Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sooty, Science, and Writing Backwards

I'm still struggling with the desire to get back to editing. Who knew it could be so seductive? But I need to keep to my goal, too.

This is not arbitrary. I need some sense of accomplishment, some goal I have attained. The editing -- who knows how long that will go on? After I work through all the notes I've made of things to add, clarify, or rewrite, I need to go over the work as a whole. Then it gets bundled off to my long-suffering editor. Then back to me for who knows how much more work.

Sooty, though, I am treating as an experiment. Yes, I want a good novel. Yes, I must be proud of it or I won't put it out. But I'm trying to learn necessary skills by doing them, not by reading about how to do them. Applying intellectually attained knowledge in the real world. That sounded pretentious enough, don't you think?

I'm doing something new tonight. When I took Adjacent Possibilities through the first round of editing, I pulled out all the scenes that had passed muster with The Editor, and then rewove the story around them. This got me thinking. There is no compelling need to write the story in sequence.

After all, this is how I solve mazes and other puzzles. Start at the end, then work backwards. For some reason that often works better for me.

So, I worked on the ending tonight. I was fascinated to find myself tying together threads that hadn't yet been spun, making connections that hadn't yet been clearly visualized.

I am also *forcing* myself, and it takes real will, to just write. The page is a mass of red squiggles, but the story is there. I will correct typos later. Right now, I want to see if I can get the words.

I have also started a bookmarks page, with links to articles on chemistry and on the many things we use everyday that came out of the space program. I wish schools would teach that fact: even space research, so often held up as an example of unnecessary spending and wasteful hubris -- our lives have been enriched in so many ways through products developed for the space program. Discoveries are often serendipitous. We might as well cut off our hands and feet as cut funding to research, or even require, as short-sighted politicians do, that research produce immediately usable results. Foolish, foolish blindness.

That was my soap box for today. And yes, there will be a hint of that in Sooty.  I cannot seem to help myself. I have to have intelligent characters who understand the value of science and research, of thinking, and of being reasonable. 

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