Saturday, 12 October 2013

Control Point

This has been a difficult writing week as I've struggled to get the words out of my head and down onto paper,  metaphorically speaking, given that everything is digital bits on my computer.  So I found myself at the end of this week having only written 1,518 words in total, which is an appallingly low amount from getting myself stuck by not knowing what to write.  Given that I've outlined the plot and know what is in each chapter, for definitions of know that mean the probability wave is not collapsed, but the choices are known, this is kind of a way bad situation to be in.

I then went into angst mode, never a good thing to do, and wondered why I seem to be in my editing head space, rather than my drafting head space?  I even rewrote a chapter that my alpha reader said was good, but lacked action, or plot development, even though the characterization was good.  Rewriting takes as long as drafting and doesn't necessarily add many words to the end product.

After that I tried rationalizing my mood and lack of productivity down to visits to my rheumatology consultant, the subsequent blood test, and having a flu jab, which a lot of people report as making them feel unwell.  Not to forget two visits to the dentist and doing my bit for World Mental Health Day at Imperial College London, which you can read about here.  So a busy week.  I also haven't been sleeping well, and by that I mean worse than usual, due to the noise from the builders working on the exterior of the block of flats where I live.  All of which seem like good reasons to me for a lower work output.

However, yesterday I had an epiphany where I realised that I had written my characters into a situation where they would have to do something stupid for all the wrong reasons, and that I needed to go back and rewrite an earlier chapter.  Doing this will allow me move some of the things that I described earlier in the story and put those events in a different form in a later chapter.  This will allow my heroes to make what looks like a good decision for all the right reasons; of course this will later turn out to be the wrong decision in that it leads them into jeopardy.  Plot problem fixed and Scrivener makes it so easy to do this.  I now have thirty one chapters outlined and I feel good.  This doesn't mean that the writing gets any easier, but at least I know what I need to write now.  Current running total stands at 52,829 words.  On reflection I had this self same problem previously; to me it seems to indicate a process on the learning curve that I have yet to master.

Reading wise I finished the book Control Point by Myke Cole and was left with mixed feelings.  On one hand I think it's a very good first novel.  It kept the pace of the story moving along quite nicely, and I like all the secondary characters.  About the only criticism I would make is that I would like to have seen some more humour in the dialogue between the characters.  However, I didn't like the main character who I thought was a whiny idiot.  Also, the mix of traditional fantasy tropes within a military SF story didn't completely float my boat.  The teaser for the sequels though did start from the consequences of the heroes actions, so Myke Cole clearly has thought through his plot, which I like.  So if you like military action set in a fantasy world this is likely to be something you'll want to read.

Finished watching Stargate SG1 season 8, which in my opinion has the worst end of a season finales of the show with a Deus ex machina time travel story called Mobius.  The acting and dialogue were good, but having the episode end with the characters not having to go on the mission just sucked.  YMMV.  Season 9 is just okay, which is sad because it has both Claudia Black and Ben Browder in it, both of whom I love from Farscape and therefore the show should be better than just okay.  Claudia steals every scene she is in and brings life an vitality to the cast, but it feels too much like old rope to me.

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