Writers know you never completely let go of a project at the first draft stage, but it’s sensible to take some sort of break from the work. Last week, I did a few odds and ends but nothing substantial. This week, I’ve been domestically quite busy. The garden called for some labour. I attended a couple of local theatre productions, both of which were very good. If you have a chance to see Pantaloons’ highly amusing version of Pride and Prejudice, or the Pipeline Theatre’s wonderfully moving ‘Spillikin’ do take that opportunity. I’ve also been researching grants for a local charity where I’m a trustee. And, of course, living in the Forest of Dean, I can’t let most days go by without taking a walk amongst the trees with my lovely wife. You’ll find a post here about one such walk. I’ve read and reviewed a couple of books: ‘NSA’ by Benny Neylon, and ‘Creating Stories’ by Hank Quense. I posted my usual language tip, number 31, and a reminder to regular visitors that I’d updated my Writing Contests table. So I’ve been quite busy.
As for work on the current WIP, I’ve printed out a map of Mars and marked it with the locations of the various places mentioned in the novel. The 9 sections of research material listed in Scrivener are now ready for consultation. I watched the TV programme, ‘Stargazing Live from Australia’ with Prof Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain over two nights, as there was some pertinent information to be absorbed there. And I’ve started reading the excellent ‘A Brief History of Tomorrow’, ‘Homo Deus’ by the brilliant author of ‘Sapiens’, Yuval Noah Harari. This is a thoughtful, well-researched exposition of a possible future for mankind and I’m reading it to glean new ideas from this wise man. If you haven’t read ‘Sapiens’, by the way, you’ll find my review of this excellent book here. If you can, read the book; it’s a brilliant piece of writing. I’ll also read Prof Brian Cox’s ‘Forces of Nature’ for a reminder of various aspects of science relating to topics I address in the novel. In science fiction it’s almost impossible for the author to have too much science as background.
I meant to mention, last week, another excellent aid to editing I found through the craft of Kathy Steinemann. The Writer’s Lexicon is a great book for discovering exactly the right word to liven up the writing. I shall be using it when I do the penultimate edit of the WIP.
So, that’s the current situation. I’ve a great deal of reading to do, accompanied by note taking, during the coming week. Once that’s complete, I can begin the actual editing process with a little more confidence that I’ve accessed as much current science as I can. The story may include little of what I learn, but I’ll have it there in the back of my mind to inform the structure and content. After all, it’s the story that really matters, isn’t it?