Friday, August 23, 2013

Spanner R5 Update: Close to the Edit, or Chapter 1 Almost Complete

It's been a long time since I posted an entry or even used Twitter and Google+, so it's like I'm coming back into the world again. My severe case of Editor's Block is over, and I'm ready to return to the world. Fortunately, I've made progress on Chapter 1 and elsewhere in the final draft of Spanner Book 1. So here's my progress so far:

Chapter 1:
  • Leila's introduction scene now contains forward references to 1.7, Interlude 5, and her decision to go nameless in Chapters 12 and 13.
  • Shira's introduction scene (her videoblog post) is completely revised. I realized I had her ever so slightly out of character in all previous versions, so I corrected that. And now she issues an even more provocative challenge.
  • The later villain Admiral Currie who enters the story in Chapter 20? His name now opens his reporter daughter Amanda's intro scene, since after all he destroyed her life and now rules it (see: Interlude 12).
  • Most of the flashbacks and several scenes in present continuity now fit in Revision 5 continuity.
  • Remember Rebel Styles from Chapter 2? She's now in the "Newark ghetto" scene in Chapter 1, scaring right-wing militia types to death and making the survivors panic right into the waiting SRO squad.
  • I added a new intro screen for Richard Becket, Chapter 1's main antagonist. He now represents the fusion of high finance and dark wizardry. His failure in Chapter 1 is what begins his brother Henry's rise to supreme power.
  • I added one new character, a "shounen hero" who I kill off the same way Neal Stephenson kills off his "typical cyberpunk hero" in the first chapter of The Diamond Age. This new character is a Brazilian hoverboard champion named Oscar Ribeiro who goes by the handle Blackflag.
  • A "propaganda reel" serves as the new second scene, to reveal the official Party line in the style of the opening credits to a superhero cartoon.
  • I rearranged the order of the early scenes completely, and I'm probably going to reorder them again, possibly even more than once.
  • Last but not least, I finally found a way to edit together the two versions of Jennifer's and Henry Becket's long intro scenes, the task that's been stymieing me for so long.
It's not complete yet, but I'm closer than ever and ready to take on those two big scenes.

Later Chapters:
  • Chapter 2: I decided I'll completely rework this one. I've added new scenes and plan to shorten some older scenes and throw others out.
  • Chapter 4: 4.4 is now much better than the original. Up to Revision 4, I left it largely unchanged. I condensed the opening 3-paragraph exposition to just one shorter paragraph, gave Desiree an aura of superstitious terror among the Russian gangsters befitting her "electrifying" superpowers, gave the Italian mobsters a priest who's after the Gnostic gospel Desiree's trying to deliver to Ariel, and added a new tension between Desiree and Ariel. Desiree now gives Ariel an ultimatum: bring Lucie back to me, or you won't get your gospel and Uncle Richard might even kill me to steal it.
  • Chapter 12: when Leila renounces her name at the end, she gets a new dream scene signifying a major change in her character.
  • Chapter 15: I'm restoring the Jennifer videoblog post I originally planned for Revision 4. I've already moved the "precogs go mad" prelude back to the beginning of Chapter 14, where it was in Revision 2 and the R3 plan. I have new plans for major revisions to 15.6.
  • Chapter 23: In retrospect, there were certain important scenes in the R4 plan that I ended up not writing. I'm adding those scenes to R5. Meanwhile, I intend to make the super battle in the sky much clearer.
  • I'm tracing several threads, not just new ones but ones I was still neglecting in Revision 4, so that I don't drop them in the final version. Since I put so much new stuff in Revision 4, I'm moving scenes around, adding new ones to develop the final continuity, and throwing away any scenes that don't fit.
So that's what I've been up to while I was in hiding. I've set for myself a hard deadline for Chapter 1: the end of this month. I want to get at least up to Chapter 8 fully edited before NaNoWriMo. And I'll continue to update right here. My plan is to whet your appetite by publishing Chapter 1 online first.

Stay tuned...


  1. Good luck with your next lot of edits! Seems you've made great progress so far. I often think the first chapter is the toughest to get just right.

    I am a bit lost at the moment with my own edits as I feel like I have so much work to do and am being buried underneath it all! But you have to start somewhere, as I know well :)

  2. Thanks, Trisha, and good luck to you too! :)