On The Road, Again
Just Can’t Wait To Get On The Page, Again
I’m writing to you from the distant past, to whit: yesterday morning. By the time you read this, I’ll be retrieving Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave, and heading to the transpo hub to acquire Mom Dave. That completed, we’ll head in a direction to lodge for the night at a southerly cousin’s locale. I’m looking forward to this. I’m told there’s a yurt. From there, we’ll head in easy stages eastward through various terrain to ultimately land with Mrs. Dave’s parents at their farm of a much higher elevation. (If I push this too hard, the naming conventions are going to get obnoxious.) The littles will tromp with Grammie while Gramps and I stalk some prey. Should be fun.
What does this all have to do with writing? Not a whole, on the surface. I’ll be rocking my weekly entry, here, from afar of here, and hopefully getting some fiction writing time in, as well. There are plans in that direction, at least. And we should have gorgeous weather for both the travel, and the visit, which will be nice. I’m most looking forward to having other adult eyes and hands around. Later on, we’ll jaunt over to Grammy and Poppy’s (Mom Dave and Pop Dave), and the littles will join their slightly older cousins for the annual masquerade and pillaging of local sucrose deposits.
In the mean time, while writing this to you for aforementioned distant past, I’m in the midst of preparations. It’s such a JOY to do all the trip prep by my lonesome. In a very similar way, we often (or at least I often) feel like I do a lot of writing prep work on my lonesome. It’s not really true, though, at least for me. Mrs. Dave is an incredible sounding board. We first bonded over books (yes, yes: I see that shocked face. Gambling at Rick’s. Move along) so we’re both thoroughly steeped in genre fiction, which makes it easy to take shortcuts in discussion. She’s also got great ideas, some of which I even use.
My advice, here, and jumping a couple things in the interest of brevity (the soul of wit, me), it’s my suggestion that you earmark someone. Not literally, though I understand that costs extra in some places. No: mentally set aside someone you trust, and should you hit a point where your confidence in the story or your enthusiasm are flagging, give them an in-depth synopsis. I really recommend doing this in person, or at least voice-to-voice. I did this very thing with Pop Dave over the weekend, and I’m jazzed to get back to Scrap Star Quarry (working title subject to change) and find out how my characters deal with the special hells I’m going to put them through. Seriously. Illicit cyborging, rogue AI, space pirates, alien artifacts, and interstellar intrigue.
Get fresh eyes on your story, and see what that does for you. I’d suggest doing this at a time when you can really put in some good backside in chair, hands on keyboard time, rather than right before more or less single-handing two toddlers halfway across the continent, but that’s up to you. Additionally, I find the process of running someone through my story, rough form, tends to shake things loose a bit. I get additional insights into the characters, and some of the holes fill in. I had no idea (okay, not entirely accurate) one of my characters was going to be forced to give up the identity of my main character under torture by his old subordinates. Not until I was running Pop Dave through why he typically refuses to leave the ship. And I need them to know who she is and want to sell her to the bad guys so they’ll chase her into the derelict (or *are* they?) parts of the ancient space station where she’ll get captured and experimented on.
Seriously: try some fresh eyes. Or ears. Best leave them attached to the willing brain, though. Doesn’t work out well the other way. Or so I’m given to understand.