To say that plots change while a story is being worked on is kind of like saying water is wet and the sky is blue.
Is it a bad thing? Not really because many reasons can contribute this phenomena rearing its ugly head. Perhaps the writer has grown bored with the subject material and wishes to take it in another direction. Perhaps the writer is stuck at a certain point (the first paragraph tends to be my personal Torquemada) and wants to try different things to get things moving again. Perhaps the writer is simply going through a bout of procrastination and is trying to compensate by moving words around.
The main problem with making changes while a story is in work-in-progress mode is that it delays finishing the story and when that happens, time tends to fly by faster than one might expect. Next thing you know, years have passed and one is left scratching their head in a most perplexed manner.
Could it be a good thing? Perhaps if the changes stick and a new story emerges from the old. I’m sure it happens but I wouldn’t put any wagers on it.
Having a solid and well-defined outline can help to keep one on track but in the end, remaining faithful to the spirit of the story is the most important thing to remember.
So, pour your favorite beverage, organize your workspace, and get to it. Stories don’t write themselves.
It has been my experience that the first lines of any story seem to be the hardest to write. That being said, here is a preview of the Intro to Parallax: Genesis as I am currently working on it:
They jumped. Then reappeared. Then jumped again, the process repeating itself several more nauseating times before they left Normal Space. Everything on board the ship went dead, except for the smell of ozone that drifted up from the Bridge and the faint whoosh of handheld fire extinguishers
After a few more minutes, the remains of emergency power kicked in and he was able to lower himself back down to the Bridge. There, he noticed a gaping hole in the rear bulkhead that had been cut away. Behind the hole lay the remains of part of the ship’s electronics.
He looked at DuBois and the Pis. “Let me guess. We have a new problem.”
One minute Pratt was asking after a problem; the next he was feeling one as a blast erupted from the rear bulkhead and catapulted him across the bridge. Stars twinkled in his peripheral vision and the deck plating scraped him roughly as he landed face-first in a pile against the forward bulkhead doors. As a final insult, the overhead lights flickered and died, swallowing him up in a thick blanket of darkness.
When he came to, he was uncomfortably reminded that silence was in command as he pulled himself to his feet by way of a set of bulkhead handholds. He groped through the darkness until his fingers closed around a square object affixed to the bulkhead. Pulling the battle lantern free from its mounting bracket, he switched it on and moved the yellow beam over the consoles and prone bodies of the android crew members. DuBois and the Pis were nowhere to be seen. A sickly sweet smell hovered in the air that immediately put him on his guard. Reaching out, he located the nearest ventilation duct and placed a hand over its diffuser. Feeling no breeze coming from it, he surmised that the emergency ventilation system had failed and in time, the internal atmosphere would thin as the available oxygen slowly ran out.
Sometimes one must have to take a break from things, even those things that we love doing. When you compound that with a story that hits the ditch and has to be put up for retooling, the breaks become even more important.
It’s been about two years since I started working on the sequel to Parallax and after many distractions and some plot problems, I’ve decided to wipe it all out and start over. Now I know that there’s always some salvageable nuggets buried within but this time I think it’s the right course of action.
I also realize that it’s been quite a while since I updated the blog and I intend on making up for lost time.
Thanks to those who have hung in there and your patience will be rewarded soon. That is my promise to you.
I know it has been a while since my last post but when you have a crisis of faith, it becomes necessary to stop and take stock. Yes, I started doubting my ability to write entertaining stories because I got hung up on where I was on the Amazon Ranking System and the slowing of my sales to date. I took on a second job and scaled back my writing activities accordingly in the hope that the additional income would carry me through my perceived drought.
However, over the past few months, I became more and restless as my lack of creative pursuits began to gnaw on me. Do I leave my characters, both actual and conceptual, languish in limbo? Do the stories that beg to be put on paper stay locked away for a future date?
The answer that I came to was a resounding NO. Stories that need to be written should be written. Characters deserve to be given lives for everyone to enjoy, hate, sympathize, whatever. I write because I love it and to be honest, that’s the only legitimate reason in my mind to put my energies into it at all.
I fell into a kind of production rut and nothing beats the fun out of a pleasant activity than forcing yourself to perform it on a scheduled day in and day out. Maybe other people can do that but not me. I need to feel good about what I am doing and punching a time clock (real or virtual) isn’t something that appeals to me when I am on my own time. I’m not saying that creating writing habits aren’t a good thing. They are. They only turn sideways when one starts to feel forced to operate under them. We are not machines and Life has a way of throwing monkey wrenches into the gears from time to time.
My hiatus had a negative effect on my writing because it’s been going on two years since I started writing the sequel to Parallax and I’m playing catch up to recover lost ground on Parallax: Genesis if there is lost ground at all.
Well, that’s it for now but hopefully, it won’t take me months before I check in again. Have a good one.
I never plan these posts out because I like to blog when the feeling hits me. Of course, being preoccupied with Parallax: Genesis tends to keep me away from here and although I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, here we are.
Yes, P: G is moving forward even though I’m not trumpeting it from the rooftops. Let’s face it, tooting my own horn isn’t really my thing and I’d rather announce a finished work than prattle on and on over something that is a work in progress even though poking my head up from the rabbit hole isn’t a bad thing.
I’ve been a little distracted of late due to my day job but that’s no excuse to make progress and in general, all of the world building and other behind the scenes stuff is finished so all I need to do is roll up my sleeves and get to writing. I’ve put all my other projects on hold to make P: G my priority for 2017 and I plan to get it out by September at the latest which, incidentally, was when I released Parallax back in 2015. Lights and Shadows took up the majority of 2016, which I think cost me some time but in the grand scheme of things, it was my time to consume.
Hopefully, I won’t take another two months or so to bring you all up to date.
I’m settling in today to work on Parallax: Genesis and I’m finding it easier than expected to walk (metaphorically) the decks of John Pratt’s ship, Artemis, as I kick off this latest installment of Pratt’s odyssey through Space. I’ve decided to approach this particular story a little different than I did with Parallax.
(Side Voice): You mean you got more organized this time?
Anyway, this time around I’m preparing both ebook and paperback manuscripts simultaneously which is proving interesting since both use different formats to accomplish the publishing process. Still the same story, obviously.
Sequel stories, at least to me, are unique in that they have to achieve not only a continuation of the current storyline but must also be able to stand on their own. After all, not every reader approaches a series from the same starting point so grabbing and holding their interest becomes very important from the getgo as well as getting them caught up with what’s already happened without overly explaining what happened in the previous story. That would be redundant in my opinion and defeat the purpose of writing the first book.
I finished a rough outline of the book recently and since I use outlines mainly as guides to help me tell the story, they are subject to change as the plot dictates. Suffice it to say that Pratt is on a quest for answers with the bad guys in hot pursuit and the rest of the Galaxy dealing with their own problems in the meantime. The plot’s focus will shift this time around from the borders of known space to taking place mostly on Earth, which should be interesting because up to this point I had only made vague references to it in snatches of dialog between characters.
It is already a fun ride. 🙂