I began the first version of Tech Xashi’s tale as a short story of that name in Aug 2011 according to the file properties. I modified it in Jun 2012. I cringe to remember sharing it as a short story at some point during that time. My writing was awful, really awful. But the idea was sound, and the story as I ended it begged to be finished.
In Jun 2016, I copied that original short story into a new file and added the next events, imagined back in 2012. I reworked the character dynamics completely, removed most of the smut, and tried to write a killer first chapter, the one still beating me up.
In 2016 and 2017, I worked on other stories at the same time, an incredibly long and detailed first-person novel with over a dozen important characters and a main character named Phoebe which will hide in a closet till I die. I never cried so much as I cried writing that, but I eventually saw it wouldn’t end and wouldn’t work. From that background world, I eked out The Farmer’s Daughter (probably not worth following that link) and decided to start posting it as a serial.
I was not going to get better if I continued to wallow in my stories and worlds without taking a critical look at what I was writing. Sharing my work helped me do that.
I roughed in other novels in the Tech Xashi universe, Polm, I’d created. Sensitive: The Abduction of Jubilee Wistler came from that. I had the most fun writing Sensitive. She was easy because I just copied my dopey personality onto Jubilee. Naturally, I can’t do that more than once!
Polm is well-developed enough now that any number of stories can be written from it, and I have three other Polm novel(la)s tentatively titled Forever Blue, Biolectrically Gifted, and Rhapsody Streets. While Rhapsody Streets was/is nearly ready to reveal, Tech Xashi was still not finished. I had no ending.
I had a beginning and middle of 40k words. I wrote another approximately 50k, seeking the end. Like the Phoebe saga, the adventures just went on and on without ever wrapping up. I shoved those files into a scraps folder on my computer and tried again. Going another direction, I wrote another 50k or so. Still crap.
Last night, just about to give up, I pulled out a collection of Heinlein and browsed endings. Just last paragraphs. Taking one of his better stories, I copied his ending, substituting my characters and story, and it clicked. From those fifty words, I had it! I spent the rest of the night sketching the final ten chapters of the book in a spreadsheet. Excerpts from the 100k I wrote while flailing have to be cut, rearranged, added to substantially, and smoothed into a single narrative, but I have the idea!
I’m now anticipating a complete draft with an ending before the close of 2017 and expect the novel to measure about 60k words. Then more editing… If I finish by 2018, I’ll consider that a victory.
Seven years in the making. Tech Xashi, I can’t wait until you no longer keep me awake at night.