Talking with Grimlock about it made me realize I haven't updated about the progress of this in a while. I'm planning to get this SPed sometime in 2014, but not sure when yet. (I promise it's coming, though!) It'll depend upon when I finish my edits, get it out for beta reads, and find a suitable cover. I may DIY the latter, but if I can find a cover artist for this, that would make it so much easier.
I realize I haven't really told you guys much about this book, so I'll drop some stories of how this project came to be and some teasers aside from the snippets I've already posted thus far.
I started writing this months back in 2013 as a random prompt, around the time I was reading a New Adult dystopian novel called "The Registry." Those of you who remember my reactions to that book know I didn't like it very much, but it got gears in my head turning. I talked to a bunch of members on Goodreads about how there were so many dystopian novels that had female characters as subservient to male characters in that they were bought and sold for convenience through the society, and wondered aloud why people didn't write in the reverse - about a matriarchal society where men took on lesser roles and positions of power in the same fashion. We had a good discussion about it, and ultimately, I decided to put my feet down and hit the ground running on the prompt, see where it led.
It became something of a different beast the more I worked on it. First it started as a novella, then grew to a novel over 57,000 words. It's holding steady at about 58,240 right now (but I'm adding and taking elements of it out).
Here's what I can say about the project without going into too many spoiler details. It takes place in the year 2257, with a 17-year old female protagonist living within an isolated matriarchally driven society. The society's a cultural blend, but truly there are more female characters in this than male, and there are reasons for it that are in the nature of the society. Since she's 17, she's undergoing this typical coming of age ceremony that involves her choosing/buying a sponsor (yes, male) from lower tier society to bring into her family and assimilate to high society standards. Only something about this deal goes very wrong, and it means that she has to take a journey through each of the levels of her society to find answers, meeting a bunch of colorful characters on the way.
I've described it for some as Alice in Chromeland, or maybe a cyberpunkish Wizard of Oz, but the latter comparison's iffy. I'm more likely to sign off on Alice in Chromeland because Kysratian society has some subsections that you do not want to tangle with - for robots, biologically systemic corruptions or otherwise.
The tone of this novel is quite dark, sometimes to the point where I'm kind of scared that it might be too much for YA, but I'm recruiting buns of steel and just let people take it for what it offers. It's not so much overt content - crude language is crude, but that's about it. Not afraid of innuendo, though.
It deals with gender and sexuality among some of its prominent themes. I mentioned before one of my main characters (not the viewpoint character, but one of the major characters) is transsexual, M-F, and there are prominent parts of the storyline that deal with how her identity's perceived and the struggles she has with that. And there's reflections on masculinity and femininity and how that's taken in Kysratian society given its current state after a number of events. As I was telling Grimlock, technosexuality also comes into factoring too, but if I talk about that too much, it may spoil the story, so I'll say it's definitely in there, but I won't say how.
There's "brainy" stuff to be had in this book. If the society has a way to make data copies of the human mind and store that synaptic template as back up in cyberspace for the purposes of health, social, and psychological benefit, somebody somewhere is going to have a problem with it. Or more specific, someone's going to find a way to exploit it. Then people have to deal with how that exploit screws everything and everyone over - human and technological beings alike. I tried to make it light and progressive enough so it doesn't seem infodumpy, but I'm still having to comb back through the narrative and make sure it makes sense, especially for the target audience.
There are a lot of robots. Big ones, small ones, one's the size of your head (and likely to bop you in the head if you're not careful). Has a lot of wires too, mostly deadly. *winces*
Media influence is a big part of the work too - some of you may've seen the sample penned lyrics I made in conjunction with this story. Some of those lyrics may make the final cut of this novel, but I'm trying to stay away from what, for example, "Silent Echo - A Siren's Tale" did. But with the way entertainment media, social media, and technological advances have a place in this novel, it's significant to what the protagonist observes in each of the different levels of the society she lives within, no matter how wealthy or poor it might be. Rich are very rich in this novel, poor are very, very poor. There's very little between, but they all fall under this media driven empire. My protagonist happens to be wealthy, but not all that glitters is gold. Or chrome. O.O
That's about all I have for now. I have a feeling between now and the time I finish this, some elements may be more clear and I don't have to be stealth ninja keeping it under tabs, but that's kind of what I have in store for this. And maybe a bit more.