Lock In, Locked In

Which is to say it is done. Exactly 76,000 words.

What next? I spend the next few days (although not Thursday, that’s Thanksgiving) combing through the text, tying off various loose ends, reconciling plot points, making obscure bit less of obscure, and punching up dialogue. I am also trying to decide whether to add a few more bits to it here and there. Indeed to read the whole thing through in one go to figure that out. Which is to say I don’t expect it to stay 76,000 words exactly. I expect it to creep upward slightly before I ship it off to my editor on December 2nd.

And then I get the rest of the year off! Whoo-hoo!

For those wondering where Lock In fits in terms of length of my books, it’s about the same length as Fuzzy Nation or Redshirts (with the codas. Without the codas it’s considerably shorter). The Human Division, for comparison, was my longest book at about 130,000 words. Yes, I know. All of those are novelettes compared to a George RR Martin book. Honestly, I think I would go insane trying to write a book that long.

I’ll talk more about this book at some point in the future, but for now I will say I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got here. This is in many ways a different kind of book for me, and I was curious if I was going to pull it off. I think I have. I hope you think the same when you see it next August.

(Also, for those who are hoping this means a full bore return to Whatever starting tomorrow, no. Please note I’m spending the next few days buffing and polishing. But I expect you’ll see me being positively garrulous in December.)

32 Comments on “Lock In, Locked In”

  1. You might go insane writing a Martin-esque epic, but I’m sure you’d finish the bloody thing.

    Congrats on the birth of your latest novel!

  2. I’m curious if you think readers are becoming more amenable to shorter length books; I know I find myself gravitating towards them these days (with notable exceptions). Shorter books, shorter video games, shorter movies, shorter shorts. Sign me up.

  3. Enjoy your books, just put “Mallet” on order. Thank you for the hours of entertainment.
    Is it too early to ask about “Human Division 2” ?

  4. On the other side of the hill, there are authors who would love to be able to compress their stories as succinctly as you do. I remember reading a comment in an interview with Peter F. Hamilton that Reality Dysfunction was twice as long before it went to the editor.

    Happy Turkey Day, John! Get good and stuffed…wow, that sounded better in my head.

  5. Eat some turkey. Eat some pie. Do the relaxing thing. Then add some bits. (Not giblets, though.) Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Congratulations, our Glorious Lord Host, may Your name be praisèd! Scalzi ftagn! Ghlag’ghee bâkun!

    In all seriousness, great job and thank you! I can’t wait to read it!

  7. Congratulations on finishing it! I enjoyed the sneak peak I got at your library. Now go relax for a day!

  8. December: take GRE. Christmas. Apply to grad school if GRE score doesn’t suck.

    January-June: ??? (I guess I could work on my own writing…)

    July: Skin Game comes out (thanks, Jim Butcher!)

    August: Lock In comes out (thanks, John!)

    Only 6 months of being entirely bereft!

  9. I find George Martin pretty much unreadable due to the length of his books.
    Even Neal Stephenson wrote better when he wrote shorter.


  10. I’m in favor of novels that are exactly long enough to tell the story the author wants to tell, and that the publisher contracted for.

    Congratulations, sir!

  11. “This is in many ways a different kind of book for me, and I was curious if I was going to pull it off.”

    That is one of the things I enjoy about your writing. You change up your approach frequently. I have always assumed that you do that partly to keep it fresh for you too.

  12. Hell to the no, Mr. Scalzi. I expect you to spend the next day or two recovering in (or from) a turkey-related coma. Then, maybe, spend a few days refining the novel. Happy Thanksgiving, and congratulations on finishing!

  13. Congratulations! Here’s to the new book! **clinking glasses**

    As for the GRRM comparison… well, at least we know that with your books most of the characters (if not all) will *still* be alive at the end… **eg**

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. Looking forward to the new novel. And another second and THANK YOU for the reasonable length. Everytime I read a hardcover novel that is thicker than an inch or so, I get frustrated that the author didn’t have the time, ability or interest to trim down to their best work. Their story would have been so much better had it been better focused. When there’s more to say/other characters to explore, I say write a sequel or even a short story. I used to wonder if some folks got paid by the word, their books just kept getting longer and more muddled.

  15. Eh, I like a good long SF/F novel myself. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into Words of Radiance in March…

  16. Do you know the details about the audiobook version? I have such a hard time with anyone other than @wilw reading them that I read the ebook version of the OMW books rather than listening to them.

  17. Virtual churros?

    Might make a good award show, especially if hosted by a virtual Lalan Councillor.

    Now, what would we award it -for- ?

  18. Now, for today’s Internet game:
    – George R. R. Martin writes “Old Man’s War”.
    – John Scalzi writes “A Game of Thrones”.