A good day’s work
Actually a good couple of days’ work, but especially today. Yesterday was mostly research. I’d been trying to find online science papers about a particular astrophysical phenomenon — or rather, more recent papers to confirm and elaborate on what I’d read in a paper from 1973, once it occurred to me that more current research might be more useful. But the paper that looked most promising was no longer available online. However, the University of Cincinnati library did have the journal in its stacks, so I went over there yesterday to find it (though I couldn’t locate it at first and needed the librarian’s help). It did indeed contain a lot of useful detail, though I’m not sure how much I’ll end up using.
Anyway, I spent the rest of my time at the library that day writing the next scene (though it doesn’t use any of the stuff I researched — that’s a chapter or so away yet). But I was kind of winging it, and some of it involved characters preparing for a part of the story I haven’t entirely figured out the details of yet, so the first thing I did this morning was to revise it (and I’m sure I’ll need to revise it some more once I do sort out those details). But I’ve managed to add three more scenes today, including two big ones that had a lot of worldbuilding and plot-advancing stuff. The scene I just finished was the first scene I’ve written from the viewpoint of the main antagonist, and the second I’ve done from inside the head of a member of that species, and I came up on the fly (an appropriate phrase, since they’re avian) with some really cool details about their psychology and communication, their culture and worldview. So I’m feeling pretty good right now, much better than a few weeks ago when I was struggling to get anything written.
I’m not so sure about the first big scene I wrote today. I realized that it covered similar ground to a scene that comes earlier in the same chapter, but which I wrote about two years ago. I’ll probably have to review those two scenes and figure out what I can change or delete to get rid of the redundancies. But it may be best to wait until I have the novel more fully written and I can see where certain threads end up going. The thing is, the scenes involve a character and subplot left over from the old version of the novel, one that I was unsure whether to keep in this version. I decided that it does serve a purpose that’s relevant to the climax, but realized that I barely mentioned this character in my outline. So I felt I had to add another scene to give this character more to do, and that did let me flesh out a fair amount of worldbuilding and political backstory — though I’m still worried that I’m falling into the same trap as before and getting too enamored with fleshing out the larger universe rather than focusing on the core plot. Although I’m pretty sure that the details I added here were directly relevant to the plot, and I can trim off the excess in revisions.
Actually none of the scenes I’ve written in the past two days are in my outline, although a couple of them cover information I spelled out in a bullet list within the outline (I needed to work out how the complicated events to follow were supposed to unfold before I wrote about how they went wrong). Turns out the outline jumped too abruptly to the climactic action and I realized I needed some more buildup and transition first. But now I’m through that phase, and things are about to start shifting into high gear.