“There’s always sadness in our lives. It’s that sad feeling that keeps us going.”

— Tsukino Usagi


Project Anjou: Progress Report Vol. 1 | The First 30,000 Words

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pimpin' is a lot easier than writing.

The first 30,000 words of the new novel have been put onto the page. And this might be the fastest I've ever hit that mark. I took a month to write the outline after ruminating over the story, its themes and general plot over a year. I don't think I'm going to hit any major walls, but this is going to be a challenging story to compose. 


For comparison, 30,000 words adds up to about 100 pages. The novel will likely end up somewhere around 80,000 words, which is about the same length as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.


I'm learning more and more about the protagonist Anjou Ishikawa as well as myself, and here are a few noteworthy things about the WIP.


Writing Is Lonely As F***

As if we didn't know this already, but getting back into a new project at the first draft stage is challenging because I actually can't say too much about it. I'm spilling words onto the page without much care for flow or elegance. Stream of consciousness is important for me when putting the first draft together. However, my thoughts and prose are incomplete. This means I can't share anything yet, so I don't know how much this book sucks or not yet. 


I won't know what changes I need to make until I run through revisions after I complete the first draft. Which means even when I finish, I still won't be able to share it. Not even with my editor. 


This means that I'm spending a lot of time writing at home alone in the back room of my apartment.


Vaporwave Is Cool & Sound Is Everything

I've been listening to a lot of vaporwave, synth pop, downtempo hip hop instrumentals, and lo-fi. It's one of the primary fibers of the tone behind Project Anjou. I've got synesthesia, so music is integral to how I interpret and understand things. 


Live footage from inside my head.


Sound is also one of the primary themes behind Project Anjou, even more than The Recital. Not just music, but our voices. I've done some research on vocal vibrations and how the sounds we convey affect our brains, and I would like to learn and write more about the human senses and how they serve as metaphors for how we interpret the world around us.


I also am seriously dyslexic, but we'll get to that in a later post.


Anjou Ishikawa Is A Boss Ass Bitch

One of the things about Anjou is that she is unabashedly vulgar and she is unashamed of her boy craziness. She's comfortable with how she speaks and with her sexuality. I'm not writing it for shock value, though. Women should be proud of all that they are and should never feel they have to behave modestly in order not to be judged. I could write a few thousand more words on this, but to sum it up, Anjou is a boss: she's intelligent, she's fierce, she's talented, and she uses her sexuality as empowerment. And it's time that we see this kind of strong female lead in an a novel that has science fiction themes. 


Ghost in the Shell was a big inspiration while writing this month. 


This Is Not Young Adult Fiction, But...

Project Anjou borrows elements from young adult fiction, but it is not true YA Lit. Sure, let your 14-year-old daughter read it, if you'd let her read How To Build A Girl or watch Blue is the Warmest ColorProject Anjou is gritty, and I don't care if I upset parents with it. Because this is how real teenagers are--the ones today and even us when we were growing up.  


This novel is also not entirely science fiction. Or fantasy. Or urban fiction. Nor is it entirely a LitRPG. But it borrows from all those genres to make one convoluted digital urban nouvelle vague wayward super-fiction saga.


Oh yeah. Project Anjou is going to be a series. I forgot to mention that. 

Blue is the Warmest Color was also a big inspiration with writing, to give you an idea of the spectrum contrast.

So who's your favorite female character or writer in science fiction? Tell us in the comments!


And for more on Project Anjou, synesthesia, and women in science fiction, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter! 




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Kyle V. Hiller is a freelance editor, published author. To inquire about his editing services, visit the services page. To read his work, check out The Recital and Project Anjou If you're just hanging out, subscribe to his newsletter below, where you'll get posts like this delivered straight to your inbox! Stalk Kyle on Twitter and Instagram, too.

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