So I'm trying really hard to get back into the novel I've been working on, off and on for a few months. I'm not really "getting into it," and I'm just not into it. While I've spent a lot of time developing it and a bit of time working on it, it's been a morning and afternoon here and there. I'd like for something to happen with this project, but I need to take a step back and think about it. This entry is part of this "step back."
One of my issues, is that this project deals with how histories are remembered. How do we think about what has happened before now, and how does this affect our development in the future. This is a key part of my academic interests, and I thought that it would be fun to--in my interim year--explore this idea from a fiction stand point.
The issue that I'm having--and I think that processing this will help as I move into graduate school--is that I'm not sure, exactly what I think about this. The story I'm trying to tell, or that I thought I was trying to tell, incorporates three distinct generations. The second happens 40 years after the first, and the third happens about 200 years after the second. There are different casts of characters in each period, clearly. What I'm hoping is that this set up will let us explore these memories in a controlled way that simply can't be done in the laboratory.
I should note that I'm being pretty open with this story, because the story isn't built on suspense, in the way that say the Novella is. There are crises that the characters have to deal with, and I'm not going to talk about that, but in a lot of ways tychoish is my personal notebook, and this is an entry where I'm using it as such.
One of the problems that using fiction as a way to get around the constraints of the lab is that you have to have a notion of what would happen in the lab. And this is perhaps part of the reason why I need to be a researcher as well: I'm not really sure what would happen. I know that somethings happening, but I'm interested in an area that's pretty unexplored and I take a vaguely quantitative/grounded theory kind of tact. And I guess I could come up with pretty specific predictions about the outcomes of a given situation if needed; but I'm not sure that this kind of knowing/theorizing is right for building a story.
So I think that I need to go back over what I've written and my outline for this project and make it more teleological and theoretically specific in a connected point of view. Thus far, I've been more concerned with making sure that the plot gets from A to B and less concerned with the embellishment (which is important during some stages of the planning, I think, as long as it's balanced.) I also I had a compulsive motif thus far which I either need to punch up a lot, or change, because it's too subtle and doesn't hang "right" at the moment.
The other problem--and this is the same problem that I had with Another Round--the abortive attempt at a second novel that I started right after I finished my oft-mentioned and supremely horrible first novel--is that I had a large story about a huge number of characters who weren't in a position to really cary a plot on their own. AR became Station Keeping, which I think does work on some level in part because it's not a novel, and in part because we've been able to correct some of the problems since it's a total re-imagination, not a reprocessing of the original story (All of station keeping has been written for station keeping, even if there's an old doc file on my computer that tells a similar story with similarly named characters.)
Now, Breakout isn't the same mistake. There are characters that can cary the story, the problem is that I think the story is still too cosmic in a lot of ways, so while taking a step back to think about where I am, in a lot of ways I need to get closer to the story and the characters, and while I need to have a better concept of the bigger picture, I need to focus less on the bigger picture.
I think I have writing to do.
Onward and Upward!