Word count: 29918 I’ve been out of town a lot lately. When I have found a half-hour or an hour to write it’s been so tempting to just massage the existing text and not generate any new words. Something about the last scene of this chapter was just not coming together. And here it is just a few days before the next crit group meeting, when I have to have a new chapter or I’ll have to buy everyone a beer. After some thought I realized this scene needed to be a big turning point for the character. He’s been insufficiently motivated so far, and needed to have a personal experience that would drive home just how badly he needs to be doing what he is doing. Basically, he’s been a dilettante and he really needs to be a committed terrorist. I went back to my researches on why people become terrorists and decided that the aliens had to do something awful to him or someone he knows personally. Unfortunately, all the candidates were people I needed around later for other things. So it couldn’t be fatal or even severely debilitating. But I found a solution (I hope). Rather than a character, I killed a setting. It wasn’t a very important setting, really, but it was something established earlier in the book and I think it’s plausible that the character would care about it more now (now that it’s gone) than he did then. He also got himself involved in a riot afterwards, something I hadn’t planned, which gave me an opportunity to show how nasty things are getting in the streets. After that was done I hit him with the whammy I’ve been saving up all chapter. Now he’s really pissed and has nothing to lose. A very good evening’s writing. In other news, I participated in an “exquisite corpse” writing exercise and dashed off a few paragraphs so “crunchy” they could be the basis of a whole new novel. I am running screaming from the possibility of a whole new novel… I’m already heartily sick of this one. But I press on.
David D. Levine is the author of Andre Norton Nebula Award winning novel Arabella of Mars, sequels Arabella and the Battle of Venus and Arabella the Traitor of Mars, and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. Stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, F&SF, Tor.com, numerous Year’s Best anthologies, and his award-winning collection Space Magic.