I've been commissioned to write a long - in this case 15,000 words - chapter on American science fiction, for a huge encyclopedic work on American literature more generally. This is quite a challenging task, and I'm still struggling with it ... which is unfortunate, since my deadline passed late last week.
Hopefully, I'll have it wrestled into shape in the next few days.
Part of the problem is that 15,000 words requires almost as much thought as a book - it requires that a lot of detail be given, with names to be named, works to be described, fairly involved choices of relative importance to be made. However, it doesn't allow description of anything in particular to be at the level of detail that's possible in an actual book. Another part of the problem lies in the difficulty of separating out American science fiction from other kinds, especially British (and, although "American" in this context mean "US", it's rather arbitrary factoring out the Canadian writers).
The biggest part of the challenge, though, is that the chapter is supposed to focus as much as possible on contemporary writing, as in just the last few years. That requires difficult judgments about what should be included, what should be discussed at length, etc. History has not yet made any of those judgments. Leave aside the fact that I've found some embarrassing gaps in my reading (which I will not reveal in public), to be plugged as best I can.
Anyway, you now know where I am at the moment - in my study, but trying desperately to complete this assignment.