Progress Report: Big step forward, big step backward

Okay, well, I’m sure it won’t surprise anybody to know that the weekend my Dora passed away, I got absolutely nothing done. I just couldn’t. Thus we see that there are limits. Rather than doing anything useful, I re-read my Kuomat novella. I tweaked it, but mostly I just read it. I went back and re-read bits of Keraunani too. That was soothing.

Later, I went and found a fanfic Craig recommended and read that. It was also soothing and I hereby recommend it: Fictitious Persons, downloadable here. An eleven-year-old Kara Kent, daughter of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, winds up in a parallel world (probably ours) where everyone recognizes Superman as a comic book character and knows all about Clark Kent and the rest of it. She develops her own set of superpowers shortly after arriving … and, go!

Craig warned me that the supervillain’s plan is lame. This may be true; I hardly noticed. The supervillain behind all this is so unobtrusive a presence that I paid basically no attention to him at all. He, and his nefarious plan, is purely an excuse to drop Kara into this new world and write a story about her and the people who surround her. Virtually everyone in this novel-length story is nice. Some are nice for practical reasons, but they’re all nice. That’s why it was such a soothing reading experience.

After I pretty much recovered, I went to my Suelen novella and revised that into the final first-draft form.

Then we had an ice storm followed by eight inches of the fluffiest possible snow and I stayed home for five days. Once the snow stopped and the sun came out, I took all the dogs for long walks in the snow. Here are the most fantastic tracks I saw:

May be an image of nature and text that says '00O SHOT ON NOTE 9P ULEFONE'

Isn’t that fantastic? From the full set of tracks, I think it’s pretty clear that the bird — from the size maybe a blue jay — landed in the snow and just sank right in, probably past his head, whoof! I’m sure that was a surprise. Then he had a hard time taking off again. There was the little poofy hole where he sank into the snow and then a series of five wing imprints before he made it up. Next time I bet he’ll be more careful.

I also opened up my SF novel, the one I’d been stuck on, Invictus, and started working on that. The first 220 pages were just tweaking, though I kept going back and forth as I tried to make sure everything is consistent with my new understanding of what is actually going on, and provide hints to the reader about everything. Most things, anyway.

Then I hit the part where a lot needs to change, so yesterday I zapped 6000 words. Ouch! Even though this draft is plenty long enough and going to get longer, that was certainly painful. I renamed the file before I hit delete — that file is now Invictus8 — and the new file post-deletion is InvictusFinal, which I hope is not overly optimistic. I’m sure you notice the “8.” That is an accurate measure of how much trouble I’ve had in the past with this story. I’ve never before had this many versions of a story sitting around. Only Death’s Lady comes close, and that one only had about four, maybe five different versions. I would say that getting each revision actually done was probably harder for that one then this is going to be, but harder in a different way.

It’s hard to measure progress in revision because I’m seldom putting a lot of new words in a row. The next step will be connecting the beginning and early middle up to the middle. I believe — not entirely sure — that we are shortly going to learn a lot more about Ila’s secret plans. But probably not everything. She has a secret about her past too, and I’m not sure when to reveal that either.

So that’s the sort of thing I’m working on now.

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