New science fiction series underway!


So after thinking about it for a while, brainstorming it, plotting out a bit of the storyline, and generally doing all the things I do beforelaunching a new project, I’ve officially put fingers to keyboard on the new series today. For those that missed my earlier posts on the subject, I have a theory: I think that ebooks are a beautiful medium for telling short, episodic stories. The concept is that each story is self contained as a single plot, but is connected to the other stories in the series, much like a set of TV episodes are connected. And since TV is woefully short on good science fiction right now, I thought I’d write some good episodic SF to pick up the slack and test my theory at the same time.
I’m only 1800 words into the story so far, but the day is still young. I expect to be about twice that far in by the end of the day (cross fingers). Which should put me about a fifth of the way into the first story, I think. I’m not really sure how long these stories are going to be, and I’m not locking myself into any specific length, but I am guessing this first one at least will be somewhere around twenty thousand words, give or take a few thousand. I expect the stories will generally fall around 10-25k words, in the novelette to novella range.
Now, I don’t know if episodes would work with longer chunks. I think writing gets more difficult and complex at an almost geometric rate as the work gets longer. More moving parts means more places things can go wrong. Or maybe it’s just that my natural storytelling length is shorter, who knows? =)  But I think episodic content begs for rapid releases. No one wants to wait six months for the answer to the questions posed in the last episode of a TV show, and I think we’ll see a similar annoyance with long waits in episodic writing. Serialized stories worked in the pulp era because they were released rapidly, so I believe that will be essential today as well.
Back to work!


16 Replies to “New science fiction series underway!”

  1. Very interesting, Kevin. I’ve tried to brainstorm some ways to put out short works to increase my “backlist.” It seems like a good idea for obvious reasons. I’d love to see this sort of thing take off and maybe you’ll be the pioneer!
    Have you put up an ebook yet, btw? I don’t recall one, but maybe I missed it.

    1. I figure maybe it will work, maybe it won’t – but it’ll be fun giving it a try, anyway. =)
      And no, no ebook up yet. I was hoping to hit mid-March for “By Darkness Revealed”, but I intentionally have not announced a release date yet because I may slide past that personal goal date… I’ve had some very, very nice editing work done on the book, and I want to take maximum advantage of that before releasing the book.
      “Do it right” should be a maxim every indie author keeps in mind. I’d rather do it right and be a week or two later than put out work that isn’t my best.
      But soon! So I’m working on both the release draft of Darkness, and fresh words with this new series.

  2. Very interesting, Kevin. I’ve tried to brainstorm some ways to put out short works to increase my “backlist.” It seems like a good idea for obvious reasons. I’d love to see this sort of thing take off and maybe you’ll be the pioneer!
    Have you put up an ebook yet, btw? I don’t recall one, but maybe I missed it.

    1. I figure maybe it will work, maybe it won’t – but it’ll be fun giving it a try, anyway. =)
      And no, no ebook up yet. I was hoping to hit mid-March for “By Darkness Revealed”, but I intentionally have not announced a release date yet because I may slide past that personal goal date… I’ve had some very, very nice editing work done on the book, and I want to take maximum advantage of that before releasing the book.

      “Do it right” should be a maxim every indie author keeps in mind. I’d rather do it right and be a week or two later than put out work that isn’t my best.

      But soon! So I’m working on both the release draft of Darkness, and fresh words with this new series.

  3. Kevin, good luck on the new project! How much do you plan to spend on the cover of each intallment? I have been thinking about some short ebooks, but I think I’m too fond of really sweet artwork on the cover, which so far costs me $500 each. If I were to do the frequent short pieces, I’d have to find an cover artist for much less.

    1. I’ll probably do my own covers, Derek, at least to start. I used to do computer art for games, so I’ve got decent experience doing photoshop artwork, and plan to put that to good use. Will take some practice to pick up the new skills I need, but I’m pretty confident I can get where I need to be.
      Down the road? Hey, if they’re popular, I could see spending some money on covers. But I’d need to sell something like 750 copies just to pay off a $250 cover – and anything less expensive than that, I think I can probably match or exceed with my own skills.

  4. Kevin, good luck on the new project! How much do you plan to spend on the cover of each intallment? I have been thinking about some short ebooks, but I think I’m too fond of really sweet artwork on the cover, which so far costs me $500 each. If I were to do the frequent short pieces, I’d have to find an cover artist for much less.

    1. I’ll probably do my own covers, Derek, at least to start. I used to do computer art for games, so I’ve got decent experience doing photoshop artwork, and plan to put that to good use. Will take some practice to pick up the new skills I need, but I’m pretty confident I can get where I need to be.
      Down the road? Hey, if they’re popular, I could see spending some money on covers. But I’d need to sell something like 750 copies just to pay off a $250 cover – and anything less expensive than that, I think I can probably match or exceed with my own skills.

  5. That sounds really cool! It would definitely fill a big gap in SF right now. I miss the idea of a real SF series in short novel form. Each story could stand on its own, yet have characters your readers will latch onto.

    1. Thanks Jay, that’s the goal. 😉
      I’ve got an interview lined up with one of the main characters. I’ll post the interview results here afterward.

  6. That sounds really cool! It would definitely fill a big gap in SF right now. I miss the idea of a real SF series in short novel form. Each story could stand on its own, yet have characters your readers will latch onto.

    1. Thanks Jay, that’s the goal. 😉
      I’ve got an interview lined up with one of the main characters. I’ll post the interview results here afterward.

  7. The novella length is a good idea I think. My plan is to break my first novel into 2 novella chunks of 20-30,000 words. The length feels right for an e-book and it allows me to move on to other projects or take side trips into other characters as I want.
    Plus, like you said, the speed that you can produce that kind of content is a plus on the e-market. Best of luck!

  8. The novella length is a good idea I think. My plan is to break my first novel into 2 novella chunks of 20-30,000 words. The length feels right for an e-book and it allows me to move on to other projects or take side trips into other characters as I want.
    Plus, like you said, the speed that you can produce that kind of content is a plus on the e-market. Best of luck!

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