Am I doing NaNoWriMo this year? Sadly, no. Well, sort of.
I hinted before that I'd started a new long-form writing project. Those rumors are indeed entirely substantiated: something new is on the burner.
This is not the unshelving of The Underground Sun, which I'm sorry to say has not only taken a backseat but been moved into the trunk. It has nothing to do with the quality of the work, but rather its aims and intentions. The thing that always nagged me about Underground Sun was how marginal it was going to be — how I couldn't justify to myself working on that book when I couldn't even take the time to sell it directly to the very people I was writing it most for.
All of that might change, depending on how well I get up to speed with all the new technologies out there for making and expanding a brand. And I'm not talking just about Facebook and Twitter and G+, although those are the big obvious ones. Everything you do that draws attention to something you do (in a good way, we hope) is a technology, and the more you learn how to use it well the better. If I can figure out a way to do the kinds of sales I did face-to-face at conventions in an online context, great. But from everything I've seen it's abusively hard — the whole point of meeting people in person at conventions is because by being there they have consented that much more than the average schmendrick to be marketed to by you. That was why I did it, and that was what in big part helped me become that much more confident about getting up in someone's snoot and telling them that my book was indeed worth some of their precious time and $15 of their hard-earned buckskins.
So, yeah. New project. As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, this is a project I've decided is going to be written specifically to be marketed in a professional manner, at least as a first goal. I would love nothing more than to be able to sell my books directly from here to my legions of adoring fans who all know me by name, but right now the total number of those adoring fans would probably not even fill a third of the seats on your average city bus.
The few hints I've dropped before, I'll expand on a little bit:
The title is The Flight of the Vajra.
The story is set in the future, in space. I did describe it as "space opera" to some people, but I did not want that description to be constraining. There's more to it than just what that term implies.
The inspirational quote is from George Russell's friend Turid Aarstad, "Nature likes those who give in to her but loves those who do not," as cited in the liner notes for one of Russell's albums.
There is no projected date for completion yet. It'll be finished when it's finished. I honestly have no idea how long it's going to take, because I've never attempted anything of this magnitude before. (This is the best way I know of to avoid what I will call the George R. R. Martin Trap, where your readers insist on setting your work schedule for you.)
That's about all I can say out loud right now. The rest I'm keeping in my vest pocket for the time being — again, not out of mania for Area 51 secrecy, but only because I don't want to make promises that aren't kept.
But if I hadda hazard a guess, I'm betting most of you would like it. A lot.