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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.)

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

32 replies on “Lock In, Locked In”

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.

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.

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!

“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.

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.

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