Coming out of the summer hiatus, I have project-indices on six fiction projects at the moment:
- BSG1, “The Turning Point,” went out on private preview over the summer; I got some good feedback, I did one additional draft in August and will start another pass on or about October 1. It covers “Escape Velocity” through to “Daybreak,” addressing the mutiny
- BSG2, “Poseidon,” is still missing an important section, but it, too, went out in the private preview, and is in territory roughly akin to a third-draft. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve continued to fill in detail at the margins to get my mind back into that headspace; I will be working on it next week. It covers Racetrack’s time in officer-candidate school, starting six years before the Fall.
- BSG3, WT “Galactica,” had a first-draft rushed for inclusion in the preview. I took another pass through it about a month ago and will be doing the second-draft (a technical phase in my shop) this week. It covers Racetrack’s deployment aboard the Galactica, starting sixteen months before the Fall leaving her where we met her in “Kobol’s Last Gleaming,” with a brief coda immediately before “Final Cut.”
- BSG4, WT “Nightfall,” is going through its third-draft iterations. It’s actually almost there, but I’m in no hurry since it will appear last, covering as it does Nicola Edmondson’s last days on Caprica going into the Fall. (In the Chronicle appendices, there is a deleted scene in which its events become important to contextualizing Racetrack’s enthusiasm for the Caprica SAR in “Lay Down Your Burdens.”)
- BSG5 is in development. There is a first chapter and an increasingly-fat binder of development work under the project-index. It isn’t a Racetrack story—none of the Edmondson clan will appear, although Tory Foster and Paul Katraine keep our connection to the show—but is within the same continuity and would vastly expand the horizons of the world in which the Chronicle is set. It is an enormous undertaking. The scale of detail required, the number of questions to which answers must be posited—there’s a lot, and I loudly insist to anyone who will listen that I am not writing it. Not until the Racetrack Chronicles are complete, certainly. But development grinds on.
- BSG6 is a short-story coda to Racetrack Chronicles, giving Gareth “Nightlight” Lowell’s background on the Pegasus with (inter alios) Hamish “Skulls” McCall. “Galactica” shows us one iteration of military life in Racetrack’s last deployment, tucked out-of-the-way on long-haul duty on an old ship. There’s a certain appeal to showing you more of life aboard the plum assignment, the crown jewel of the fleet. A story-outline exists, and I sometimes get in the mood to go hang out with Lowell—an unexpected side-effect of working on this has been that you sometimes miss the characters when you haven’t written them for a while—and write a scene, but this one is very much on the backburner. (Sorry, Lindsay!)
Some of you are aware of the general dimensions of the project; the background notes and last week’s addendum explained in more detail. But just in general, I’ll add that I have either two or six projects, depending on how you count it.
Racetrack Chronicles is mostly a prequel cycle, starting about six years before the show and dovetailing into season one; BSG1 bridges a gap in season four. Its heart and focus are Margaret “Racetrack” Edmondson and her friend Abigail “Spitfire” Ainslie. There are a lot of themes played in the background—many of which continue in RDM’s spirit by taking the presented worlds and mythos dead-serious (how serious? Dead serious) and asking what the social and psychological implications are if this is reality. But fundamentally it’s a story about these two women and how they’re the same and how they’re different. (It has nothing to do with science-fiction. I like science-fiction, but you could stick these two characters aboard an aircraft-carrier today and tell the same basic story.) That project is technically broken up into four pieces, two novelettes and two short-stories, but put together, it will probably clock in at a little over 45k (about 44 written, another three or so to come, give or take some trimming) which means means that you could treat all four and their voluminous, tolkene appendices as a single novel-length piece.
During the summer hiatus from the Chronicle, I have also been developing, bit by bit, what would presumably be a full-dress novel set in the same universe, starting about a year before the Fall. I am, emphatically, not writing it. Just doing development. It has a completely different scope and tone; where the Chronicle is very personal and focused on Maggie, this would be very broad and political in scope, and would really give a much more detailed glimpse at my vision of that world. I’m going to play a little coy publicly about what it’s about (publicly, anyway; ask me privately), but the BSG5 project-index has gotten alarmingly fat.
This year has been a fascinating experience. I feel like I’ve come a long way since I started writing “The Turning Point” in late February, really just to give Leah Cairns a better account than I had for Racetrack joining the mutiny. I had never written fiction before this year—not since school, certainly. But it has provided an interesting opportunity to approach writing in a very different way, to leverage the tools of the trade for other purposes. I look forward to a productive Autumn.