Friday, October 10, 2014

Spanner R5 #amediting Update: The New Direction

Resetting the first four books of Chaos Angel Spanner four years in the future has changed some things, some in major ways. Admittedly, the new Book 1 had become something of a mess in the edit. I was attempting my own version of the complicated structure science fiction author John Brunner used in his 1967 masterpiece Stand on Zanzibar. Shifting the timeline forward allowed me to remove the backstory and pseudo-essay chapters that were getting me in trouble. Now I'm combining chapters and putting parts of some chapters into others. Even the Intro, which I thought I got completely finished two years ago, isn't untouched; parts of what was to be the following chapter got moved there, including both the prologue and the quote section from Chapter 1 R4.

I've simplified Book 1's structure. I'm building on a flashback-narrative structure that alternates "present day" and "earlier today" chapters for the first two-thirds to three-quarters of the book, after which I may alternate the long climactic chapters with shorter chapters containing crucial backstory reveals. Various character threads get introduced in the second story chapter ("Welcome to Spanner's World") and split apart in all directions only to collide in the final two chapters ("Prelude to Ascension" and "Spanner in the Works") and the explosive climax. All the main story chapters will remain, but I'm adding a few new scenes and moving some of the backstory there. Moved into the story chapters, backstory flashbacks will need to serve as important reveals or Shocking Revelations, or I'll move them elsewhere or edit them out. My goal is to make it more readable for the casual reader who's used to similarly structured thrillers.

I'm expanding Leila's role in Book 1. Originally I had her appear in three scenes: one toward the beginning, one in the middle, and one near the very end. This worked when the new Book 1 was merely Chapter 1, the equivalent of a television pilot episode. It doesn't work so well when what was a chapter expands into an entire novel. She's one of the most important characters in the entire series, more important to the action than just being Shira's love interest, so she deserves an expanded role in the volume that introduces her. And so instead of just sending her off toward Seattle sleeping in the back of her aunt Ariel's car at the very end, I'm putting her front and center in the climax. She wasn't in the original "Spanner in the Works" from 2010; now she's one of the reasons it happens.

So far I've added to the Intro and finished the first story chapter, "First Blast of the Trumpet" (the name's a reference to the folktale Jack the Giant-Killer, in which Jack begins the battle against the final giant by calling the villagers to his aid with his horn, and from which I'm taking the series' myth arc). I have three scenes left to do in "Welcome to Spanner's World", two existing scenes to edit and one expansion of the final scene. I've taken several quotes, from both characters and real-life people, from the now omitted chapter "The Age of Unreason" and inserted them in "Welcome..."; other parts will go into Interlude 0 and into later chapters.

My goal is to get as much of Book 1 edited before NaNoWriMo as I can. Here goes...

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