Archive for October 11th, 2006

10/10/06: Progress, such as it is

Word count: 2942 | Since last entry: 1546

It’s been a while since I posted any new word count here. That’s because I haven’t been writing a lot. My things-to-do list for the weekend was HUGE, which isn’t to say I actually crossed off a lot of items. But we did visit old friends Sonia and Devin on their property out by Vernonia. And the dogs and the cats and the llamas and the goats and the emus. Emus. Emus are very, very strange creatures. I’ve never felt the thud of a bird’s feet on the ground before, nor heard a bird breathing. The chick (only about three feet high) pecked endearingly at my trouser buttons. It came back every few minutes and pecked at me again in case I’d changed into something edible while it wasn’t looking.

But today was a good writing day. I dropped off the car for an oil change and took the train to work, during which I batted out about 1200 words of notes on the novel. This worldbuilding stuff is easy and cheap — all I’m doing is writing down random thoughts, and the further thoughts that spring from them. The main benefit is that writing this stuff down frees up brain space that was being used to hold it, and encourages/allows me to follow the idea to the next step. Writing about the aliens is also helping me to get a handle on the main human character.

In the evening I met with some other writers at a coffee shop for what may become a regular Tuesday writing evening. During this time I worked on revisions of the Singularity story, which I got critiqued on Saturday. The critiques found some serious problems — the ending feels rushed, and the protagonist changes his mind much too hastily at the climax, but the big problem is that my happy ending is read by some as a chilling horror story. It may be that this is okay. I think that in its intended context the ending will be seen as a happy ending, and even if it is not… well, it’s valid for the reader to reach their own conclusions.

So far in the revisions I’ve just nibbled away at the minor problems. I’ll start tackling the more serious issues with the climax and character interactions next. One thing I need to keep in mind is this: if the ending seems broken, you probably need to fix the middle. Specifically, I need to plant some doubts in the protagonist’s mind earlier so that his change of heart at the climax isn’t so much of a surprise.

One other thing and then I’m off to bed: I’m reading Jules Verne’s From The Earth to the Moon for our book group. I didn’t know it was a comedy. Or possibly an extended infodump with comedic moments. A fun, light read, though.