I know because I just adapted the 2,000 words short story of 'what happened to the hunted-to-exhaustion Janey and Timmy' (you'll remember tham from the tail end of Liberator FP#2, if you read it) for use as a structural device throughout the novel.
It's done already. It's in the can. Finito.
I decided to split this 2,000 word Oral History of Timmy Brecke into chapter starts, each paragraph of this 'short story' precedes the action of each chapter of the yet-to-be-written novel. I sensed that (as it was 2,000 words) it would be nice if it came to about TWENTY CHAPTER beginnings, hundred words a-piece.
And it did. Exactly twenty paragraphs. 20 chapters.
I was very surprised by that, and it felt like 'some kind of sign'. That means I can write Reaper in chunks of 4,000 words giving me a novel total for FP#3 of anywhere around the 80,000 words mark. We all know my 'guesstimations' aren't always reliable and we all know that whimsy, inspiration and good old randomness can insinutate its way into my novel writing process but there it is. Day of the Reaper is officialy GO, GO, GO and there's lots to say about 'why Free Planet took four years' to really gets its arse in gear. Why the world nearly had to end, twice. And why you'll shit your pants when you see who was behind what. There really were so many counter/parallel FPS simulators going at the same time, and the PPI or PATENT PROTECTION INITIATIVE was very well funded by T.H.E.Y. i.e. You The People, so no fucking surprise there then.
We'll find out what happened to Timmy and Janey, we'll see if this near-ruined homeworld eventually became a Free Planet.
FOUR MONTHS LATER UPDATE: as the War World series and the Free Planet series have organically intertwined in the last year or so, Reaper (free planet #3) will be probably remain on hold until some narrative issues in Kumiko (war world #3) have been ironed out. Reaper is due to be finished, then, some time AFTER Kumiko has finished.
Or at least until the threads and connections between the parallel projects have been finalised, not necessarily 'set in stone'. Oh, set in stone, Mike, I like that. SET IN STONE.