Word count: 120661 | Since last entry: -256 | This month: 2708 Where did the weekend go? Didn’t do anything special, even though it was my birthday today… just the usual weekend round of chores and errands, but three days instead of two. All gone now. Voom. I spent my writing time this weekend working on the first Clarity chapter. In order to put Vigor’s death on stage I first had to remove the frenzied phone call from the end of the scene in the potato field. But once I’d done that, the remainder of the scene didn’t have a lot going for it… it had almost no emotional impact, didn’t establish Clarity’s story problem, and basically existed only for expository purposes. Obviously this scene didn’t have much going for it before, but removing the sting from the tail pointed that out clearly. So I thought “can I get rid of this scene completely, and open with Clarity in New York?” But though that idea had a lot of appeal, the existing scene sets up a lot of stuff that will be needed later: it establishes Garrett, and shows Clarity’s love of flight (in a scene that at least one of my first-readers really loved), and shows Clarity interacting with ordinary humans and establishing her sympathy for them. In New York she’s completely surrounded by her own people and that would be harder to convey. This scene also introduces a lot of details about the Cetans that would have to be redone in a different way in New York — basically making this a complete new chapter. So I rewrote the scene to have a lot more interior dialogue, in which we establish how long it has been since Cedar Point, and how Remembrance Day is a forgiveness holiday for the Cetans, and how much tension there is between Clarity and her father (which will never be resolved, bwah hah hah). To do all this I focused on her shoes. Yes, her shoes. There was a throwaway line in the very first draft about Clarity wearing Nikes, and I decided to use that as a symbol of all the ways in which she fails to conform to Cetan norms. I think it works. But. I’m still not convinced it’s the best way to introduce Clarity. I may break down and eliminate the entire scene (after spending the whole weekend rewriting it, argh) and create a new scene in New York that carries only the key information from the old scene, with more emotional punch. I know I can do it; I’ve learned a lot in the nearly two years since I wrote this chapter for the first time. But it’d be a lot of work, so I’m resisting. I think I can reuse a lot of the existing sentences and paragraphs, but it might be quicker to rewrite the whole thing from scratch. Either way I think it’s likely to be several days of work. The one thing I absolutely can’t introduce in New York is Garrett. But maybe I should put him on the phone and Clarity’s father dying on stage, instead of the other way around. Must ponder some more. I think I need a day or two to convince myself it’s worthwhile.
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.