Oops, completely forgot to post yesterday. Ah well.
Very pleased with myself - I've been getting a lot of reading done, and did some good fleshing out Tuesday night of the idea list I'm compiling. I don't think I'll have anything like a full plot outline by the end of the week (how long should a draft of a plot outline take?), but I should be able to get one started at least. Also wrote down some promising concrete short story ideas; can't have too many of them.
I'm sure that some people reading this (assuming anyone is; I figure I alienated the whole Mary/Andy/Sarah triangle with my scintillating impression of a misanthropic ass) are thinking, "Jeez, what a goober - just start writing chapters, already! Why all this planning, reading-up and dithering around?" My answer to this is that it's my first novel - much as I'd like to just plow in and see where this all takes me, my head doesn't work that way. If I don't have a set of tracks to drive this train down (or at least guardrails for the road), the trip just looms too large. All this meticulous planning is helping me eat the elephant a manageable bite at a time.
Also, I've decided to explore the history and technology that will eventually be in the larger work in some of the short stories. So, method to the madness.
And yes, there might be a little bit of trepidation showing as well. In the SF world, short stories are anything up to 7,500 words, while (salable) novel length is north of 60,000 words. An eight-to-one ratio there, and of course the formats are scoped differently as well: short stories should ideally focus on a single major character, theme or concept, and ideally a fairly discrete moment in time; novels should (again ideally) take several characters, ideas and/or themes through a longer period of time, developing and interacting along the way.
Anyhoo, gotta go.