Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Jiffy Pop Effect
Got a new story up at Fiction@Work. Baby Teeth. An early version of it appeared on this blog. It's a little cleaner now. I'm fond of it.
The novel rewrite is going well. About a quarter of the way through. Two chapters cut, one major character cut, and another seriously downsized.
What's making me feel good is how the surviving chapters are plumping up (I think of this as the Jiffy Pop effect; do they even make Jiffy Pop anymore?), even as I cut large chunks of the novel away. Stories, regardless of length, kinda harden after awhile. They turn brittle. You pick apart a sentence and realize your changes affect three other sentences later on. It's been too long, there's too much distance. Happily, the novel is still alive, still reacting to changes, still capable of surprising me. New character details, new plot points, more dialogue. At one point two characters just started talking to each other at the end of a chapter. I let them. I'm glad I did. I learned from them.
A concession I am making to the marketplace is to give the couple in the novel a more traditional love story. I'd strenuously avoided that during the first two drafts, as I felt it was important thematically for the two lovers not to communicate well, to show their interactions as stumbling and incomplete. I realize that's not a very satisfying experience for the reader.
Now I'm beginning to see how to approach the theme of disconnection from the other side, by showing those rare and meaningful moments when they do connect as a contrast.
The Copenhagen Suborbitals attempted manned space flight last weekend was a scrub, but they vow to continue, and launch next year. They designed their own rocket, their own submarine, their own floating launch platform. They'll figure it out.