Words in Progress

“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” – Guillaume Apollinaire

As I was getting my novella “To The Edges” (which actually had nothing to do with that Apollinaire quotation, but I just ran across it and it really fits, so now it does) ready to submit a few months ago, I decided that this winter was going to be…

**dramatic fanfare**

The Winter of the Novel!

Because the damned thing has pretty much stalled, and I really would like to finish it before I die. So, dramatic fanfare and bold italics were called for. My plan: from the day I submitted “To The Edges” (which turned out to be Hallowe’en) until the spring equinox, it was going to be all 2082 all the time.

And so it has. I started out by rereading all 169K+ words and was pleased to discover that quite a bit of it doesn’t suck. Some of it, of course, does. Like, why did I give a very minor character almost a page of description completely derailing the scene he’s introduced in? He’s a big guy who sewed his brother’s eye shut. Nobody cares about his business practices, M. And no, I don’t know why he sewed his brother’s eye shut yet. Still figuring that one out.

But quite a lot of these words are very salvageable. There’s a story in 2082 that I still like a lot and want to share with folks once it’s done. What I’m seriously pondering is whether a major subplot even needs to be there, though. It’s interesting in its own right and has ramifications in all my world-building, but is it the story?

“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story,” he said. “When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” – Stephen King

That major subplot is a good story, too, I think, but is it this one?

So, that’s part of what’s been going through my mind as I’ve moved on to editing, rewriting, moving things around, crossing shit out. Seriously wondering about structure, pacing, all that. Oh, and what happens next.

Last night, though, while R was rubbing my shoulders (because he’s neat like that), I had a bit of a revelation. I realized that my big problem is that those two stories should each be their own book. When that thought popped into my head, a little weight lifted off my shoulders and I could feel things sliding more comfortably into place. Two stories, same world. One won’t necessarily be the sequel of the other, although it kinda sorta might be. Crossover business will definitely happen.

Does that mean it’s going to be…

**more dramatic fanfare**

The Winter of Two Novels?

No. One at a time, please. That was part of things feeling right: I don’t have to do it all at once. I might even finish one, now that I cut the sucker in half. Here’s hoping, anyway. Especially since I still don’t know how the one I’m going to be working on ends.

I know the ending of other (new working title: The Tribe & The City), but the one I want to finish first (now called: The Travelers), I’m still not sure. I was hoping by getting myself immersed in the book again, I could start to figure out that part. And things are starting to bubble, so I’m hopeful.

Yeah, this is a pants kind of operation. Although I like Felicia Day’s idea.

“When I get stuck writing, I just put in, ‘Suddenly a Nuclear Bomb hits the town and all the characters die. THE END’ and go eat chocolate.”

There will be chocolate. And probably explosions. One of my main characters loves to blow stuff up, so that can’t be helped. Will there be nukes? Could be. One of the darker endings I’ve come up with has that happening, kind of a last man standing sort of ironic thing, but R thinks that’s too gloomy. And if this world is going to hang around for another book, that could be problematic. We’ll see. Wish me luck!

'Hardtack Umbrella'  underwater nuclear test -...

(Photo credit: The Official CTBTO Photostream)

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3 thoughts on “Words in Progress

  1. paperkingdoms

    Ooh. Good thinky things here. ::sends writing mojo your way::

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