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Expounding on Expanding

I have started work on expanding my story Lifeboats.  Starting with a copy of the original, which is a series of vignettes, I write two or three sentences in upper case between the vignettes to describe the scenes I have in mind, which is not to say that things won’t change by the time I flesh them out.  Soon, I will go back and turn those outlines into story.

The biggest expansion is with the Johnson family, who already featured in two of the vignettes.  Now I am adding in what happened after the kids grew up – easy enough to do in a story that covers over fifty years.

Also getting more air time is Martin Pearce, who starts out as a young reporter but ends up being a founding member of Solar News Service.  Colin Burke gets more time as well, the British bureaucrat who ends up leading a quiet revolution on Mars.  So too Robert Vance and Vance Instruments, who play a crucial role in the story.

The problem I am running into with the story is the timeline.  When I first wrote it, all the way back in 1995, I either had an outline on a legal pad – now in paper heaven – or did the upper case outline on the word processor, removing the outline as I actually wrote the sections.  Therefore, it is a little hard to remember exactly what was supposed to happen when.  It is mostly there, clues to when things happen are embedded in the story, but it is a little difficult to bring it all back.

Then there are the anachronisms.  The world has changed since 1995 and, as Disney Imagineers will tell you, it is hard keeping up with a future that persists in becoming the present.  I actually have some reference to internet-type things in the original story, but there are a few things that will need to be changed or updated along the way.  For one thing, I will need to change my references to the Shuttle a little, it being somewhat retired now (thankfully!).

There is also a pacing issue.  The story had always been meant to be a fast read, using one character or event to suggest that the same story was being repeated by millions or billions of other people or events and not spending a lot of time on them.  Now I am expanding on the back-story and that will, per force, slow the story down a little.  Still, in the decade and a half since I wrote this, I have written two novel-length stories, outlined another, and written several short stories, so I would hope to think that I have learned a little more about pacing and enticement in that time.

If I have made it sound like the purpose of the rewrite is just to make it longer, that is not the case.  The first time I came back to it for an honest re-read, my thought was that I had left a lot out.  Even though the story was really supposed to be about economic principles, there was a lot glossed over.  And, to be honest, some of the economic line was a little too strident – hey, I was a new convert! – and I will take the opportunity to tone it down a little, mostly in the interest of entertainment, which has to be the top priority of any story.

 

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