DATE: Tue 05 Oct 2021 19:05 By: HexDSL@Posteo.net
I’m documenting the following thoughts and musings for my own benefit. I am not armed with enough arrogance to assume that anyone else wants to read it. Don’t feel bad for skipping this post.
I began working on the Denouement science-fiction project on the fourth of July 2021, though I remain unconvinced that it is scientific in any way. I “finished” writing the first draft on the third of October (Mean Girls day!)
In my mind, that’s not a lot of time at all, though I expect to spend the next month editing the first draft into something a lot tighter and way more fluid. How long is it supposed to take to write a novel sized fiction? I have no idea.
I tried to write a minimum of 1k words a day. As an absolute minimum. Though it was never once a chore to write. I spent my whole day, every day excitedly waiting to get into my “writing hole” not once was it a chore. Actually some of the most pleasant evenings I have had recently have been sitting alone in my office with a head full of characters, typing away furiously on my buckling spring keyboard. Earphones in, listening to some synthwave and lit only by the glow of my VIM terminal.
When I got to the end of the first draft of “A Hunters Garden” (my first novel sized attempt at fiction) I didn’t feel like the plot or pacing needed much more work. I simply combined all my “chapters” into a single file and sent it off to my buddy who edits (that’s code for ‘fixes-dyslexic-stuff’)
When I got to the last full stop of this one I knew that at least some of it needed work and the pacing was off towards the middle. I do wonder if its just that I didn’t ‘nail it’ as intended or if I have become a better story teller and am more able to notice when there is still more work to be done.
Now I’m at the end of the first draft I have to ask myself what I did right and wrong, what I learned and how I want people to respond to it (assuming anyone reads it)
I went into this project telling myself I was going to write a somewhat self indulgent science fiction story. I also wanted to write something that could only be a science fiction story. Something just for myself I suppose.
I think right from the start I failed at writing something in the exact way I intended. The version of the story in my head was a mess of moments with no real narrative. When I began to forge that into something ‘real’, something on the page it became less of that conceptual ball of interlinked parts and suddenly it was a slow burning sci-fi. I think over-all being able to move away from the original concept and closer to something more traditional resulted in a better story.
When I write I try and ask myself “What is the purpose of this scene” and in my previous work I removed a lot of “pointless” stuff that was actually relationship building and characterisation, but it didn’t push the plot forwards. In this, its mostly the sorts of moments I would have cut in ‘A Hunters Garden’. The result, I hope is something with a strange substance to it. Something that unfolds and a mystery you don’t really realise you are trying to solve. That’s how I feel about it anyway. Its the readers job to perform it as their brains deem best.
The characters of Libby and Jon had, what I feel is a natural progression in their relationship. There were blockers for both but in different ways. They went on to resolve them in ways that I feel didn’t come across as forced or artificial. I still need to polish some moments but overall I’m happy with it. It needs to be a fact to the reader that their relationship will endure even if the universe burns around them.
The shiny cap stone of the work is, in my own inflated opinion ‘Libby’ as a consistent non-organic life-form written in a way that stands up to scrutiny.
As I said he pacing is currently wrong in he middle but I am fixing that in a second draft (or I’m trying to at least) I want to have a ‘beat’ to he narrative that is its own. It is slow; it’s slow by design. Trying to make that work with the action scenes was not easy. As it stands it needs quite a lot of tuning to make it feel like its “on purpose.”
The character Lea; I screwed up her identity a great deal. She was supposed to be a seasoned military pilot who was terrified of being thought of as ‘one of the boys.’ I wanted a subtext that she drinks too much. This was a seed I was planning on watering if I ever spun it out to a second story. As it is she just seems to have two personalities. I’ll have to chip away at that until its just right.
I also learned that I’m very bad at making the locations I write make sense. I need to get better at that.
Then there’s this whole section where Jon has chicken. I have no idea what that was about and I’ll be ripping it out the moment I get to it in my editing.
This is more of the bad stuff but I felt sad because there was so much of it. I managed these feelings by adding a new header. You can’t see me but I just shrugged.
I put some pieces on the board with the intent of playing with them later, or in a follow up story (yes, D//2 is half formed in my head) but it feels, when I read it back like I forgot to unravel some threads and I don’t want that. Like with the Ash character. It feels like more is ahead for her then nothing happens. That one scene was all that was ever planned for her but it doesn’t feel like that. Its not bad, its ugly.
Ending this story was hard. I wasn’t sure if I did it too late. I wanted to end it at the resolution moment like those old Quatermass movies did. I couldn’t. I story called Denouement has to have a denouement doesn’t it!
The ending isn’t the resolution of the conflict. The ending is when the ex-wife shows up and shows us how the sausage is made. But it loses its pacing and feels tacked-on even though it isn’t. Tighten, tighten, tighten… I guess.
I think I have gotten a little better at writing over the last 93K words. I feel like I am better at seeing things that are wrong and fixing them before they become structural.
I didn’t get all of the things I wanted into this story. I have some scenes in the Denouement setting that I feel I simply need to get out of me.
I also have another ‘A Hunters Garden’ story brewing. I do mean brewing, its a collection of ideas at the moment but I think there is something there to explore.
sorry, went on a tangent. Back to my topic…
As someone who adores sci-fi I’m not sure if it was a good idea to actually try and write it. Its made worse because I don’t have a sense of my own ‘skill’ for this. I literally can not tell if everything I wrote was shit. It’s a point of constant worry for me. I just assume I am terrible, I may get better with practice.
Since discovering this need to story tell, I can say for certain that I will have more soon. There is gas in my tank, regardless of if anyone wants it or not. - I live, I write.