Now checking my journal I see that is was at the end of July when I took a 20,000 word plot thread, extracted from The Warship, and decided to turn it into a short story or perhaps something longer. I mucked about with it for a bit then, cutting away about half of it, and then turning it into something very different. I changed it from third person to first person and ran with it, little concerned about endings, structure or putting together a coherent plot. I would just stay with my protagonist and see where he went.
Inevitably, the human mind always searching for patterns and the author mind always searching for a story, I began to reveal both. Connections began to appear, whether unconsciously created or exposed by chance and I began to impose coherence. My protagonist – a clone sold by some nasty types to the prador for coring and thralling – was called Jack Four. The rest of the clones were Jacks, and Jills, but their story was shorter and not much fun for them. Jack Four then became the working title of something that just kept on growing.
I’ve stated before that my aim when writing a first draft is to write 2,000 words a day five days a week. But for odd days out and one or two rest days I’ve pretty much stuck to that. There’s no doubt now that Jack Four is to be a book since, as of today, it is at 114,000 words (my books range from 125 to 175,000). I seem to be back to the form I had when I wrote the Transformation trilogy.
Jack Four has no enhancements beyond knowledge, loading to his mind from quantum storage crystals in the genetic material from which he was fashioned. He’s human and vulnerable and has a fight on his hands to survive, initially in the prador king’s ship and then elsewhere. Of course I can’t say too much about that ‘elsewhere’, but suffice to say that alien monsters in his future, along with the nasty types who sold him, the prador that bought him, and the question of who he was, in the genetic sense, and who he will become.