Wednesday, November 27, 2013

State of the Story, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Since I haven't used my real-person voice for a while in this venue and one of the few holidays I actually observe approacheth, I thought this would be a good time to thank everyone who's been reading Fields without Fences. It's hard to tell exactly how many of you there are, since a decent chunk of the traffic will always be backclick-trolling from porn sites. Apparently that's a more viable model for online commerce than this bullshit I waste my time on. Still, there are several (several!) dozen loyal readers, which is more than I ever expected to enjoy an exercise for my own development. In that immediate sense it's been an unqualified success. I've learned a great deal, expanded my perspective and pushed myself (in large part because of you wonderful people, your readership and encouragement) to write a tremendous amount in the last few months.

The larger reality is complicated: both exciting and scary. A casual exercise in serial short fiction metastasized into the framework of what is going to be my second novel. Like the first, a short exploratory project grew and grew until this became the obvious option, the only option. Fields without Fences is probably about halfway done, given the story I've plotted in my head. But it's also loaded with mistakes. Not errors so much as deficiencies - shortcuts I took for the sake of continuity, for the sake of serial pacing, sometimes just for the sake of meeting my production quota for that day. These things can't be fixed at this point, not the way the story's currently presented.

So here's what I'm going to do: keep writing the way I have been, posting on the same schedule, working through this strange beautiful empty setting, trying to expand the characters and the story's scope while also banging out tense endings and fun beginnings at 500+ words per day (my bare minimum quota for Fields). I don't know if this enhances or degrades my readership's interest in the story, but what you're essentially doing is watching me write the first draft of a sci-fi novel in (sorta) public, in (nearly) real time. You are witnessing ideas as they emerge half-molten from my head. Maybe you think that's really cool, or maybe you're someone who stopped reading around Part Six when things started getting extra weird. Whatever the case, to everyone that's given this strange experiment even a few moments of your time, allow me to sincerely thank you.

And to my family, friends and anyone else who cared enough about my work to drop me a line or, more impressively, to stick their necks out and recommend it to others ("You read this?! She's masturbating! In the first chapter!"), thank you extra SUPER much. Some of you care so much about me and my work that I get tremendously embarrassed. Blessedly, that feeling is usually followed by determination - to keep writing, to hopefully keep entertaining you and to make you feel your time is a maturing investment.

All the best,


  1. Thanks so much, John. Great to know you're enjoying it.