Wednesday I rewrote a scene and realized that I’d made it both better and worse than it was before. Yesterday morning (having slept on it), I awoke with an epiphany about why. The scene is better because there was stuff that I hadn’t thought of before that needed to be mentioned, dealt with, accounted for, etc. The actual science they would be doing needed to be handled better and things I should have thought of before now needed to be incorporated into their agenda. Two things in the previous sentence should tell you everything about what’s wrong with the scene, why it was worse after the rewrite: “would be doing” and “agenda”. I wondered why the scene was so awful and dead when I’d added more science! Science is good, right? Well, yeah, if they are actually doing science. Adding things (good things, necessary things they must do, how they will do the science) made the scene apparent for what it really had been all along: a data dump. There are some small character development bits, but not nearly enough to justify the scene, and the information doesn’t justify the scene either. This book and these characters do not need this scene: I needed the scene because it laid out for me what they needed to do and how they needed to do it. This scene is very early in the book. Those paragraphs belong in notes or outline, not in the book. The important things can be dispersed into scenes in which they are actually doing the science and interacting with each other. Which beats the hell out of a scene with everyone standing around while the author dumps 2757 words on the reader. I had, in an earlier draft, flagged the end of the previous scene as a possible chapter break. It works perfectly. I cut the scene, saving it in a separate file. The science and character-oriented stuff will be incorporated into other scenes; the “trying desperately to inject life into a moribund scene” parts will die a well-deserved death. The result of cutting this big chunk of text will be more rewriting on later scenes, but it will make the book significantly and conspicuously better. So today there’s a kind of “this is great” rush going through me; I feel much better about the book.
PS: my author site is down right now. Techies have been alerted and the problem is being worked. Sorry for any inconvenience.
I’m doing something a bit different over on Wattpad; in addition to occasionally posting short fiction there, I’ve also begun a sort of nature journal, Green Mind Seeing. Short pieces with observations and thoughts on the natural world. Some pieces are fanciful, some natural history, some gardening. If you, too, enjoy green things, give it a look. This week I delved into my archive for “Orchid Reverie”, which provided the inspirations (after sitting in my mind for many years) for the “Cha Buddhism” mentioned in my most recent book, If Wishes Were Spaceships, and explored in more depth in the sequel I’m currently working on. If that’s a bit too mystical for you, last week I wrote about radishes. 🙂 If you’re only interested in sci-fi and fantasy, never fear, I’ll be posting more of that in the coming weeks as well. Unlike last year, I haven’t set a schedule to release material there. My writing schedule is taking some hits this year; sometimes real life has to take precedence over imaginary worlds. I’m still writing, mostly working on books, but I’ll be doing a bit of shorter stuff, both fiction and non-fiction, for immediate consumption. I’ve got three pieces currently in Green Mind Seeing, and will be adding more to that ongoing work, as well as adding new short fiction to Wattpad. The best way to keep up is to follow me on Wattpad.
I started a new journal today. It’s going to be a different sort of thing than I’ve done before. Instead of droppng creative ideas into my phone, they’ll be dropped in the journal instead, along with nature journal notes and observations, and notations of people, places, things, events, and moments that make me happy. Creative. Nature. Happiness. It’s a nice mix. 🙂 I’m taking some small organizational ideas from bullet journaling: sections, page numbering, index. This may be the first journal I’ve done that won’t be an unfathomable mess. I hope. 😀
I’ve posted a short “end of year” summary over on my author site. All-in-all, it’s been a good year for me as a writer. One book and two new short stories published. Not too bad. I hope everyone has a good holiday season and a terrific new year. Thanks for following this eclectic little blog.