Oh, Hello, February

Sugar and Spice, napping on the Chaise Longue

Clearly Sugar and Spice know how to greet a snowy new month.

Also, as an FYI, I have a novel-writing goal of at least three thousand words a day, every day, for February, so don’t expect huuuuuge things from me here this month. Mostly cat pictures and music recommendations, with an occasional smattering of Five Things pieces and maybe one or two full-size pieces when we get around to impeachment — but then again, maybe not! I’m also trying to watch less news this month because my head needs to be in space, not in Congress. Also, bluntly, now that we have a new president who is not a walking chaos engine, I don’t feel like I have to obsessively refresh the news. It’s nice!

Incidentally, if you’re doing the math in your head and going, hey, if you’re doing three thousand words a day every day for February, that’s kinda a whole novel, you’re correct — I’m doing a full rewrite of what I have so far. Why? Because while what I wrote previously is meh, as a piece of storytelling craft. I’ve been over a bit of why previous — but to recap: sickness, pandemic, insurrection, general inability to focus in 2020 because holy shit, look at the world — but also in a larger sense the why is immaterial. The fact is I’m not going to put out something I think is not up to snuff and be all sorry, this is my insurrection novel. You deserve better! Also, you know. I deserve better, too. So: Rewrite from the ground up.

(The good news for me is that the story doesn’t need to be redone. The story is solid, and exciting, and has aliens and lasers and explosions. Now I’m gonna make the writing keep pace with the story.)

The good news for you is that Whatever is no longer only a one-Scalzi shop: Athena is here and she’s going to writing a bunch of stuff this month. And we have Big Idea posts, etc. You won’t run out of things to read, promise.

— JS

14 Comments on “Oh, Hello, February”

  1. John, speaking of music recommendations, have you heard Kelly Clarkson’s cover of Yazoo’s “Only You?”

  2. Now you can get an appreciation for what us mere mortals have to do on a second draft!

    (Re: your previous writings on writing that you usually revise as you go if you revise at all.)

  3. Lasers and aliens? Are your protagonists Jewish?

    (Yeah, having the story is key for me, as well….I can truck along if I KNOW what I’m doing and I’m crafting everything together).

  4. Look forward to the as always awesome writing! Started re reading The Human Wars – and discovering new possibilities there! Will miss your rants but like you said Athena is keeping a good pace. My kids loved Wolfwalkers just as you did and Hated WW84 likewise!! Stay safe

  5. Explosions? Hell yes! Rewrite the crap out of that. And how about some exploding lasers! The good gals, or guys, just as the bad guys start ti shoot them one of their lasers explode.

  6. This oddly has been sitting in my head most of yesterday, and I have a question which can be answered later or not at all. Do you think this is an example of “less than satisfying year” = “less than satisfying novel” (the old “you are what you consume”)? Or is this a leveling up (that what you’ve already written would have been serviceable for a Scalzi of 2007, but not up to what you/editor/audience would expect from a Scalzi of 2021)?

  7. Some day when this novel is out in the world, I hope you’ll share with us what sort of rewrite changes you’re making. Is this a story that needed to be told from a different character’s viewpoint? Are you reversing it chronologically, Memento-style? Did you accidentally write a musical-comedy script instead of a novel, and now you’re fixing that?