy I knew it was one of the best things I'd ever done. It delivered the point I was trying to make with that trilogy: Jonas entered as an individual who primarily only cared about himself, and by the end he'd grown into a man who was concerned about his entire crew. Jonas' journey was always intended as a journey from the selfish to the selfless. That's why it was written in first person perspective, and that's why I knew the First Light Chronicles had to end and change into Spinward Fringe. It took a serious plot shake up to bring that on, and, while the ending of Broadcast 7 won't resemble the ending of Starfree Port, I'm hoping to arrive at a similar magnitude.

For me to really consider Spinward Fringe for adaptation into other formats I need to finish Broadcast 7. Broadcasts 1 - 7 are what I'd consider enough material for a 13 episode season. With a little extension and a few character expansion episodes there's enough material there for 22 episodes of 42 minute television. I'm not saying there's a TV deal in the works, there isn't. What I'm saying is that I need to demonstrate what an entire season of Spinward Fringe looks like on the page, then I can start really tracking how close your support gets me to creating Spinward Fringe in another form.

While television and film are fantastic mediums with vast potential and I like writing in a very visual style, it's also very important for Broadcast 7 to be an incredible experience as a novel. It's a monolithic milestone and I won't be satisfied until I can sit back and say; "this is the best work I've ever done." That's why the realizations I'm having now are so important. There have been subtle themes, important places and representations of humanity that took a great deal of work and research to present in the other books. It's Space Opera, so they're not as important as they would be in a "serious literary work" but they're there.

I believe that that kind of research makes the universe I'm writing in much more believable, the events truer to actual possibility and the characters easier to relate to, so I've been keeping it up in Broadcast 7. In fact, I'm using more research than ever for this book, and I doubt anyone will notice in the end, which, strangely, is my goal.

In short, work on Broadcast 7 is going well, you can look for it in the first few months of 2011 unless there's a hitch in editing or the book grows to over 200,000 words.

Here's good news for everyone who doesn't want the series to end - and I hear there are a couple of you out there. Broadcast 8 is the beginning of what I like to call Season Two

Broadcast 7 will resolve a great deal, but there is still so much I want to do with the characters and the universe. Planning for Broadcast 8 has already broken down because there was too much material for one book. I've had to separate the stories in that book into Broadcasts 8, 9 and 10. Things are a little different after Broadcast 7, especially since most of the books will be more self contained plot wise. There are some characters that people love (their words, not mine!) that I'll be going into a lot more depth with and I'm simply not finished developing the universe.

I also want to restructure the story telling to make these books a little easier to write. If I succeed it'll be easier to plan, draft and edit each book so I can start putting two or more Spinward Fringe books out every year even if I'm working on something else at the same time.

What does it all mean?

Well, people who stop reading the series at Broadcast 7 should be fairly satisfied, but they'll be missing out if they don't follow us to Broadcast 8.


[Next on the blog: The big move and first official Red Lad Production Office]


Mike said...

I'm really glad to hear everything is coming together! The spinward fringe series was the series I have been looking for a long time. I haven't read anything quite like it in ages as I keep coming back for more. Unfortunately, the end of each broadcast means the end of sleepless nights thinking to myself, "just one more page!". I am looking forward to broadcast 7 and all future broadcasts! Thanks for all the great stories and adventures!

Anonymous said...

i absolutely love the series and the characters and the adventures. many sleepless nights but so incredibly rewarding. thank you

Unknown said...

This has been my best experience in a long time. I read all your Spinward Fringe books in no time and got three other people hook on them as well. i can't wait for more. Great job Mr. Lalonde keep up the great work.


Jasmine said...

Got the first book free from B&N. Loved it and was hooked. Took next two books overseas, went nuts when I finished the last one and realized I needed another fix. Once I returned home, I got the remainder of the stories and am happily on the TRITON ride now. So glad to hear there's a 7 in the works ... and a 'season 2'. Keep them coming, sleep is overrated! (Thanks for all your efforts :D)

Anonymous said...

Great news all around. Looking forward to reading 7, but I would like the booksnto stand alone a bit more, rather than all those cliffhangers. Not that it hasn't been fun...because it definitly has...Ernest Lilley

Nicole Hanna said...

I recommend your books to anyone willing to listen to me obsess about them. I'm one of the few readers who, every once in a while, demands an ending. I love an infinite universe where possibilities abound, but I definitely need a finite series. Still... I'm glad to know the universe will continue in some way, after Broadcast 7. Just more reasons to continue recommending you to my friends.

Randolph Lalonde said...

Thank you very much for your support and for letting me know that I'm writing in the right direction!

I'm still working on Broadcast 7 and it's going very well. There are a lot of answers in this book, making it all the more challenging. The challenge makes it more enjoyable, especially since I'm trying to keep things very character centric all the way though, even while the Victory Machine (campiest name I've ever come up with), is being pursued and things are being rebuilt bolt by bolt.

That brings me to my next point: Character. I'll be talking about this more in the future, but for now I can say that the books will have more self contained stories within starting with Broadcast 8. There will be an underlying line of development that continues through the series, but each book will have a specific arc as well, and each one will conclude unless a single book branches into a trilogy.

Broadcasts 1-7 were almost like a proof of concept. Broadcast 8 is where the real fun begins because you've all played a part in proving that Spinward Fringe entertains.

Thanks a ton, and happy holidays!

Melvin Bleezner said...

YAY for Broadcast 7 being almost ready. Expendable Few is a great read and adds more flavor to the universe.

Any further word on B8-10? Are you going to try and continue with a 2 books per year strategy?

Randolph Lalonde said...

I'd like to do two books a year in the Spinward Fringe series, but I can't predict the future.

All I can really say for sure is that a lot has changed in my approach and execution since Broadcast 6 came out, and it makes some things a lot easier, others noticeably slower. Writing the second half of Broadcast 7 will probably be easier than I expected a year ago, polishing the books and getting it out there will take longer because we're working more on editing and I have a formatting partner now.

I'm also working on the previous books, giving them a much needed polish, so there's some time that I could be spending on new material that is spoken for. That's just the way it goes when you start out with next to no resources, and find people who can help later though...

Thanks a ton for your support, I'm glad you enjoyed The Expendable Few!