Wednesday, May 20, 2009

17/18ths finished

I finished Chapter 17 last night just before 11. It's a little rough at the end -- the tone isn't quite what I'd been shooting for. It'll take some polishing, but I'm almost done!

I may have to sketch out chapter 18 too. I might as well; I've now done it for the 3 previous chapters, and it made writing them a little easier. I have ideas for big scenes in my head for 18 -- a few of which had been there for a year or more -- but I'll need to see if they all fill out the size the rest of the chapters seem to have been, which is about 9-10,000 words each.

And even then it won't be "finished," as in, ready to send of to a publisher. The first half of Chapter 1 is a little rough, since it took me that long to find my voice. I'll probably end up re-writing a lot of that, if not all of it.

And there are some scenes I want to add, scenes that flesh out the characters a little more. For example, there needs to be a little more of Sam and Alex getting to know each other right after they meet. I'm also going to write a scene where Sam walks the cross-country course behind the school, remembering what it was like before she got hurt. She'll probably have a talk with her old track coach too, about coming back to the team in the spring if she can.

And there needs to be more of Greg Bierko scattered through the story. He suddenly shows up at Jen's party as this menacing figure, but I don't think it's set up well enough, since the only time we meet him before that is the scene with Sam's detention in Chapter 4.

There also needs to be more of Emily in the story. She's basically the axis around which Sam's misery spins, and as it stands right now she shows up when it's convenient to advance the plot, but no more.

Other than that, it'll mostly just be tweaks and smoothing out the wording here and there. All I have to do is write about 9000 more words, and I can start.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

But of course it's never just the one thing

Of course, it's not just Gone percolating in my head. There's also this new idea named Ratline.

It's about a girl and her mother in 1945, who have flown to Germany to meet up with the father/husband. They have always assumed is a mere diplomat, but he actually spent the war working for the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA.

While in Germany, she befriends a local girl and her family who are trying to emigrate, meets a young soldier she starts to like, sees the horrors of the war from the other side, and ends up stumbling onto a plot to smuggle Nazis out of Germany -- the Ratline. A plot her father may be opposing, or may actually be a part of.

That's all there is right now of that one, but it's got a lot of potential. It won't go away, for one thing, which is always a good sign.

So you say you want an evolution

I've been thinking about Gone lately, although for once not to the detriment of Running Forward, or whatever it ends up being called.

Originally, the plot went something like this: my protagonist wakes up one day to find out that everyone over the age of 18 has simply vanished from the world. The only humans left are her, her friends, her sister -- everyone her own age and younger.

The vague, foggy idea in my head was already turning this into a series of books, even before I'd written the first word. The books would cover Anna and the other survivors reacting to the loss of their parents and everything they'd known, then struggling to survive, and finally trying to figure out what had happened.

Tied into that were clues scattered here and there: all the adults she knew were acting weird the day before and the night before the vanishings; visions either her or her sister are having, of their parents, still alive and trying to communicate with them; and suggestions that some of the adults had known what was coming, and were leaving messages to try to help.

Which of course led to -- who did this? Aliens? Supernatural beings? Some diabolical, near omnipotent government experiment? And answering that question -- or more to the point, completely failing to answer that question to my own satisfaction -- has me wondering if the plot should be simpler in scope, but remain a tale of survival.

The alternate plot would only be that the adults had vanished, perhaps due to some catastrophic cosmic event. Perhaps there would be prior clues about lights in the sky, news reports about something glimpsed on radar; some kind of foreshadowing.

I like that too. And, I have to admit, it would allow me to indulge (or as much as the constraints of writing to a teen audience would allow) my penchant to abuse my characters in grisly ways. Not that the aliens-or-whatever plot wouldn't.

I like it, but I like the other one a little bit more. And that's really annoying me, becuase as much as I can come up with nefarious, semi-plausible explanations for what happened, I still can't come up with an explanation for why it happened. What would be the point of engineering a calamity like that? How would it benefit a group or a being or a group of beings?

(Of course, trying to concoct a plausible explanation for why someone would do it, while just blithely accepting that they could, might just be me overthinking this a little.)

Anyway, if I can answer that one, I'll be onto something. Fortunately, in the meantime I can keep stretching out the plot in my mind like taffy, and it will end up working no matter which way the setup finally points.

However, in the meantime I need to finish...whatever it's called. Progress on that one is...progressing.