author’s note: writing chapter 6.5
Posted by jeanne
it’s becoming more and more apparent that i’m going to need to completely rewrite the first section, and that makes it difficult to concentrate on finishing this last 2 chapters.
i was reading about trilogies, and at the midpoint of the trilogy, there is despair (at the end of the 2nd star wars, there’s han solo getting frozen, and luke losing his hand. all is lost). unfortunately, that’s pretty much the scene at the end of the first section of this sextet. otoh, my story, broken into three pieces, the beginning of the videogame is when the good stuff starts. and by good stuff, i mean that the first half of the story is background. making the game, tinkering with the game, background and science. so why don’t i just write playing the game? and never mind all the preamble. or do it like they did star wars and write it backwards, the game first and all the preamble second.
so of course there are now a million things to distract me, most of which are because i left the door open for distractions. however, this is a year of the sudden golden opportunity, so i’m not going to be a fool, i’m going to drift a little. i’m still writing, still thinking about my story.
one of the distractions i have assigned myself is going to iceland. for research. to write the game part of the story. once the maps came out for inclusion into the story line, i spent more and more time with the maps (i just adore maps), and did my usual thing. looking at the contour lines and the rivers and mountains, i see the three-dimensionality of it popping off the page, and then i’m down there swooping thru the glacial valleys thinking about what path i want to take to the top. it happens every time. i get as close as i can to walking into the landscape, and i can spend hours doing it.
so anyway, i started thinking about going to that landscape, which of course i can’t because it’s currently covered by a mile of ice. so i was looking at the next best thing. which is to take an artist’s residency and hang out as close to the poles as i could get. so, to avoid a long story, i applied to a place at the very north end of iceland, where the land looks very similar to what antarctica will look like once all the ice melts. so this ends up being a novel about global warming, too, i hadn’t realized that at first. it is, in fact, to do with the icecaps all melting, and there are lots of consequences to it, even tho it’s not the central theme of the story or anything like it.
as a distraction, an artist’s residency is wonderful. you have to start planning for it a year in advance, and it can take up lots of time, there’s lots of research to be done, blog posts to be written, correspondence to be struck up, and time spent looking with longing at live feed webcams. the planning is endless, and i’ll be chronicling it on my travel blog. but of course it takes me away from the difficulty of writing something even i can see has to be redone.
i’m also beginning to plan my kickstarter campaign (another distraction), and here is the first mention of my thinking on it. everything is tied in to the eventual publishing of this novel. it’s the first novel i’ve written that i’ve felt needed publishing. the others are things i might could edit and polish and get published, but this is one that i feel should be read. which is the main reason it’s all going up on the internet as i’m writing it. and nobody’s going to read this early effort, because it’s stabbing around in the dark, and no serious author guarding their reputation would let anybody read this early effort, because it’s shit. but i want to leave the whole trail, both as a cautionary tale, and as an example of how to write a novel. i do want to have people following the progress, i do want to engage readers, i do want a dialog with people who are thinking about these things. but not with this level of writing. and i know that. so i’m not expecting readers now. when it’s worth reading, then i expect people to find it and read it.
the point of that was that my efforts of this probable ten year period will be directed to creating this novel and seeing it out into the world. and this is a very long time to be working without success. a long time to suffer the opinions of friends and family that i should get a real job and never mind this digital masturbation. but i keep ignoring them, because inside i’m convinced that i’m doing what i should be doing, and that all i have to do is keep doing it, and miracles will happen.
the kickstarter campaign will begin by bringing in enough funding to get me to iceland, and around iceland, and back from iceland. this is the first stage. the second stage will come during the production of the graphic novel, when we will have to cover printing and marketing costs. as incentives for the first stage, i will be producing an artist’s book while i’m in iceland (yet another current distraction, as i source icelandic fish leather for the cover), and donors will get pages of this book. incentives for the second stage will include originals of the graphic pages. all of this will be covered in my art blog.
so this is a year and a half into a multi-year project, doing this research, writing this novel, illustrating it, publishing it, and marketing it. it may well come to nothing, but i believe in it – rather, i am compelled to do it – and i’m going to go along with it as well as i can.