On describing my new SF novel "Flight of the Vajra" in ten short questions.
I normally eschew stuff like this, but a few other folks I know and respect have been doing it -- a ten-question self-survey where you talk about your Next Big (Literary) Thing and then tag other folks to follow suit. Thinking I could answer a few common questions about my own project in the offing, I've now done the NBT thang for your reading pleasure:
1. What is the working title of your next book?
Flight of the Vajra -- actually, that's the title. I went through some thirty-odd titles before settling on that one, so perhaps we could say that is the working title because it's the only title I came up with that worked.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
The various elements in the book -- the far-future materials technology, the pontiff of a universe-spanning religion, the noirish protagonist -- all existed as separate elements that were originally to be inserted into different stories. Over time they drifted together and started living under the same roof, so to speak. Before I knew it, it was hard to think of them as having ever been separate things.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Most likely "space opera", a term I don't mind using even when it only seems to cover part of the territory.
Another stab at a "Flight of the Vajra" viral-marketing image. (Revised/corrected)
After some consultation, a revised IPS logo:
IPS logo draft 2.
The slogan was a revision based on a friend's suggestion: "Amidst Them All" implies they are more part of the situation they're patrolling, rather than merely standing "between" others. I also thickened up the stroke width on the logo itself.
I also have a rough draft of the insignia for the Old Way, the belief system that plays a prominent role in the story:
Old Way logo draft 1.
On developing a viral-marketing scheme (or a few of them) for "Flight of the Vajra".
A little something visual I'm working on as viral marketing for Flight of the Vajra:
IPS logo draft 1.
(Design subject to change, but that's the basic idea: it's the insignia worn by the officers who amount to the closest thing the universe in the book has to a shared police force.)
Bringing "Vajra" in for its final approach.
The last entry I had posted in this category was almost a month ago, before the end-of-the-year rush and the sheer grind of working on Vajra avalanched all over me. So, some word about what gives.
2nd draft edits are (quick math) 97% complete. I'm betting they will be done by this weekend, at which point I will give the book one more once-over. That part I am guessing will last me the rest of January and then some, at which point it will be out to the Super Secret Select Beta-Read Team. You all know who you are.
I didn't end up making drastic cuts to the story in this 2nd pass. It was more nip-and-tuck stuff -- removing redundancies (of which there were a few), rearraning a few passages for better impact or clarity, that sort of thing. A total of maybe one or two scenes in toto were axed. This is still a long book, mind you -- 348,000 words by my latest count -- but a) it's part one of, well, one, and b) I'd like to think there are as few places as possible where things don't move forward in some way. I may, on the third pass, find some sections (a character speech here or there, for instance) that could stand to be axed or condensed -- heck, I'm bringing back to mind one such sequence right now, but I want to go back and see how it plays in context before red-lining it.
If Summerworld ended up being 90% of what I had wanted it to be,Vajra is closer to 80-85%. Pretty good odds. The finished work is not something that's cast all at once; it's closer to something that's unearthed bit by bit and whose real dimensions and demands cannot always be seen from the outside. It's nothing like where I started out, but that's a good thing. Working on it has taken me into territory I would never have dreamed of venturing towards before.
This page contains an archive of posts in the category Flight of the Vajra for the month of January 2013.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind