All in a week’s work: Clockwork Lives, 2113, short stories, Navigators of Dune

I’m always thinking one project ahead (or more), the next book, next story, next universe.  Last week, while I was finishing my second edit of CLOCKWORK LIVES (a new steampunk fantasy adventure written with Neil Peart, in the universe of CLOCKWORK ANGELS), I decided to keep my head in the Rush universe and plotted my novella “2113,” which will be the cornerstone of an anthology of Rush-inspired stories to be published by ECW Press (see my January 12 blog).  After I delivered the CLOCKWORK LIVES manuscript to Neil for his next edit, I wrote the first draft of “2113″ in three ten-hour days…while looking forward to my next major project, NAVIGATORS OF DUNE with Brian Herbert.  Brian had a head start and had nearly finished his chapters already, so I had a lot of catching up to do.

But before diving into a giant DUNE novel manuscript, I had a couple of loose ends to take care of first, two original short stories for anthologies I had committed to.  The first, a very fun giant robot story for the forthcoming MECH: Age of Steel anthology, written with David Boop. David and I met at the local Starbucks to spend a couple hours brainstorming the story. Dave went home and wrote 3000 words of the first draft that night. I spent two days revising and fleshing it out to 4300 words, then we delivered the final.

Next up, I had agreed to do a story for BEARDLESS WARRIORS, a tribute anthology for the great Richard Matheson, to be published by Gauntlet Press, a collection of how war affects people.  I’d had a one-sentence story idea tacked to my office board for two years, and it was perfect for this. I turned up the heat on the back burner, mulled over the idea, fleshed it out into an actual plot.  Then I reread the full outline for NAVIGATORS OF DUNE to get *that* percolating on my mental burner while I turned my efforts to writing “Combat Experience” for the Matheson anthology.  I wrote 7000 words in a day, wrapping up the story.

Then it was time to hit the sands. I was ready for NAVIGATORS OF DUNE. While I’m waiting for the typist to return “2113″ and “Combat Experience” to me for my edits, and waiting for Neil to finish his edit and send me comments on CLOCKWORK LIVES, I’ve started writing NAVIGATORS, finishing five chapters (of my 42) in the past three days. Tomorrow, I’ll go on a nice snowshoe hike to do even more chapters while being invigorated with gorgeous Colorado mountain scenery.

Still looking forward and backward to other universes. I will keep writing NAVIGATORS, but also spend part of the day editing the new stories whenever they come back to me…while pondering the next big book on the horizon, which will be ETERNITY’S MIND, the third book in my Saga of Shadows trilogy, following THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS and BLOOD OF THE COSMOS. When you live with countless fictional lives, there’s never a dull moment.