author’s note, writing chapter 6
Posted by jeanne
i’ve only got one more chapter until i finish the first section. there are 42 chapters in 6 sections of 7 chapters each, just so you know. i finally have a reader who is struggling to get thru these first chapters, and so i’m seriously considering changing this first section to make it more readable.
i haven’t gotten a report from my reader, but i expect that the criticism has two foci. the two main characters are not interesting, and the whole thing is too technical. about the only part of the story that is interesting is the part about nathan and his family, a typically dysfunctional all-in-the-family-like setup which spirals down into tragicomic farce in the end.
however, this is a fictional story dealing with real scientific facts and speculations, and making use of actual developments in modern technology. and as such, there’s a learning curve, and there are facts and basic explanations, and advanced explanations, and superedgy explanations i don’t begin to understand. you have to learn physics to follow this, for example. and that’s not going to fly because i’m not that compelling and followed a writer for anybody to want to slog thru dry physics primers before getting to the action.
and unfortunately, the action doesn’t really start until the videogame starts, in the 3rd section. that’s chapter 21. who’s going halfway thru a dry textbook to get to the good stuff? not me.
so what do i do? come back to the dry stuff later? intersperse it thru the good stuff? abandon it?
but i can’t really abandon it, because it’s quantum physics, it’s not like what we take for granted about the world, it’s hidden knowledge that you expose in stages. i suppose you could call it the definition of occult knowledge. and it’s the whole point of the story.
the lessons of quantum physics are about to be absorbed and used by the regular populace of this world that we’re living in now. that’s the next paradigm change, we’re in the middle of the beginning of it, and what i’m trying to write (i said teach at first) is vital information for adapting to the new quantum age. so i can’t throw that part out.
i can make a metaphor for it, which is what the story itself is, really. but i could further sublimate the actual knowledge into the metaphor. and that’s what i decided to do in chapter 5, where kurt creates the quantum kernel. and i did that because it’s too much for me to understand myself, so how the fuck could i tell you? and i had to work in metaphor, in drug-induced dreamstates featuring the geniuses nicola tesla and wilhelm reich on a bender.
i thought it was effective, but my reader skipped entirely over it and went on to nathan’s family.
hmm. so what do i do?
when i put the story together in outline form, i interwove the story of the game with the story of what’s happening in the world in its struggle to change/not change. they don’t run in the same time period – the game can be played in a matter of hours, the real world timeline goes on for 3-4 years. but i run them concurrently. and because one of them is a videogame, that’s okay. everyone understands the change in timescale from one chapter to the next (partly because they’re consistent – gameworld/realworld/gameworld/realworld).
if i were to interleave the technical stuff into this already woven structure, what then?
then we could start with the game, with action. and then move to the game development (in the realworld)? and then into the realworld (at a much later date)?
at this point, the events of the game development way precede other events in the outside world that if i ran them together would be happening at the same time. and i can’t see that.
my other alternative is to eliminate most of the first 7 chapters about the development of the game. that would mean encapsulating a year’s worth of the team’s effort, and minimizing all the details of not only game development but quantum physics and modern scientific achievements. which would put this story on the level of the dan brown and the celestine prophecy, when i was hoping for something more like a popular book on quantum physics that stops just short of equations and dwells on the consciousness connection.
this is my current dilemma. i’m not going to actually do anything about it until i’ve finished the first draft of chapter 7, and then i’ll print it all out and edit it. at that point i’ll make any major course corrections. hopefully it won’t come to that, tho. that would echo too precisely what happens in my story.