2009 Review, 2010 Preview

2010 is close enough now that I can see it from here — and I’ve wrapped up nearly everything I needed to do in 2009 — so now is a good time to do a quick retrospective on the last year in a professional sense and talk a little about what I see ahead in 2010.

First, 2009. It was an interesting year. Some of the things I liked:

  • Working on Stargate: Universe as its Creative Consultant and helping to build a TV show from the ground up;
  • Winning the Best Related Book Hugo for Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, and having Zoe’s Tale and METAtropolis nominated for their own awards;
  • Writing The God Engines, which was something very different for me;
  • Helping Strange Horizons meet its fundraising goals for the year.

What I didn’t like: Basically that a not insignificant amount of my time was wasted this year by people who are not me, which is something I don’t appreciate. It’s bad enough when I waste my own time, but at least that’s on me, and it’s my time to waste. Other people wasting my time, on the other hand, just pisses me off. I could go on, but it’s best to leave it at that.

One side effect of this wasted time, however, is that it’s put a divot in my novel production schedule. The initial work on that divot, to be sure, was done by me when I pulled The High Castle out of the production schedule at the end of last year. But there are other factors involved, and regardless of how I choose to portion out the responsibility for the divot, the fact is there was no new novel in 2009 (The God Engines is a novella), and currently there’s no firm timeframe for a 2010 novel release. As someone who is currently making a living writing novels, that’s not a positive thing.

Which brings me to my plans for 2010:

1. Writing novels;

2. Aaaaand that’s pretty much what I got.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate; I have other plans as well, which I can’t tell you about at the moment if only because they’re in an embryonic stage, so there’s no point going into detail about them, and they might not pan out in any event. Writing novels, on the other hand, is something I am entirely in control of (Step one: Put ass in chair; Step two: Write until said ass is sore; Step three: Repeat steps one and two for 100,000 words) and so it’s what I plan to do.

Whether this means there’s a new novel published in 2010 is not really up to me; that’s a production schedule issue. But it does mean there will be new novels written in 2010. That much I can guarantee.

As for what of mine will be published in 2010, here’s what we have:

  • Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: The Tor trade paperback edition, which is out next week (which is to say that it may already be in your bookstores).
  • METAtropolis: The trade hardcover edition (i.e., not limited) from Tor, which is scheduled for June 8.

As for anything else relating to me and 2010 — well, we’ll have to get there and see. I’m looking forward to the new year, however. I suspect 2010 will be a better year all around. At the very least, I hope it is.

32 Comments on “2009 Review, 2010 Preview”

  1. Just publish as much as you can. We are going to buy everything, you know it! Just put some pictures of the cats in the last page! :P

  2. Happy to hear you talk about novels again. I’ve enjoyed Stargate Universe so far, and I’m looking forward to reading “The God Engines” and “METAtropolis”, but I’ve been jonesing for some longer-length Scalzi. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on “The High Castle” making an appearance sometime in the next few years (Mine is probably a minority opinion, but I think “Android’s Dream” is my favorite of yours thus far, which is saying something).

  3. I’m glad to hear that my deep disppointment in the initial delay of “The High Castle” may be at an end soon. For the rest, well hopefully my copy of the God Engines will be here soon. I truly hope 2010 is productive for you in every sense.

  4. Here’s to an amazing 2010. I can’t wait to get The God Engines. Loved the glimpse we got at WorldCon.

  5. “Other people wasting my time, on the other hand, just pisses me off.”
    Let them know you are getting pissed off. Even better, act pissed when you are just getting annoyed. Ask yourself, what would Krissy do? Then go get the bat.
    Now get back to work.

  6. Why do you prefer writing novels to novellas? You have said before that when writing a story you don’t know how its going to go until you get there. How do you determine if its going to be a novel or novella when you start writing?

    These are dumb question, but since I am not a writer I am curious about the inner workings of an author that I enjoy. Thanks.

  7. I prefer not to think of time as something that can be wasted. Thoughts like that would make you feel bad about the moments when you have to wait, like in the dentist’s office or in a queue at a store. You’d start feeling bad about your wasted time which you really can’t help and that could really spoil your mood.
    Ever since I’ve stopped being bothered by “wasted time”, stopped feeling bad about things I can’t change anymore, I can get a lot more done now.

  8. As someone who is currently making a living writing novels, that’s not a positive thing.

    Certainly not, but believe me if you’d put a sub-par The High Castle out there that would have been even worse. There’s not a lot of writers out there I feel confident in saying “try anything, because even if it’s not your cup of tea you won’t feel like you’ve wasted time you can never get back”, but you’re one of them.

  9. Mr. Scalzi,

    I and my cadre of fellow sci-fi nerds sincerely hope that the “Project I Can’t Tell You About Yet” will become the “Project I Am Now Telling You About” sometime in 2010.

    Your Fan,

  10. Hmm… the phrase, “there will be new novels written in 2010” is suspiciously plural…

    …and about “wasted time”, don’t you think that it’s all grist for the mill? That’s what I tell myself, anyways…

  11. Nathree:

    “I prefer not to think of time as something that can be wasted.”

    You can prefer that, but my own practical experience tells me otherwise. Bear in mind I’m not talking about time in a dentist’s chair here.


    Re: Grist for the mill: No, it’s just awareness that inefficiencies were brought into my work life by people other than me. That’s not really useful, it’s just annoying. My mill doesn’t really need any more grist in any event; my mill simply needs to get to work.

  12. I guess it’s worth getting worked up when people keep you waiting with thing they promised to do for you. Maybe then they won’t do it again.

    Still, You know what happened. You can probably figure out a way to not let it happen again. That’s all that matters.

  13. You could pull an Orson Scott Card and write several novels that tell the same story from different perspectives.

  14. Genre question: Will Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded be shelved in science fiction with your other books or in a non-fiction category?

  15. Thanks for the update, John. It’s always interesting to see what you’re planning for the new year. If you make next year half as productive as 2009, you should be in fine shape.

  16. B. Durbin:

    I do think the plan is to put Hate Mail in the science fiction shelves (as that’s where people know to find me), but it will depend from retailer to retailer.

  17. Mr. Scalzi, you’re going to continue as creative consultant for Universe in its second season, correct? Will your responsibilities remain the same? Any chance of writing a script?

  18. That “ass in chair” stuff is way more important than most people give it credit for. Seems like writing should either be harder or easier, I’m not sure which, exactly: but it’s just that, “ass in chair,” writing.

    Best of luck to you in 2010 in getting lots of writing done. You strike me as a very disciplined person, so if you resolve it, you’re halfway there.

  19. William:

    Don’t know yet; they’re still in the process of figuring out the new season and it’s also the holidays. I expect I’ll know one way or another in January. I’m not to worried about it in any event.

  20. I don’t know if this is useful feedback but I find that I enjoy your humorous novels more than the ones that may contain humor but are not intended to be humorous. While I’m sure there are more things you can write (and many people would want to see) in the OMW universe, I’d like to see some more in the Android’s Dream Universe (Yes, I’ll be checking out “Judge Sn goes Golfing”. The only thing I think I’d like more about these novels is if you refrained from smell gags. But then, that might be too much to ask.

  21. For purely selfish reasons, I’m glad to hear of your ass planting scheme.
    I’ll not begrudge you a little R&R time between writing sessions, but don’t overdo it….

  22. Well, I haven’t caught up with the complete Scalzi oeuvre yet (eesh that’s a tough one to spell)–still gotta get through The Last Colony, Zoe’s Tale, and The Android’s Dream (and, uh, “You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Bring Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop.” Any chance of a trade paper release on that one?) So no worries. I shall continue to leisurely work my way through your work.

    I also have to keep pushing ahead on my own novel (now into draft 2.5, and at 117,000 words, a bit too long.)

  23. Weren’t you going to get an assistant a while back? It might help if you had someone to run interference on all the “get out of your chair events” that pop up in day to day life.

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