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:
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:
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:
(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.