Milestone (Gareth)


Just finished putting the final words on the draft of the fifth Star Dragon novel: Awaken The Star Dragon. Will go back later and polish it some, but the core is done and I’m happy.

Sometime this summer, it will be rebooted as “Birth of the Star Dragon” in keeping with a naming standard for the rest of the series.

  • Birth of the Star Dragon
  • Flight of the Star Dragon
  • Call of the Star Dragon
  • Shadow of the Star Dragon
  • Trial of the Star Dragon

This is the benefit of ramping up my speed a year ago when I went full-time. I had been writing at a 450k word/yr pace before, and then I bumped it up to something like 1.2M/annum. Pulp Speed Two sustained since May and holding steady. I can write a whole series of relatively short novels (all around 45k) and then publish them once the series is done.

Actually, the series isn’t “done.” I already know what the title of book VI is, but it will be part of another five-novel arc, and I won’t attack it anytime soon, as I have several other projects I need to compete first.

But the weird part is realizing that Trial of the Star Dragon is my twenty-fifth novel. And I’m using the Hugo definition here, so it must be above 40,000 words. All of The Science Officer Season One stories run 24,000-33,000. When I pick up for Season Two (#10, with #9 being an collection of shorts that take place after #8), I expect that those will also be short novels, as I seem to have hit a good pace for telling a story at 45,000 words and I plan to stick with it.

Part of that is that upping the word count from my old novella length lets me add in a whole sub-thread to the story, rather than just telling one story fast and hard and cramming it into 30,000 words. I also am working on my depth, telling richer stories by going into detail better, and not leaving so much of the wallpaper blank.

I spent a good chunk of time before this writing plays and screenplays. In that medium, unless a detail is critical to the plot, you leave it out. For example, what the main character is wearing will depend on the director and the costuming department. I only need to speak up if some detail needs to be there, like the gun the character is carrying, or the bottle of wine she needs to have when the door opens. That sort of thing.

Learning to write those details is why my more recent work is so much better than my old stuff. Look at early Jessica versus later Jessica, and its painfully obvious to me. And no, I’m not planning to go back and “fix” Auberon, although at some point I might do a definitive “cleanup” where I try to add some of those details in, just to improve the flow of the storytelling.


But we’re having a little celebration today. I woke up the kitty because she was squeaking. I just finished my twenty-fifth novel, which sounds utterly amazing, until I realize that I want to write twenty just this year. Might. Might not. Depends on things outside my control, but I plan to generate 1.2 million words this year, if nothing goes terribly sideways on me. At 45k per, that would be around 25 or so, which works, when you consider the short fiction I write for Boundary Shock Quarterly, or the longer things like Jessica.

And I have a plan for an epic space opera trilogy sometime soon. Three books, each about 180,000 words. Doorstops. But they’ll be fun. I wasn’t a good enough storyteller to do them justice when the idea struck, so I’ve kept notes. Lots of notes.

But writer-brain can be a pain in the ass, so I’m shifting shortly to finish out a scheduling conflict wherein I need a total of six Dave & Valentinian novels (got three done now), plus a whole new batch of weirdness in its own universe, inspired by my recent research on the history of Central Asia, for the rpg I’ll get back to when some of my current craziness abates.

And a couple more B4B books, these focused on basic and advanced marketing tips and techniques for the beginning and intermediate Indie Publisher. (Things I’ve done or learned, in a world where I make enough income from my writing not to have a day job. So while I’m not a whale, I’m also not a guppy either, and I know lots of folks that could use a checklist of how to take themselves to the next step, as they move to embrace the Indie Revolution.)

So, deep breath. Maybe a little sake tonight, when I go have some sushi.

Because I just hit a milestone of awesomeness by completing my 25th novel, and I’d like to celebrate my 50th next summer, Good Lord Willing and the creek don’t rise.

Yay, me.