author’s note: closer? farther?
Posted by jeanne
it’s hard to tell in which direction i’m making progress. i’m working 6, 8 hours a day, sitting at the computer, doing research, adjusting the plot. it’s the same old thing, except every little bit of it is different.
the big change in the same old thing, in this last week, is the lack of research. the lack of new research. it seems i’ve got some research on most aspects of the story now, because all i’m coming up with are new twists on the same information. there’s only so much you can learn about abusive personalities. there’s only so many ways to repress a people’s drive for freedom. there are only so many ways to reach enlightenment and change your life.
so, i’m ending the research stage and moving on. i have taken my 42 chapters, and over the last week i have separated them into 6 sections of 7 chapters each, and am busy filling out the chapters with all the information i had previously separated out into all the different characters. with each shuffle, i filled out the structure with new thoughts, new research, new observations, and then reshuffled and did it again. i like this way of doing it. it made me look at every little bit in several different ways.
i know that when i do a painting i have to do a good drawing first. and my drawing is just as good as i can make it. but in the middle of painting i will notice that there are bits i didn’t understand when i was drawing it, bits that need to be corrected now that i understand what i’m looking at better, now that i’ve been looking at it for many more hours than it took to draw.
it’s the same in constructing a plot. there’s the overall 2-page summary that tells you nothing about the individual actions of the well-rounded minor character, and there’s what i have now, which is individual chapters containing every character in the story, everything that might be happening to that character, and every bit of research that pertains to the topics developed in that chapter. which is to say there’s a lot of extraneous material in these chapters, and absolutely no sense of how the chapter will look once it’s written.
i still, this late in the preplanning, don’t know how any of the chapters will actually turn out. will i use first person or third, will i be omniscient, will i take multiple character points of view, will i be cheeky or serious, will i be addressing the reader directly? i’m only beginning to get a sense of how it’s going to be. i am unable to plan it. i don’t have a voice on it yet. it’s all still just images and scenes in their entirety.
the stage i’m in now is as close to ‘ready to write’ as i know how to do. here’s the basic structure:
chapter number, keywords
setting (dragoncon, real world, or inside the game)
narrative (all the versions from all the different shufflings)
the plucky gang (random, =p (pronounced ‘everyplayer’), and c3ll3r! (sorry, ‘celery’))
quantum shit that happens
the authoritarian culture
an armchair authoritarian
i had gotten all the information down to a single paragraph per chapter a few weeks ago, and then broke it down again into individual actors and events, and now i’ve piled it all back together again, and now i’m adding all the research. i’ve got 125 pages of research, consisting of quotes taken from various sources on the internet. and now i’m taking these bits and pieces and inserting them into the chapters they relate to. they won’t end up like they are when i get around to writing the chapters, but they will be the information i rely on to build the scenes, the background, the examples. you can see this research, copied and pasted into blog posts i’ve put up in the last week.
it’s still not over; i still don’t know how it’s going to turn out; i still only have some faith that what i’m doing is important or even desirable. i’m just proceeding because that’s what my little voice is telling me to do, and i’m quite confident that the fairies will write this story for me while i sleep, as they have a hand in all my creations.