I don’t know whether it’s the summer doldrums or editing burnout, but Gift is barely crawling along. There have been days when I’ve actively avoided it. But there’s lots of reading going on, since that’s always my way of taking a mental vacation.
I’m not even working at the story I’ve chosen for this year’s NaNoWriMo. Not “working” working, just doing the “in-head” creation of scenes or dialogue that often precedes really getting down to the nitty-gritty of putting a story together.
I’m also in one of those periods when a new idea keeps nudging at me and getting in the way. It’s also demanding something I’ve never spent much time on — world-building, and it promises to be a big, complex thing that’s going to take a huge amount of work.
The basic idea is that a modern form of medieval serfdom has developed. America has become a highly stratified society where economic and social differences are openly acknowledged. Baronies are large, mostly urban, enclaves. Population is divided pretty much into Independents, barons and other powerful people, baronial serfs, and the equivalent of today’s homeless and unemployable. What’s consuming me is how this came about, and how it actually looks in its daily operation.
Privileged Lives was my first book where the background to the story was important, and this one will go much deeper. The way I’m doing it is the exact opposite of my usual approach. My first inspiration is usually one or more persons and the challenges they meet. Once I know a fair amount about them, I start building as much of their world as the story needs. This time, it’s the world that’s important. I’m still pretty vague about the characters and how to develop the story, but I’m trusting it will all work out.
It’s going to be a tough job that will probably take a year or so to work out and write. I’m tentatively thinking it might be a candidate for next year’s NaNoWriMo. One good thing about it — there won’t be any question about the genre — dystopian science fiction.