But That’s Not What I Wanted
Life in Fortress Dave proceeds apace. Like usual. Wee Dave was remanded into my care when his teachers wouldn’t have him in class anymore, ever, for a few days at least. Of course, they refused to have anybody in class, so he’s no more special than he was, but Writing Time turned into Man Time while they had professional time. What about Dave? What about Dave’s professional time? *shakes fist*
I spent most of last week (what I had of it to myself) doing some pre-editing. Pre-editing? Yep. I read through the last several chapters of Scrap Star Quarry (the space opera WiP). You see, I’ve had this nagging suspicion that my characters are spending too long talking to each other, and not enough engaged in plot development. It’s been nagging me for some time, so I decided to do something about it. I’ve made a bunch of notes and what it comes down to is I think I’m going to move some scenes around. One whole bunch of chapters is going to get moved farther back in the book by, oh, probably twelve or fifteen thousand words.
Now, I’m not even certain this is absolutely necessary, but pacing is essential, and a story wherein the characters spend several chapters doing normalish things (for aboard an interstellar free trading starship) and talking about stuff and trying to repair and solve conundra, followed by several chapters of meeting people, and engaging in try-fail cycles, and getting in fights, is … Well, draw it out on sheet of paper. It ends up looking like a square wave, when what I want to be giving the reader is more of an escalating wave. I want to ramp up the tension, while giving the characters (and the reader) a bit of a rest after every new escalation.
Pacing is important.
So, what is it I didn’t want? Well, because of my fairly limited writing time (Writing Time also has to include anything that absolutely needs to get done at Fortress Dave but shouldn’t involve littles. Seriously, a couple weeks ago I had to drop off Mrs. Dave’s jeep at the shop, and ruck home to get my stuff) I spent all of last week that wasn’t Man Time with Wee Dave (less wee than he used to be. Who authorized that?) working on figuring out the pacing and making notes about where what should go when. And why. So I got very little wordsmithing done. Which is frustrating, since I usually write a thing from beginning to end. And next week at this time, I’ll be rolling south to get Grammy at the airport on the way to Grammie (long story) and Gramps for elk season and Farm Time. The break will be welcome.
My point is that we make schedules as publishers and writers (you *are* making schedules, aren’t you?) and then we have to do the messy stuff of living, and the schedule goes to … well, places where schedules go to get thoroughly bolluxed. And this happens pretty much every time to everybody who has even a few chaotic variables interfering with their nice, clean plans.
And that’s okay. I’m coming to the belief that schedules are both necessary, and pure wishful thinking. Seriously. At least for me, at this stage of life. There’s what I want to have happen, and reality, and never the twain shall meet. And that’s okay. Emotionally, it kinda sucks, but I’ve got lot going on that isn’t writing, and while it annoys the heck out of my publisher, I think the grouchy bastard is willing to cut me some slack. He knows Grammie is willing to put the littles to work on the farm while we’re visiting so Writer Dave can bugger off to a coffee shop (I know just the one) and get some work done.
So make your schedules, and plan your plans, and I’ll do mine, and we’ll work toward them. Just take a page from Xeno: we’re not ever quite going to get there. And that’s okay. It’s mighty useful to have something written down, if only to allay the demons of Substandard Work Ethic and Imposter Syndrome. Seriously. It may not be what we want, but it may be what we need.