The other day, I passed 10,000 words in the rough draft for my current writing project. I haven’t done that in over a year and a half, and it feels incredible. I’ve been working on this particular thing for about four months, although I’ve really only talked about it on Twitter, and the fact that I’m a) still working on it, and b) still excited about it, is kind of extraordinary.
So what is it? It’s a goofy pulp science fiction story, with robots and rayguns and badass mathematicians and telepathic tree aliens who glow in the dark. It’s got all of my favorite pulp sf tropes in it — absentminded professors, analog computers, plucky whiz kids, and a blatant disregard for the laws of physics. It’s super queer, because I don’t know how to write anything that isn’t. Oh yeah, and it’s a Star Trek fanfic. (Albeit one where literally zero canon characters appear.)
It’s called “Captain Proton: Duplicates From the Fifth Dimension!”, and it is absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had while writing.
(For those of you who don’t do Star Trek — think “Buck Rogers” or “Flash Gordon”, those gloriously long and winding space opera serials from the 30s.)
I’ve been wanting to write a ridiculous pulp sci-fi story for a long time, but I could never quite get myself to actually do it, because it scared the crap out of me — even at the “zero draft” stage. I get really easily intimidated by Big Projects; they tend to get too big very fast, and then I get kind of freaked out. I also have this tendency to write scenes out-of-order, which usually ends up with me having trouble connecting things later on. So I’m limiting myself here to a single story, a semi-established universe, and (mostly) linear writing.
I’m posting chapters a couple of weeks after I write them. It’s a good balance between giving myself time to revise stuff, and keeping myself from dwelling too much on whether or not each chapter is “perfect”. I’m not really doing multiple drafts on this thing — each chapter basically gets a single revision, so the reality of it is that perfection isn’t part of the equation.
That makes certain parts of me want to scream (hi, anxiety!), because how could I possibly be okay with putting less-than-perfect writing out into the world? But hey, if I do this long enough, the quality will improve over time… I hope.
(The blatant disregard for physics, on the other hand, is forever.)
The story lives here, if you’d like to read it. I’d certainly appreciate it — knowing that people are reading it encourages me to keep working!