OK, everyone else is doing this, and I see the value, so I'll hop on the cargo ship (no bandwagons in space) and start doing these background notes, too.
What I'm reading: HOW TO LOSE AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL IN 10 DAYS by Susan Grant
What I'm writing: One final "spiff" of P2PC and beginning edits on Draxis
What I'm critiqueing: Recently reworked opening chapters of Arlene's original-concept SF, Dawn's incredibly cool Sci-Fi Rom/military and Alien Romance, Flick's dynamite erotica, and a new Sci-Fi Rom by Marisha I discovered on CC (I'm hooked).
Everything I read about "what to do " and "what editors are looking for" gets me more excited about P2PC. Some recent articles said (I'm paraphrasing):
It has to have a fabulous opening hook, but not lack plot substance after that. Oh, got that covered! The opening hook--a bid for freedom--is the tip of the iceberg. The plot is "ambitious" to say the least.
The characters have to grow. Another check. The three main MCs and some of the minor characters as well, learn from each other, from their pasts, and from what they are attempting to achieve. Sometimes you have to stretch your principles to accomplish goals that aren't just about what you want, but what is ultimately the right thing to do. Tough choices don't come without heartache, and true change isn't wrought without great sacrifice.
It has to have a fresh spin. I've never read another book with a character quite like my male MC (Sair) and my critiquers have all seconded that opinion. My goal was also to write a Sci-Fi that would appeal to a very broad romance audience by keeping the science within comfortable parameters--elements seen before but used in different ways--and to explore the aspect of technology impacting human interaction.
The characters can't be cliched. I think I've avoided most of the pitfalls of 'typical romance characters' and 'typical science ficion characters' as well as framing the story with humorous (at least from the female perspective) role-reversal.
If I see another hardened female character who'd rather shoot males than kiss them, I'll scream. While one of the female MCs is definitely of the tough-as-nails ilk, she also has a softer side, and is willing, eventually, to admit when she's wrong.
Time to get back to work. I'll keep you posted.