I've realized something about my writing, something that I'm not exactly happy about, but something that I think I can deal with. It's also something that I think, that by realizing what the problem is, I'll be able to work around it.
So what is it already?
All of my characters in Circle Games are motivated by loyalty. The irony that makes the story interesting in my opinion is that they're motivated by loyalty to each other, except in a couple of cases (the bad guys mainly) when they're motivated by loyalty to themselves. Duty and loyalty are fine motivating factors, and they may be entangled with love, but they aren't love. And I think the story of CG works with this limitation and really takes advantage of the characters as they are. This is the benefit of creating characters before the story, which was how the development of Circle Games happened.
Another Round happened differently, for the most part; and for better or for worse, I have a character who must be motivated out of love. I think when I wrote the outline I envisioned him as having loyalty to his ideals, but as I get to know him better I realize that he has to operate (as stupid as it might sound) out of shear love. This makes him much more difficult to write because I'm not sure how to write characters in this mode. It's certainly a reflection of myself, and as I noted to Paula last night, all of my characters don't relax and have the guard up most of the time.
I wrote one short story, probably the single best work I've gotten out yet, that's seven pages or so, and I think it really captures love or something reasonably close. The problem is that in seven pages, characters needn't be motivated to do anything other than sit on a park bench and watch what's going on around them, which is exactly what this character does. I wrote this particular story in my voice which for all of the poor stylistic implications, seems to be effective in such formats.
This is something that I'll likely wrestle with for quite some time, but I think with a little work, my fiction won't suffer terribly. I do fear that someone's going to hand Circle Games back to me and tells me that there's something fundamentally wrong with the way the characters are developed. But then I fear that I'm going to get a marked up manuscript and someone's going to tell me that there are huge structural holes in it, but that's just part of the cycle I suppose.
Another Round is a great project with a lot of potential. Writing it is going to be hard though. Really hard. I can see it now, but I can also see that I'll get it done. I'm embarking on it just as I realize that I'm loosening my interest in science fiction, and as I realize that I'm not quite ready for the land of contemporary/mainstream fiction. Another Round is an epic tale (sans hero), told basically in the form of a three act play (it's prose though), which I hope is unique.
Perhaps it'll take more than nine months, and actually I hope it takes more than nine months, because I want to have a long term project that last me the whole school year. I also know that I want to work on other projects, other fiction things, so I'm probably going to dedicate a little bit of my energy this summer to getting outlines and plans ready for other projects that I can work on during the year.
I don't want to put it down and forget about it and lose rhythm, but I don't think that's possible, if I can get past chapter six, which is still a ways off (as long as I'm done with part one, and have a little bit of part two), then I'll be safe. Part one could, in theory stand alone. It's integral to the story, and it couldn't be cut out, but the plot changes gears there, and once into part two, it'll live for sure.
So I don't know where this leaves me. One of the things that I thought finishing Circle Games so early would allow me to do is to rest during the end of the school year, and then be able to hop to right now. I haven't been so lucky. I'm realizing that the pattern I'm using right now isn't working, but rather than allow myself to slip and loose too much territory I need to change something in hopes of jump starting the process. Writing more/different things is a start, reading more is always a good thing too. I'm also going to be on vacation or at least out of town for a while, and hopefully with my laptop, a few good and friendly notebooks, and a change of scenery I'll be able to move in the right direction.
My most sincere apologies for not proofing this entry as much as it needs.