That’s right. 30,000 words. The average novel going to New York checks in at 90K, so we’re at the one-third mark. So far, I’ve gotten my female lead in trouble for forgery, had her fall to Earth (OK, not Earth. But it looks like a lot like it, which is why humans and their new unwanted neighbors have decided to live there), dropped an tactical nuclear device on her, and introduced her to this world’s only functioning subway. Er… Well formerly functioning subway. Nuclear devices are not the sort of thing Duke Energy or ConEd wants to deal with as the cause of a power outage.
I also found out that a nuclear discharge is not covered under your auto, home, or renters insurance. That’s probably another blog post.
My male protag has had his attempt to runaway from home cut short by vomiting on a crew member’s boots on the freighter where he’s stowed away, been sent to work on a farm (something he likely had to look up on Wikipedia having never seen an actual farm that wasn’t a converted skyscraper), been unceremoniously drafted into the planet’s militia (“Here’s your weapon. You’ve seen these fired in movies. Right?”), been chased by aliens, and is now holed up in a remote mountain cabin with the farmer’s daughter. (Get your minds out of the gutter. Nothing happens. Well, almost nothing. They did go skinny dipping once.)
I’m more comfortable with the story now. Even though the ending is not clear, I know it will lead to a logical conclusion. At the moment, one set of protags, my male lead and the farmer’s daughter, have no allies beyond a voice on an analog data feed, what us primitives would call “radio,” telling them that the southernmost (and most isolated) city on the planet is the only one not bombed or occupied. My female lead has fallen in with an overzealous cadet, a kid who likes to blow things up, and girl who just watched her father get blown away by aliens.
And the aliens? Probably wouldn’t get a second look walking down the street of a less war-torn area, but… Why? One of the characters points out that at least three alien races humans have encountered could pass for other species of humans, if only some differences did not stick out – one looks more like chimpanzees, another rather vampire-like race has six fingers and toes, while yet another is simply taller.
Oh, and the grays? Those denizens of thousands of UFO and abduction stories? Well, turns out those stories are true, but the little buggers aren’t nearly as advanced as some of us have come to think they are. As humans have moved into interstellar space and run across them, they’ve become humanity’s favorite punching bags.
Am I giving away too much? Maybe. But I’m having fun, and this hasn’t been this much fun since the first draft of Northcoast Shakedown (done in 2002).