Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sailing Venus: Progress is as progress does

After several nights of consistent word-making, last night was the proverbial problem child. After two hours, I'd only managed 250 words. That amounts to a single page. I could take solace in the fact that they were quality words, except for the fact that they are not.

This isn't terribly unusual for writers to experience. Sometimes the words simply refuse to flow. In my experience, this is often a direct consequence of the story not working. And, unfortunately, that's the case this time as well. Sometimes it's the subconscious trying to clue the active writer in, but at the moment both my conscious and subconscious are in perfect sync. I know this chapter has problems. Very specific problems. Problems I haven't quite figured out how to reconcile.

Follow: In the current chapter (Chapter 12 if you're keeping score at home) certain things have to happen for the plot to progress as it needs to. Like Chapter 11, this is a slower chapter that provides answers to long-standing questions whilst presenting new issues to be dealt with. Essentially, I'm positioning the chess pieces to launch into the final act. Going in, I've long known that A had to happen, which directly leads to B. But in the course of writing, I realized that C was sitting there, off to the side, waiting for me to notice. C is a significant character/plot issue that is glaringly obvious once you realize it's there, and can't be ignored without undermining the rest of the story. So here's the thing, the character interactions involved with A can just as naturally lead to C. But once they're at C, there is no natural route (outside of Author Intervention) that would lead them to B as well. And likewise, there is no natural path from B to C. Prodding my characters to bring the focus around to one or the other is meeting with lots of resistance. I know I'll figure it out eventually, but at this point I don't want resistance. I don't want eventually. I want golden prose gushing forth like Niagra Falls.

World Fantasy begins in 21 days. At the moment, I'm at the cusp of 50,000 words, a significant psychological milestone if nothing else. It is possible that I'll hit the 60,000 word mark by World Fantasy, far short of the completed novel I'd hoped to have, but effectively 2/3 complete. But these darn problem spots need to stop making nuisances of themselves for that to happen.

Pissing and moaning aside, progress is progress, even if it's a mere 250 words. Here are a few lines from last night. Tensions are rising amongst the various characters at this point, and tempers start to fray. Suffice to say, Erica frays back.

"Is it just me?" Paol said. "Doesn't anyone else see how insane this is?"

"Yes, Paol, I agree that our current situation is quite madness-inducing," Adina said. "Since you're so good at pointing out our failings, what would you suggest?"

"We need to stop wasting time and fix the transmitter," he said. "That dog. Take it apart and use its transmitter instead."

"No!" Erica shouted, tensing up.

"Connex is a low-power, short range transmitter," Adina said. "The amount of power necessary to reach the comm sats would burn it out in an instant. I'm not even sure if the sats can detect connex frequencies."

"That's a chance I'm willing to take," Paol said.

"You lay one finger on Sigfried," Erica growled, "you lose that finger."
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