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Dear reader(s):

I’m only up into Chapter 10 posting Friends of the Sky, but I’m actually in the middle of the penultimate chapter in the writing process. I’m going to record here a few things I need to get to on rewrite.

The Road to Bluehorse almost wrote itself. It’s not that things didn’t change (for instance, they skipped Gliese 163 and went to Gliese 370 instead!) but that the basic double idea held and the plot was pretty water-tight. The idea, in case you don’t know, was to juxtapose a realistic sci fi exploration of how a planet-colonization mission would go, including new life forms and shooting and being shot at by aliens, with a workplace in which people in their 20s and early 30s, single and of various genders and gender preferences, dated and mated. In particular, Clay, my protagonist, dates Vera, then dates Natasha, and finally settles down in a long-term monogamous relationship with Rachel. Of course, by “date,” I mean “sleep together in a joined pair of tiny spaceships.”

The second novel, Homeward by Night, needed more work in rewrite, but again we juxtapose a space story (flying back to Earth, finding it devastated by invading aliens, then flying back to Bluehorse just in time to save its planetary ass) with the story of engagement and the first months of marriage, with their passions and tiffs and a key moral realization.

The third novel focuses on five couples. The hero fighter pilots are all paired up, and its hubby and wifey, or wifey and wifey, off to save the universe. It also has all those couples flying ten thousand years into the future, of course. But what do established couples do after their weddings? I don’t have anything on that… so far.

So, among other things, I need to:

  • Have some ups and downs in those marriages
  • Have them think about whether to have kids (Li & Timmis: yes, at some point; Tasha & Vera: nevah evah; Apple & Izawa: maybe?) and, ultimately, apply all this to my main couple, Rachel & Clay
  • Meanwhile, do more with comparative relationships among the Fyaa, the Primoids, the Ngugma
  • And nail down the climax, in which they actually do save, at least, the Orion Arm
  • And, oh yes, explain what happened to the France, lost in about Chapter Three of The Road to Bluehorse

I’m still very much in love with the idea, which to me, in leaving Dr. Einstein’s laws intact, makes space feel as big and lonely as it ought to feel. But I need a little more than that basic, expansive idea.

So I’m putting a lot of weight onto that rewrite. I have no plans to write anything new for quite a while (and when I do, it’ll involve Daisy, who was a joy to write about the first time).

If you’ve read much of Friends of the Sky, please do share with me any thoughts and suggestions. It seems more than 50% likely now that The Road to Bluehorse will see publication in the next year or two (yipes! yippee!), and that makes it likely that Homeward and F of S will, too, at some point.

So: thoughts?

Paul

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