Monday, May 12, 2008

Black Science: MayNoWriMo Progress Report #1

I'm not getting very far into Black Science yet. I have none of the historical interludes yet. I'm struggling with the opening sequence. I may have to pad the word count with cancelled versions, though I hope not. I've still only written about 4,700 words. Still, I have the idea from last post, which basically boils down to terrorist war between eugenicists and creationists. But once again a book has completely changed a story while I'm writing it. The book this time is Monkey Trials & Gorilla Sermons: Evolution and Christianity from Darwin to Intelligent Design by Peter J. Bowler. It's basically a history of the theory of evolution and its repeated clashes with creationists since the 19th century. Since in it Bowler shows that Darwinism wasn't the dominant theory of evolution in the early 20th century (until the new science of genetics merged with it) and that the "intelligent design" people frequently clash with the hardcore fundamentalist young-earth creationists, the opening to Black Science now looks petty and malinformed. I can no longer add onto the opening, like I normally would in a first draft. I must replace it completely, or Black Science simply cannot be written at all.

Basically what the book did was unblock the writing of a book I've been unable to write. But whenever a new idea unblocks me, it does so by forcing me to completely change everything. Usually I'm in the middle of a WriMo; the combination of deadline and target word count usually force me to leave in the now useless cancelled chapters so I can pad the word count. I hate this; it infuriates me. I feel like Sisyphus forced back to the bottom of the mountain to roll the boulder right back up again. But it seems to always happen, especially when writing a first draft, which thus becomes a completely unreadable catastrophe because of it. What's worse, I always leave huge plot holes. Well, I guess I'll just have to mark the first two chapters "Cancelled" and then follow them up with their replacements.

Meanwhile, I've done little research yet, and Black Science is the kind of novel that requires some pretty heavy research. In fact, I've done almost no research on it since NaNoWriMo '06, when I wrote the self-destructing original version that I would quickly discard except for two scenes which I decided to keep and rewrite. None of the historical characters (except, of course, for their fictional ex-colleague, who happens to be one of my main villains) have been written into the story yet, nor have I written any of the historical interludes.

Right now I'm way too agitated over both this and my Web browser's misbehavior to be able to write. I need to calm myself down, then go directly to bed. But I'll write myself a note. And then I'll start my way back up the mountain.

Back to Spanner‘s World...

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