So, it’s been two weeks since the end of Thanksgiving break, and things have changed quite a bit. I’ve been struggling quite a bit with my story. I could hardly get past the first chapter of the second section of the novel, and I’m at a critical point where I have to start introducing key characters and setting things up that will be important later. The complicated thing is…well, I don’t know where I want to take things at this point.
My conceptualization of this novel basically began winter of last year when I thought to myself, “what if I set the pioneer exodus in space?” It didn’t really take off, though, until the summer, when I started building a really cool universe in my head and came up with an interesting main character. From there, a whole bunch of loosely related ideas started to coalesce and I thought I had something.
Unfortunately, now that I’m in the middle of it, I’m starting to realize that my characters aren’t what I envisioned them to be, the conflict as I’ve set it up isn’t what I’d started out with, and that main idea that sparked this thing–the pioneer trek in space idea–it’s been flooded out by so many other cool ideas that I don’t know where to take it. In this next section, as I’ve envisioned it, I need to set up the religion and the space pioneers, but I haven’t thought it through enough to really understand what’s going on. Plus, I feel like my main character…isn’t all that interesting.
I’ve found, these past two weeks, that it’s been very hard to write this story when I have other issues and obligations on my mind. A lot harder than Phoenix. With that story, at least I always felt like I knew what the next step was. Here…I know what the next step should be, according to my plan, but it just…doesn’t feel right.
A lot of it is related to worldbuilding. I haven’t thought out certain things in this world enough, mainly because there are just so many ideas to consider. The part that I’ve worked on the least has, ironically, been the idea that sparked the whole thing: the Mormon pioneer trek in space. I have no idea what to do with that, or who the main characters are, or what the religion should be, other than a thinly veiled version of Mormonism.
So, either I’ve planned things out too much, to the point where I’m trying to control things at the exclusion of just letting the story come out naturally and honestly, or I haven’t thought things through enough, so that now that I’m at this point, I don’t know what I should do next. It’s pretty tough.
If I had nothing else that I were doing right now–no other daily tasks or obligations, other than personal chores–I could write my way through this. But now, as I think about it…it’s just too much for me right now.
With Phoenix, I at least had enough of a seed that I could keep the momentum, even when my classes were very hard. This semester, all of my classes have been ridiculously easy, and yet I still haven’t been able to keep a steady momentum in writing this novel. Momentum ebbed and flowed with Phoenix, but at least I always had some kind of momentum. With Hero, if I’m not dedicating lots and lots of time to the story, making it my primary priority, I lose all momentum and go days without writing.
So, upon realizing this fact earlier this week, I decided to take something of a drastic step. I’m going to put Hero in Exile on the back burner for a while, and bring back Genesis Earth to finish it over the break.
Genesis Earth has been on the back burner since July or August, but I’m excited about it and feel that it’s worth bringing back. Plus, it’s a lot shorter than Hero, and in some ways quite a bit simpler. I don’t have a dozen completely different ideas swirling around chaotically inside my head concerning this story–all of my ideas are straightforward. What’s more, I’m excited about it again. When I pick it up after exams, it will be fresh.
As far as Hero in Exile, I haven’t given up on it…well, not entirely. I may end up deciding to drop it, but I’m sure I’ll be recycling ideas. As of now, however, I still think I can pull it off. I just need to let things settle, figure out some things about the world of this universe, and rewrite the first 50,000 words to draw out the main character a lot better. Since that’s work that I can’t finish over this winter break, or even by the end of January, I’m going to lay it aside and focus on other things.
The goal is to finish the rough draft of Genesis Earth before the next semester begins. I think I can do it. Where I left off, the story was about half finished, maybe a little less. I highly doubt this novel will go over 60,000 words. With 18 free days after I finish these finals, that averages to 2,000 words a day. I can do this.
The best part is that if I do this, I’ll be able to focus all my energies on the Phoenix of Nova Terra rewrite in the winter! Now that I’ve spent some time away from that story, I’m starting to feel more and more confident about it. I honestly believe that it has the potential to be publishable, and not only publishable but desireable to someone out in the world of science fiction publishing. I’m excited. I think, with a little work, I could walk up to an agent or editor at World Fantasy 2009 and talk enthusiastically about it.
So, if I finish the rough draft of Genesis before winter 2009, polish Phoenix before summer, and polish Genesis while I’m interning somewhere for spring term, I could take a couple of months off to focus on all the problems with Hero and still have 3 novels finished in time for World Fantasy 2009. One of them won’t be as polished as I’d liked, but I could perhaps do that in the fall.
These past two days, I wrote up a 2.5k synopsis for Hero in Exile in my project notes. It basically details where I see the story going from here. I may end up not following it–I certainly didn’t follow the synopsis I’d written for the first section, except in a very broad sense. However, this is good because it preserves my thoughts on the story as they exist at this time. When I pick it up again, I can use the notes to jog my memory.
So, as of now, Hero in Exile is on the backburner. Even if I never pick it up again, I know that I’ve learned quite a lot just by pushing myself to get this far. On to Genesis Earth!