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Progress Report 2023 Week 51

Last week was the calm before the storm. This week, I changed jobs! Did ( or will) that impact my writing? Did I chose a new title for The Sword of Sirius Book 1? I’m coming up on the 2/3 point in the story, and if previous books are any indication, I’m about due for a curve ball — did one make me swing and miss? Let’s take a look at the week in numbers, then dive into these questions.

Progress Report 2023 Week 51 By the Numbers

Not a bad word count for the week! Not sure I’ll hit that again for a while, though!

I was between jobs last week, so I had time to do a little more writing. In a sense, then, a Real Life Work Event (RLWE) actually helped my output! But I started my new job today, and I want to give it the attention it deserves (and it does, in fact, deserve it; I’m lucky to have this one!). So, it’s likely my word count will drop for the next few weeks.

Titles for The Sword of Sirius

I’ve narrowed down the list of candidates for Book 1 titles to these:

  1. Accelerant: I like its brevity. However, there are already a few science fiction novels using that title. We can’t copyright titles, but I don’t want to use the same title as another book in or close to my genre.
  2. Incendiary Conditions: It evokes the right feeling, but it might be a little stuffy. Or maybe saying it feels pretentious might be more accurate. But it’s in the running.
  3. Reburn: This is one of those cases where I like the title, but it’s trying to be too clever. It makes the most sense after you’ve read the book, but only from a certain perspective.
  4. Flash Fire: Several other books have this title, but no science fiction books that I saw. It also evokes the right feeling, but without the pretense of number two.
  5. Red Flag Warning: Similar to Flash Fire. I’m leaning towards this one; it evokes the right feeling, only has a few matches already (none science fiction), and is a little more mysterious than number four.

In case you’re following along at home, here are the titles I plan for the other two books in the trilogy:

  • The Sword of Sirius Book 2: Collapse Zone
  • The Sword of Sirius Book 3: Firebreak

At least, that’s where I’m leaning right now. What do you think of those? Do any jump out as more interesting or exciting than the others? I’d love to hear your opinions!

Of Plots, Characters, and Curve Balls

I’m trying to find the right balance between meticulous plotting (to reduce rework) and freedom of character interaction (to give the most natural feel). I think I have the balance about right, at least based on my current skill level and writing habits. But this week, Ira Malhotra and Owen Payne took me in a direction I didn’t expect. And the plot went along with them.

This plot is making more trouble than previous plots!

I hate it when my high-level ideas run into a bone-jarring reality checks. I’m trying to write hard science fiction, or at least science fiction that’s consistent with physics. Spaceflight has to obey certain rules to be realistic. As I got closer to the what Plottr called Beat 12, which was right after Malhotra’s Midpoint and Payne’s Pinch 2, I realized that the vague idea I had was unrealistic. Turned out to be a bit less dramatic than I’d thought, too.

Then Malhotra decided to do something I didn’t expect. I should have expected it; as I considered what those changes said about her character and about the changes her actions imposed on the plot, they made perfect sense. Then Payne did something similar. His changes were not nearly as dramatic, but they were important, especially in context of what Malhotra did.

I’m not sure how it’s all going to shake out. I’m anxious over a career change; I’m anxious about not knowing how the plot’s re-threading itself. Taken together, they make quite an impact! Knowing that, though, gives me some of the tools I need to push through.

It’s interesting. I never really thought of anxiety management as a finite resource. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that the energy needed to manage anxiety is what’s finite. I probably just compressed eight or ten topics into those last two sentences, so I think I’ll stop while my meanings are over-compressed.

Progress against Last Week’s Goals

Here were my goals from last week:

  1. Complete Ira Malhotra’s Midpoint: Done!
  2. Complete Owen Payne’s Midpoint: Done!
  3. Complete Luisa Brunner’s Midpoint: Deferred; I substituted another Malhotra chapter instead
  4. Start Owen Payne’s Pinch 2: Done!
  5. Continue Brainstorming the new title of The Sword of Sirius Book 1: Done!

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2023 Week 51

Here’s what I hope to accomplish this week:

  1. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Beat 13, which is post Midpoint and pre-Pinch 2 (thought come to think of it, beta 13 might actually be her Pinch 2)
  2. Finish Luisa Brunner’s Midpoint
  3. Write another Malhotra chapter (I think; see #1)
  4. Finish Owen Payne’s Plot Turn 2
  5. Make a final decision on the title for The Sword of Sirius Book 1

What Do You Think?

When you choose a title, do you go by a gut feel? Do you have a more formal process that you follow? I’d love to know what you think! Feel free to let me know in the comments!