Saturday, January 17, 2009


Trevor and I rebroke part of the plot of the YA SF novel today. His input is invaluable because he's read the whole thing all the way through. The agent who sent me a long letter with suggestions has turned out to have a lot of very useful insights, and together my husband and I worked through them, coming up with possible fixes.

One major problem with SF is that there's a barrier to making it suspenseful that I hadn't really thought much about before. The danger is very technical, and it's a challenge to make it visceral. Unfortunately, SF has a bad rap as being dry and boring and so as soon as you talk about structural integrity being compromised, etc. people's eyes roll back and they just don't care. Tell them there's a vampire outside the window and they snap to attention. Being stuck in a space ship with low structural integrity scares me a lot more than a stupid mythical vampire, which is why, I suppose, I write science fiction. The challenge is to make other people care as much as I do without tripping their eye-rolling "oh my gosh the nerd is babbling about something" response.

Which, when I discussed this with Trevor, led to a different discussion about how people just shrug off technical problems with all sorts of things, i.e. the numbers they might get back on a blood test, but obsess over things that are far less likely, or even well near impossible, i.e. being killed by a serial killer. In order for logic to prevail, one needs a strong emotional association. So, that's what I'll be working on in the first act of my novel some more.

My main concern is that I do a re-edit and not get sucked into a redraft. I know when my work needs that, and this isn't the time. Besides that, it would be asking for burnout in a major way.

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