Monday, August 26, 2013

New Sci-Fi Serial Tuesdays: "Fields without Fences"


TLDR: New science fiction series coming tomorrow (Tuesday Aug 27). More segments every following Tuesday, indefinitely.

With my nonfiction book The Extreme Life of the Sea sent off to its publisher (coming Spring 2014 at all pulpmongers of decent repute) and writing work on the latest expansion to "The Sims 3" wrapped up, I found myself somewhat adrift in something of an empty space. When you've been writing all day every day for months and suddenly those projects go away, what's supposed to happen? Some folks would travel or take a good chunk of time off, but I'm too neurotic to do either of those things. Vacations are more stressful and guilt-inducing than work.

So work it would be, but what? I'm searching for new video game gigs, but it occurred to me that being mixed up in novel revisions - ongoing but nearly finished - for so long, I haven't been doing much original composition. Creating things from whole cloth is very different from editing (even if that editing involves composition) and vastly more difficult in some ways. I wanted to be writing new fiction on a daily basis, but encountered an internal barrier: my own pride.

See, I want my stuff to be really good. Perfectionism is a curse of my ilk, and fiction writing is so hard and intricately detailed that I don't like showing it to people until the time is perfect. With my focus on selling and promoting "Speaker for the Gods," it was frankly unlikely that anything I wrote would appear in a professional-quality venue. At which point, why bother? This may seem silly, but most of what happens in my head seems silly to others. I try to employ this as an asset, where possible. It isn't always.

But as with many problems from weird stains to dead bodies (themselves a major source of weird stains), there was a solution just waiting on the Internet all along! When somebody wants to write something but doesn't really want to be held accountable for making it good, what do they do? They post it on a blog. I HAVE ONE OF THOSE. It was such an amazing symmetry of crisis and solution, I almost got religion. But then I realized I had created the blog instead of God, so I instantly reverted to the faith of self-worship. You know it as "being a fiction writer."

Thus I, Myself have willed into being a new science fiction serial under the working title "Fields without Fences." There is meaning in the title. Look at the picture headlining this post and think about it for no longer than ten seconds. If you don't get it by then, you have probably come to this page searching for JPEGs of characters from How High. Search the archives.

I will release the first segment tomorrow, with another every Tuesday for as long as I continue the project. Length will vary, but I doubt a given segment will ever exceed 5,000 words. Fields without Fences concerns the crew of a small starship on a one-year exploratory cruise of deep space. In the course of their travels, our five heroes (small ship, like I said) make a discovery that sets larger events in motion. It's a bit like Star Trek but more limited in scope and, in keeping with the course of the past decades' sci-fi, not nearly so Utopian. Still a bit Utopian.

I've written the first part of the story and have the larger arc planned out. Aside from that, I plan to write quickly and let things accrete in my normal fashion. This may result in some messiness. So it goes. I've done my best to hash out the relevant technical retails in my head, but I may screw some things up or decide on changes. Which is to say, retconning will probably happen. As this is an open project, I'll affix notifications to any story segments that get edited. The look of this blog may change as I make any adaptations for easier reading.

If you like "Fields without Fences," please recommend and link it to others. Anything like this will necessarily have a "long tail" in terms of readership, and who knows? If things go well in my career and people like this, it may become a Real Thing one day instead of just an Internet Thing.

The first piece will go up tomorrow. In the short time since I've started this project, I've already become enamored with the characters and setting. I think you will enjoy getting to know Lorena, Vivek, Ashley, Karl and Zach, and I hope you stick around. There's so much out there to see!

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