Alright, in the tradition of last year when I would write until 2am every night and then blog on it before going to bed, here is another update on how Bringing Estella Home is going right now.
It’s getting tougher. I’m right in the middle of it right now, in chapter 7, and I’m not sure whose viewpoint I should do next or how I should be organizing these chapters. I’ve got four viewpoints, but really there are three separate subplots going on, and I need to give them each equal time while structuring them so that the tension builds from one to the other. When you don’t know what your chapter is doing in relation to the novel as a whole, it’s difficult.
My readers in English 318 tell me that one of the most interesting things in this story is the culture of the antagonists, the Hameji, and that’s really good because I want it to be interesting. I’ve created a sort of ruthless, cold-hearted, irrationally violent barbarian culture, and over the course of the rest of the novel I’m going to show exactly WHY they are so violent, what drove them to it, etc. Sound familiar? It’s my Mongols in space idea, and it’s coming along very well…
…except that I didn’t have Ben’s part figured out very well. He’s the one who gets brainwashed and turned into one of their soldiers, given a drug that melds his emotional being with that of a collective–kind of like the borg, but only with feelings and emotions, not with thoughts. It will be interesting to play with that idea, but this chapter, which was originally supposed to focus more on his experience with that transition, just…didn’t work out as well. Not a lot of screen time for him, for some odd reason.
So I did a little bit of thinking as I was walking home today. I thought to myself, “if I were a Hameji commander, how would I train these guys?” And it worked out very well! I think I know what I need to do now, what Ben’s story is going to be for the next couple of chapters. That’s very good.
Man, going for a walk can really help you sort things out and figure out what happens next. Even though I have an mp3 player, I rarely listen to it as I’m walking to and from campus. Many times I have my best ideas while making the commute. If/when I become a professional novelist, I’m going to have to set aside time each day for long walks.
Finally, I’m a little worried that I’m falling behind on my deadline. I wanted to finish this thing by the final exam day, sometime in April, but now that I’m sludging through the middle, I wonder if it might take longer. I have the climaxes figured out very well, but I’m still a long ways away from them. I might not finish this novel until the end of May, especially since I’ll have to do some major revisions of the first three chapters to hand it in for the English 318 final. That won’t give me a lot of time to revise my novels for World Fantasy 2009…
Bah. There is so much to think about. Rather than deal with it now, I’m going to go to bed.