Word count: 20881 Three hundred and some new words tonight. Not a lot, but at least I’m back to work on the novel after three weeks off with the short story. Working on a scene of pain and terror with the doctor, Reason. Also taking the opportunity to answer some questions about how and when the aliens use telepathy vs. other means of communication. Got the first five chapters critiqued this weekend. Responses were generally positive; a number of specific issues were raised. Some were problems I already knew about (aliens not alien enough, Jason’s motivations rather weak), others were technical issues and easily fixed (offhand mention of fusion power should be replaced with something having more manageable social consequences, should give Jason a different gun and he needs to clean it himself), a few were surprises (need to clarify that relationships are different in the future, aliens’ name is too similar to a recent TV show, aliens’ corporate structure should reflect their different society). Everyone was disappointed I brought a short story rather than a new novel chapter. I shall not fail them next time! So: my goal now is to prevent my friends from drinking beer! To do this I only have to write a thousand words a week. Doesn’t seem all that hard after doing over 4000 words last week. (Which was overdoing it… my hands were a little cold and tingly for several days after finishing that burst of effort. Scary! But they seem to be better now.) It’s tempting to go back and try to fix the problems identified in the critique now. But in the interests of maintaining forward momentum on this draft, I’m going to stay the current course and keep writing until I get to the end. Then I’ll go back and do all the critiques in a big editing pass. Is this mad?
David D. Levine is the author of Andre Norton Nebula Award winning novel Arabella of Mars, sequels Arabella and the Battle of Venus and Arabella the Traitor of Mars, and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. Stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Tor.com, numerous Year’s Best anthologies, and his award-winning collection Space Magic.