Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Progress! Or, now I have half an outline.

So, here I am working on this SF novel because my agent REALLY wants me to write a space opera kind of thing real quick and give her a chance to shop it around this year. Fine, fine, I said, which by the way will mean putting off SHADOW TWIN, but I will try to get that done this year, too, and definitely the next short story collection. I will hopefully finish the final stories for that over spring break, which is coming up in early March.

Anyway, this past weekend I tipped over 100 pages (30,000 words) for my WIP, always a nice landmark. I also connected the beginning of the novel to the one scene that takes place in the early middle of the novel and then, unfortunately, ran out of Stuff I Knew About.

So this morning I let the actual manuscript rest while I fiddled around with an outline. I had one vague idea of something I might like to have happen. So I took that as a definite scene that must happen — luckily it will serve to drop everyone out of the frying pan into the fire — and then figured out how I might possibly justify getting to that scene and figured out what the aftermath of that scene would be. And then stalled out again. I’ll need to light a bigger fire or set off a bomb or something, up the stakes — pretty sure I know what the ultimate stakes are, but how to ratchet up to that, not sure.

But uncertainty about the last quarter or third of the plot is fine, because I estimate that the outline I have now will carry me through the next 200 pages or so, and by then I should know where the plot is actually going and more nearly know how to get there.

Biggest question right now: do I want more pov characters? Right now I have two. I don’t object to two, I would be happy to limit the pov characters to two, but are these actually the BEST two characters to carry the next 200 pages? If not, maybe I’d better back up and convert one of the earlier scenes to a different pov so that switching doesn’t come as a shock when it happens in the middle? Not sure, not sure. It would certainly be simpler to stick to just these two pov characters.

They’re both guys, as it happens. I’ve been sticking to young female pov protagonists so much lately, that might be why, maybe I just felt like I needed a change from that kind of protagonist. In this new WIP, though, I do like my secondary female characters a lot. Maybe one of them would like to step into the spotlight and be a pov character? Would either of them be the BEST choice to carry the narrative, though? And a bunch of secondary characters are still developing; maybe one of them will turn out to be a good choice for a pov character. Besides that, right now the human characters are carrying the pov. I think I’ll stick to that, but it’s *possible* I’ll decide that one of the alien characters should also take the pov for some portion of the narrative.

Decisions, decisions. Luckily nothing is set in stone at this point, but on the other hand I have no special desire to re-write half the narrative in a different pov, so it would be nice if the choices I make at this point are ones I’m happy with two months from now.

So, that’s my writing life right this moment. Punctuated by puppies, of course! But basically in decent order.

Meanwhile, I just finished reading SILVER ON THE ROAD by Laura Anne Gilman. Loved it! I’ll write up my thoughts about it soon, but two thumbs up for sure.

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