Now that I’ve chatted with a few of the Viable Paradise students and alumni, I’ve begun settling into the fact that I’m going in October. It’s an eclectic group of folks of all ages, from young enough to still be living with parents, to retirees. I fall on the older side of the spectrum, without being the oldest, so hey… at least I got that going for me. What I need to do now is check out some of their websites, read some of their works, get to know them a little better. I also need to read some of the novels of the instructors whom I haven’t read before. I know I’ve read plenty of Elizabeth Bear, but most of the rest I know through reputation only, not through experiencing their writing.
Spending the last few weeks editing/revising SUMMER took me away from the novel in progress. Now that I’ve returned to it, the two weeks off was the perfect opportunity to reflect on what I’d written and make some decisions. Though I’d brainstormed and done a bullet point outline before I started the “real first draft”, I simply wasn’t pleased with where things were going in the story. In the two completed novels I’ve done, I powered through, then made changes on re-write. But with only 30k words down, it seemed the perfect opportunity to make some changes now.
So I slashed out 20k, leaving me with 12k. I re-wrote the front two chapters some to reflect my new thinking on the characters and their arcs. Then I stitched back in some of the cut work while writing a new chapter 4. It’s right over 15.5k now and moving more in the direction I wanted to see. Time to introduce a new secondary character, one who will become a main part of the plot. In the previous version she was the main characters sister, but in the newer version she’s going to be an unknown to him, another being with similar powers (the ability to use shadows to move through the infinite worlds of their multiverse).
This is definitely a more “pulp” novel than my previous two. Not that any of them are particularly deep and serious. SHADOW OF A DOUBT is 1930’s urban fantasy, and SUMMER is portal fantasy. But rooting the start of this one in a world that reflects the science fiction and mystery serials of the 1920’s and 1930’s (think old Buck Rogers and The Shadow radio shows) pushes it in a different direction in terms of writing style. Of course, he’ll transition to other worlds, including futuristic ones, so we’ll see how the setting pushes and pulls the narrative and reshapes it.
Hopefully I’m on track to get the first draft done by the time I head for Martha’s Vineyard in October!