Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Progress (or not)

Now that I'm nailing words to the wall a strange process of discovery is taking place.  After investing so much effort into research and the seemingly endless chore of moving scenes and plot points around to where I thought best I imagined that putting the words into the rather complete outline would be a simple matter, more of getting the phrasing and pace right than figuring out what to say.

The first scene went well, as did the second.  During the third scene I realized that there was something I should have explained earlier in the first, which meant adding a line or two in the second.  That reminded me of a research extract I wanted to use, but further on.  At some points I wondered whether to inform the reader through exposition or let them figure it out themselves?  Explaining too much would burden the story and probably bore the reader.  Too little and the density of facts would make the tale incomprehensible.  Should I assume that most readers already know this or that? I put the question aside for the moment.

The next scene went pretty much the same, with infrequent trips back to make some adjustment or other, links for continuity, or correct something I'd said that would no longer work out and inserting brief exposition where a fact was not clear from the context.  The narrative was rolling along so well that I just went with the flow, merrily throwing sentences out and getting more into the protagonist's head.

Five scenes in and panic stuck:  I had ten thousand words and had fifteen more scenes to go.  At this rate the story was going to go well beyond the plan and no longer the short story I'd originally set out to write.  Would the longer form mean that starting the story close in time to the epiphany might no longer work?  Should I rearrange the outline, recast the dramatic points, and in general, rethink the entire architecture I'd established?

I reviewed my assets, the things I'd written so far and realized that those scenes already written were composed of small vignettes that might be independent of their current placement.  If I separated them from their current locations I might be able to inject them into some as yet undesigned narrative as backstory, flashback, or dialogue.  This would eliminate the need for a continuous time flow of back story in the early part.

Perhaps, but that decision will come later.  For now I will continue to plow along to put words into the original scene outlines, see how the narrative develops, and whether the same rate of words-per-scene continues to the end.  I am going to reassess everything when I get to scene eight, the imagined half-way point.

Stay tuned for further news of this experiment.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading my blog!