Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stuck In a loop.


So November passed, I started Nanowrimo, made it 10 days and 10 thousand worlds before other things took my attention off the project. This project suffered from a lack of a plan, the story was borrowed from a short I never made an progress on.  The details needed to build it up to Nano's 50,000 words did not add much.   This however did get me thinking about the other novel I had been working on.  In there I added a few more words and realized why the project had been so hard to pick back up. 

I have gotten my self good and stuck. The core of the story is the failure of a deep space mission, inspired by both Scott's and Shackleton's expeditions to the south pole. Things going wrong and scraps being salvaged is par for the course.   As I circled what has been since the story's first version a pivotal moment I realized I was doing it again and again.  A similar scene had been played out several times during the various chapters that preceded what I was trying to write, it was tiring.  

Now being a disaster story, where most people will live, and living will  involve improvising some scenes of the mechanics of the universe and the ship are needed. There is value in knowing first what they had and how little of it they keep, but too much time has been spent on those mechanics. The interludes are too small, and fail to build the characters into people I either want saved, or will be missed if I kill them off.  It is a first draft of something far larger than I have ever worked on before so flaws are expected, massive flaws should be considered normal.  Some of the flaws are simple I started too close to the middle, I did not know who was who before I started throwing near death experiences at them.  I am unsure as to the view point, I have drifted in and out of the first person, and currently have only one character's view point.  There is a real reason why the interludes between disasters are lacking, they are the hard part. 

In writing about a stranded starship crew I am facing my experiences in the North.  Perhaps I have not spent mucht time there, the bulk of two and a half years, mostly in one space.  A world that was ripe with adventure when I first got there but became tiring toil quickly.  When I left the last time long after having lost the heart to work so far from home for so long I was angry and despondent.  It was a world I did not fit it, beautiful but I never made an inside of myself, I seldom do.   It was out there I nearly blew a gasket trying to change a tire on a pickup on the side of an ice road.  It was a different patch of ice that swallowed a company truck and took one of its passengers with it.  A man I had worked with loosely for a year and a half or so.  So I find myself taking on the easy parts, the stark white on white of the depths of winter, but avoiding the hard things. 

The old advice of write what you know has value.  I hated the advice when I was 21, in a way similar to how I still hate the advice of "It,s not what you know it.s who you know".  Now I have had time to live, even if I have not built a top notch network, and it has given me material to add to writing.  Unfortunately getting into those head spaces is the hard part.  Also, just keeping focused on a task can be frightfully hard, and it gets harder as my life stays empty of external pressures longer. 

So the novel got stuck somewhere between the beginner and the middle. I added a introduction and parts of opening chapters that will build the characters and world, but to really make it work I fear it needs a massive restructuring. That weight, knowing that even if I push forward to new parts much of what is behind me will have to change.   Now the truth is non of this is new, non of this should keep me from writing, ultimately I have also been lazy.  Both these things need remedied.


Ien in the Kootenays said...

Post of June 8. Re-read.

Alexander van Houten said...

Indeed. I have been there before. I recall an author advising people to write scenes and stitch them together, there is good value in that. Thank you for drawing me to that.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

I did not mean to say you were repeating yourself, I meant to remind you of your own good advice from way back: don't wait till you are in the mood, sit down and work. Easier said than done.