Projects and Drafts, August 2020

I figured it might be a good idea to start doing a monthly check-in on what’s currently in progress, since things seem to change all the bloody time. Good news this month, though: I have one draft very near completion and another about two-thirds of the way there, so – after finishing those up and spending some time on rewrites and edits – I will be looking for beta readers.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a beta reader is someone who kind of test-drives an unreleased work. You’d get to read stuff before anyone else, and in return you’d give some feedback about what you thought of it and how it might be improved before publication. So if you’re interested, feel free to raise your hand now; I’ll put the call out again when things are actually ready to be shared.

So what are those things?

Chronicles from the World of Guilt, the collection of short stories set within a post-apocalyptic dark fantasy world, is very near completion. There are about twenty-five pieces, all examining some aspect of, tale from, or event within the world.

It begins as our own world, but things are quickly derailed when a colossal whale-like creature appears and begins flying around the planet. In its shadow, things are warped, or creatures appear, or people find themselves corrupted. The collection spans thousands of years from the time of the creature’s appearance, so by the later tales the world has become much less like the one we live in now.

(The featured image for this post, by the way, is a snippet of a rough mock-up I made for what the cover of this book might look like. Nothing fixed as yet, but I quite like the image concept, so we’ll see!)

f.utility (or, Humanism for Machines) is a novella (somewhere between a short story and a novel) about a company doing their best to develop an ‘optimised’ society. A new employee tasked to test their super-AI and make sure it’s functioning correctly finds that defining the best kind of life for humans is a tricky prospect even for a hyperintelligent computer; a few simulated scenarios explore different philosophies on what it might mean to make a perfect society.

This one’s probably a bit over half-done. I have the whole structure laid out and pretty much the entirety of the framing sections done (emails and text chats between the people who work for the company), so now I just need to write those all-important vignettes. I know what each of them is going to explore, so just gotta get them done.

So those are the two things I’ll be needing readers for in the pretty near future!

On other projects… well. Everything I named in this post a while back is still technically in-progress, albeit most of it hasn’t progressed beyond where it was back then. But it’s all still happening, I’m almost convinced of that!

Volume One of Tales from the Year Between is out veeery very shortly. Look – a physical copy as held by the editor-in-chief! I’m thrilled to have been a part of this, and extremely excited that this ridiculous group of people is going to continue working together. We’ll see what happens, but it’s bound to be ludicrous and great. Pre-order a digital copy on Amazon or Smashwords now! (Or wait for the physical edition, because the maps are gorgeous.)

I also mentioned another anthology project, and I’m pretty sure I’m now allowed to talk about that because they’ve started revealing the authors over on Twitter, so I’m very happy to be able to say that a piece of mine is going to be included in Project Nightdrive: a collection of wholesome cyberpunk stories. ‘Wholesome cyberpunk’ means neon futurescape worlds, but instead of being typically bleak there’s a focus on hope. Stories about love finding a way to blossom, people making little pockets of happiness, that sort of thing. That’ll be out some time in 2020, I think!

And then there’s the other stuff. Here’s the thing: the internet is a very fun place to indulge in whims. I mean, my adventures so far have basically been that I decided in April to publish a book (having really done nothing else writerish of note to that point), did that, and then just kind of hung around in writing spaces on Twitter and stuff and said yes to a few ideas that people were just tossing around but that sounded fun. That’s got me in two anthologies so far, one of which I think I’m pretty much committed to now being involved with for the rest of my life, and it’s also sparked two other collaborative projects that are currently in the planning stages but are potentially really awesome.

I don’t think either of those will come to any sort of fruition this year, but I figure if I keep doing monthly updates like this one then you’ll know about it when things are sufficiently happening to be noteworthy, and I’ll feel more accountable to get stuff done!

So the plan for August basically looks like this:

  1. Finish the first draft of Chronicles from the World of Guilt.
  2. Finish the first draft of f.utility.
  3. Get started on rewriting/redrafting/editing both of the above.
  4. On the side, keep planning Currently Secret Other Projects.

Hopefully by the time the next one of these monthly updates rolls around, I might have a better idea of when I’ll need readers to help with feedback! Like I said, though, feel free to register your interest now. It’s always appreciated.

And speaking of things that are always appreciated: if you’ve not read Each Little Universe yet, why not? Go buy it!

If you have read ELU and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads. Every single one means an awful lot to me, so a huge thank you to everyone who’s already done so.

And I think that’s that for now!

Take care of yourselves, and if you feel a whim to do something bizarre and creative, just do it.

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Published by Chris Durston

Writer of stuff. Y'know. Words and that.

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