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October 19-21

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Progress Report, in which I remember something forgotten

Managed to get through another fifty pages on the Petra rewrite, despite the colossal schedule disruptions collectively known as Thanksgiving.  Good thing I had all day Sunday to catch up.

One of my bigger challenges in this section was to work out a credibility issue my beta readers had rightly identified.  Though I could see the problem, I had no idea how to fix it.  I kept hoping that some brilliant solution would come to me when I needed it.  I came right up to the key moment and stopped.  I still didn’t have anything.  I quit for the night, and came at it fresh the next day.  Still nothing.  So I frowned and concentrated, and finally went with something simple–but possibly too subtle to be believed.  I dunno.  It’s gotta be better than what I had, though.

I’ve also been wrestling with some characterization questions.  None of my beta readers were particularly enamored of my protagonist, and I’m trying to fix that.  In every scene, I’ve been asking myself, “Is his characterization coming across?  Is he strong enough here?  Is he consistent?  Is there any reason people should care?”

Pondering these questions led to another, larger one:  “What do I like about this guy?”

And that stopped me short.  I realized I wasn’t sure anymore.

You see, I’m usually able to answer that question about my protagonists–even the ones who are difficult to like.  The hero of my previous novel, The Watermasters, was such a character, but I still like him, and I can tell you why.  But for some reason, I couldn’t come up with a satisfactory answer about my current protag.

I’ve worked it out now, I think.  Seems that in my bid to make him more internally conflicted, my original conception of him got a bit . . . muddied.  But now that I remember what I like about him, I can use that as a guidepost.  The revelation paid off in an unexpected way, too, giving me a great line for him at the climax of the story.

Still going through that “getting acquainted” process, I guess.

Write Club update:

Weird Tales bounced “Take This, and Eat” with a tier two rejection.  Response time, about six weeks.

Later daze . . .

7 Responses to “Progress Report, in which I remember something forgotten”

  • devilwrites says:

    I’m SO behind reading these updates, but here’s a thought, if it hasn’t occurred to you.

    Your protagonist really doesn’t have much of a goal. At first, it’s a survey, and then it’s about survival. But what if he goes in having a faint clue as to what’s going on? That his old buddy Hal might be planetside? Him searching for the truth might give us something more to root for.

    Just a thought. Carry on. 😉

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