Late last year I launched one of my two planned major side projects for 2017: Product Matters, a blog / publication / channel on all things product design and business ethics.Today I’m thrilled to share what my second major side project for this year is: a science-fiction novel!
I’ve been writing, plotting, outlining and ideating a whole universe of stories since I was 16 years old, now more than half a lifetime ago. I always figured, “I can do a writing career after my tech career.” I used to imagine I might start to get serious about the writing around the age of 34 or so, but then one day late last year I woke up and I was 34.
So, it was time.
The U.S. elections, Brexit, and generally sorry state of affairs around the world leave me with deep cuts across my soul, but after having spent the past 6 years in the trenches fighting for social justice, inclusivity and equality, I’ve come to realize that there are more ways than one for me to contribute to a better world. And it’s time for me to do so in a way that gives me great personal joy and satisfaction, not constant depression and anxiety. (I’m fine, but there were struggles across the years.)
The opportunity presented itself in a way more perfect than I could’ve written. Two of my dear friends, Tim and Tiffany, were getting married. At their engagement party I suggested and subsequently brokered a small agreement for (improved) gender equality: Tiffany, then considering adopting Tim’s last name as her own, would go ahead with that… provided that Tim would change his middle name to her last name. They both agreed enthusiastically to this proposal, and then we continued drinking.
Fast-forward a few weeks later, and they finished the paperwork at City Hall…and Tim forgot to change his name. To motivate him to go back and go through the (now increased) hassle of changing his name, I offered that I would write the two of them a short story, featuring them as main characters, and inspired somewhat by this name change agreement. Tim agreed enthusiastically (again); I asked the two of them what genre they would like it in, and they both answered “Sci-fi!” without a moment’s thought.
Wonderful, as that is my personal genre of choice.
Then I started reading up on and learning all about writing novels, outlining techniques, and the various ins & outs for professional writers. I kept applying my newly acquired knowledge to this short story for Tim & Tiffany, which I was about 3,000 words into (and thus had to wrap up at a higher pace than I was establishing it, as short stories are limited to 7,500 words).
I was in denial about it for a little while, but soon enough I admitted to both myself and the (now-married) happy couple: this story is breaking free of its short shackles on its own accords, and demands to be novelized properly.
So now I’m writing a novel.
And it’s going to be a good one; that is, for a first-time writer’s first real attempt at one. I’m obviously biased in more ways than one, but the feedback I’ve gotten on early parts so far has been very promising, and my latest work on outlining its plot and fleshing out the details has gotten me ever-more excited to see the finished product.
For the curious: it’s an adventure-thriller with a romance subplot (it is still a wedding gift to my friends, too), set in space about half a century from now. Some atmospheric– and thematically-similar shows and books are: Firefly, The Expanse, Stargate: Universe, John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series, and The Martian (but with character depth).
Other changes in 2017
I’ve been writing fiction for over a decade, but rarely ever publishing my work. That, too, is going to change in 2017.I have a site redesign / complete overhaul in the works; it will be WordPress-powered, comments will return, and the content of the blog will focus on product design, writing, and: short stories! I’m also creating a tools section where I will make small, simple but (hopefully) useful tools for writers available.
There are still big plans in the works for Product Matters, even if it’s been quiet on that front of late. And there are some more surprises in the works related to that, as well, but more on that in the future.
For now, you can sample one of my fiction short stories over at The Pastry Box Project, where a year and a half ago I published a first draft (yes) of one: A Shift In The Night. That story will be reworked and re-published here after my site overhaul. It’ll then give you a good indication of my writing style, as well as how I’ve progressed and evolved since then.
Lastly, no author rises to fame & success (or at least more satisfied readers; I’ll take it) without beta readers. If you are interested in getting the early scoop on my writing, and helping make it better along the way, being a beta reader is your jam. You’ll get a free ebook copy of the finished product, acknowledgements in the book itself, 10 discount codes to hand out to friends, and my eternal thanks. And all you’ll have to do to get started is: tweet me your interest in beta-reading my novel!
Here’s to making 2017 as best as year as we can. #resist #inspire #love.