After the great strides forward with the magic and mythology, it's only natural that instead of jumping back into the first draft of THE ISLE, I would feel the necessity of stopping to take yet another look at the plot of this second novel. I ended up going back to the drawing board, re-examining the conflicts, the complications, the plot pillars, etc. I ended up with a whole new slew of questions. I've worked a lot this weekend on this, trying to pin things down again, to make sure I have the plot pillars I really want, the proper spacing over the course of the novel of the main dramatic scenes, etc. And, of course, I still haven't managed to tie it all down again!
So, I'm still stuck in outlining mode, although I've gotten once again a much clearer sense of the story questions and conflicts driving this story. The main issue is honing in on the main conflict, since there are several, exactly as it was in THE REFLECTING STONE. I have a hard time creating just one antagonist and making the story primarily a path toward that antagonist and a major confrontation at the end. Instead, there are a variety of antagonists along the way, and since I tend to work with epic themes, ultimately the entire world is called into question at some point. It's never "man vs. nature" in my stories, although I could theoretically write such a story. Instead, it's man against the following:
--community --tradition --values --religion --individuals who stand in his way --armies that stand in his way --a specific leader of a community --a specific leader of a relgion --a group of powerful leaders --society as a whole --the world as it stands
So, my challenge is always to personalize these larger concepts. Armies are easy to fight. Traditions are much harder. In a combat-mode sense.
I wrote several additional paragraphs for this posting, then just cut them out. I'd like to cut out a lot of things, like spinning my wheels, going in circles, wasting time trying to make progress when I'm not making progress, etc., etc. Anyway, in this case, I was able to think through the questions I've been working on all weekend and suddenly I found my answers, nice and clear, while writing what was the rest of this blog posting. Since I don't want to put that "sensitive" information in the actual blog, I had to edit it out, but I replaced it with this nice paragraph which informs blog readers (actual individuals, people like you, only different, except including you also), that I found the main fight or struggle for the antagonist after all, at a moment when I least expected to, since I was writing a blog posting, not overtly working on my novel, but alas the two were the same.
Okay, need more sleep.
At least I found what I was looking for!
And now I'll take more time later today to work up a fresh new outline from the perspective of this new information. At least I have that to work with now!