Friday, August 04, 2006

Update on "Marshall Re-Think"

That's an interesting title for a posting! Whatever works. (lol)

As mentioned in my last posting, I'm re-thinking my novel, THE REFLECTING STONE, using the book THE MARSHALL PLAN as a guide to re-examine the story from conception through to completed draft. This is an in-depth look at the story to see if I want to plan for any changes as I continue with the editing.

Over the past several days, I've re-examined several major issues with the story and considered some fundamental-to-the-story alternatives that I had wondered about previously ("should it go this way or that way"). It's interesting that so far in most cases what I had already decided still stands up as the best alternative. That's reassuring, in that I see I really did put considerable thought into things over the past months when I planned then wrote the complete draft, and what I came up with is very solid. However, I know there are still a few key questions I have to work on and there may yet be some important changes in this edit.

One decision I reviewed in depth was what distinguishes the main character, Thor, from his best friend, Sven. There is one quality that I gave Thor but not Sven, but I realized that in some situations in the story it would actually be better if Sven had that quality. In some scenes, it would be substantially better as it would create more of a struggle for the main character, Thor. However, I see that in spite of that, and allowing for the loss of the potential strength of those scenes, overall it still works better for Thor to possess this quality. It was one of those plot decisions I had to make that is messy, since there are good things in either direction, but it was important to choose the option that worked best overall.

Another question was the selection of main turning points at the end of each Act. Is the progression logical, and does it develop ever-escalating conflict and danger? I have been thinking of switching a couple of the sequences, essentially changing the importance of some opposition characters, but I see that what I did was right and again it works best overall, even though there would be good reasons to switch things around. Not every decision is cut and dry. Sometimes going off in one direction with the plot comes with regrets over what is missed by not going in the other direction, but not every option can be reconciled and included together in the same story. Some choices really are "either/or".

Not every issue I've examined has resulted in a decision to leave things as they are. In reconfirming some details, I've also recognized the importance of tying together the various pieces in the conclusion. So, a couple of significant changes are under consideration. A major character that was going to be far from the final conflict scene is likely now going to be present at it. He's not directly involved in it -- at least, he wasn't -- but I see now where his participation is necessary. Also, another major character that I had killed off prior to the end of the story is now going to live to see the end of the story. So, those are two significant changes in the works, but they're not a "done deal" yet, until I finish working through the story to be sure that these changes do work and how they would impact other things. As significant as these changes are, they still fit within the overall storyline, which has held well up under scrutiny. I have not found any need yet to change anything so fundamental that the core plot line would be altered, and don't think I will. It's more a question of how to best realize that basic plot line through all the many details.

I'm continuing the review of the story and hope to wrap it up this weekend and get back to the actual editing as well before Monday.


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