Friday, October 28, 2005

Back to the Spherical Tomi peddling

I'll do a post today covering some of the history and metadata surrounding the Spherical Tomi story, and how it came to be.

In 1999/2000, I started to write a short deep-space action yarn about a samurai named Nez, who launched against an enemy ship inside of remotely controlled clone bodies. The short story, "Immersion of the Samurai" sprawled out to be 38,000 words. While I like the images, the characters, and the overall story, the prose is largely atrocious; obviously the output of a beginner. "Immersion" is unpublishable in its current form. I think I could make the story work, but the entire thing would have to be entirely rewritten, sparing not a single page.
But as I was developing the tale and creating it from one page to the next, I found myself surprised at just how much I was getting into Nez's love interest: Tomi, the head Tokugawan combat programmer. It wasn't long before I acknowledged that "Immersion of the Samurai" was not just about Nez, but about Nez and Tomi, their love, and their roles in the Greatship battle between Shogun Ryogi's Musashi and President William the Black's Hades IV.

A few years and quite a few unrelated short stories later (2002), while still green enough to think IotS salvageable, I set to work on the sequel: "Spherical Tomi". I'd intended this to be a 5,000-10,000 word short story, depicting Tomi hiding out in an itai on a satellite after Nez's death and the destruction of the Hades IV, and finding herself again in the midst of the Ryogi vs. William Sterling conflict. I knew that she was a rich character, and that more of her story needed to be told, more of her soul needed to be revealed. Once again though, the scope of the story would not be contained in a small package, and the story grew to almost 50K words. The first draft finished around the end of 2002. There are almost no markets for a story of this length (thanks you, CGP!!), so I left the manuscript in a dusty corner of my Hard Drive and began to tackle other projects, only occasionally opening ST to look around and add a fix here or there where needed. While I wouldn't have a truly acceptable draft until summer of 2005, in my opinion, I knew by then that "Immersion" was not up-to-par, but that "Spherical Tomi" had some potential. So I tacked on the Prologue (which is now possibly my favorite part of the book) to make ST stand independent of its prequel, and went ahead with ST as its own stand-alone book. I did most of the heavy editing in the months leading up to release, sieving out the clunky sentences and awful dialogue, until I felt like the release version was honed and toned and slick.
ST is half the length of most typical novels - and has an open ending; I'd considered just finishing it and submitting the full-length mss. around - but I felt that for an unknown author like me, this was the best strategy. Release it at 46,000 words as an e-book. Get my name and Tomi's name out there. . .
And so far, so good! The feedback has all been positive, and with huge doses of help from my Dragon Page appearances and Duel of the Fates segments, we're spreading the word.

Thanks to everyone (there are a lot of you!) who's helped to make that possible, by reading, discussing, and even poking fun at me and my book. I'm glad to have made your acquaintances, your friendships, and thrilled to have shared ideas and stories with you. And thanks for reading this long blog post.


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