September Utterances


We’re now comfortably into September, and I’m almost three weeks into my September-January writing season.

I finished up last season by putting together a series outline for my space opera project, Legacy of a Silver Age. The four books are stitched together with a lot of connections between them, and it is really close to something I can write from. In the meanwhile I’ve sent the outline to Jon Oliver – who did such a great job with helping me on Dog Country – to see whether he can help me identify strong spots and weak spots at this early stage. I’ll possibly have more I can tell y’all about that in a couple of months.

As it is, I’m happy with where Legacy of a Silver Age is, and look forward to picking it up again in January. I feel like the personal skill development, particularly around time management and organization, have been valuable all on their own.

My current seasonal project is Aconite Braid – a cyberpunk story, relatively self contained, with a clear end to it. I reached ‘Minimum Viable Plot’ last week, with all the twists and turns figured out, and since then I’ve been adding depth and detail and more interconnectedness. I am nearly at the point I can finalize a version of the working outline and hope to start actually writing the thing within a week or two.

It’s about a space elevator, an attempt to monopolise space, and the ways in which selfish ideologies make people vulnerable to being exploited by powerful people. I’m still working out how to give a back-cover blurb that doesn’t spoil things for the average reader, but I’ll figure it out.

One thing that’s been very helpful while working on Acotnite Braid is a very basic process for keeping myself on track.

I list what I’m trying to do, the most difficult complete task at the top of the list, and the next entry is something I can do to make that difficult thing easier. The list I’ve been working with goes like this:

1. Flesh out the outline sections with plot movements, using sub-headings for possible scenes and details. (Do this sequentially.)

2. Work on the subplot writeups, slipping material from them into the outline sections as necessary. (Any order.)

3. Work on character sketches/thumbnails until something gels into a subplot?

4. Doodle?

And, indeed, I have doodled here and there. One of them even made it up onto my corkboard.

So remember: When all else fails, you can doodle. And the scribbly drawings will, eventually, make it that much easier to do the big complex thing you’re uncertain about.

Thank you so much for your support, and I hope you all have a lovely month ahead of you.

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By foozzzball

Malcolm Cross, otherwise known as 'foozzzball', lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistant landmarks and lurking at bus stops, Malcolm enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy with a furry twist.