NOTEBOOK: Chapter 28 Progress
Today we visited my favourite cafe for lunch, and I got stuck into Chapter 28. Have decided to wait until I’ve finished the whole chapter before posting it, rather than posting fragments. I would like to be as transparent and writer-under-glass as possible, but I think the practicalities of things might mitigate against full transparency. I will try to report in here to let you know what I’m actually doing and how it’s going, though.
I’ve been concerned about my productivity slowing down in recent times, and while I think this has to do with background concerns about Things going on in my family, I think it also has to do with where I’m at with this story. I’m in Act 3 now. Pieces are moving quietly into their final places. Events are shaping up. I have to really focus to pull off a good ending. Time-travel stories are, in my experience, the hardest stories to get right because at any point the characters always have the option of blipping out to any other time they might want. They don’t have to stay in any moment where things are difficult. This creates serious problems in establishing conflict and drama. And in this story there’s also a character who not only has a time-travelling mobile phone but who can also jump timelines. She doesn’t have to stay anywhere. So why does she stay here, when it’s not even her own timeline? There has to be something here that she can’t get back in her own timeline, I decided.
And around we go. I think about all this when I’m at the local pool doing laps. It helps to block out the dreadful noise that otherwise I find so distressing.
But as I say, I think my productivity is slowing because I’m in the final act. It has to be right, and that means taking painstaking care. I want it to be good. I want it to work, both as science fiction, and as fiction. I want the characters to be able to step out of the science fiction apparatus and be able to breathe on their own as people. One of the best lessons I ever learned about writing was this, that you have to write people, not characters. That plot comes from sufficiently realised characters, not the other way round. Go far enough into your characters, and they will give you all the story you need.