In The Flesh: Details and Delays

Alas, the publish date for In The Flesh has been pushed back.  I’ve run into several problems.  Firstly I’m having trouble writing the final few chapters.  I know the major plot points but the bridging is tasking me.  A lot of exciting character development is happening and it takes quite a bit of time and usually several passes through the chapter to get dialogue even close to right.  This slows me down considerably.  Then I need to research quite a bit to set the landscape properly.  I’m pretty sure the end result will be worth it but the delay is a bit disappointing and I have no one to blame but myself.

There is also the matter of cover art, which I don’t have yet but that’s minor.  It would set my mind at ease to have it but it’s not actually holding up the book at this time.  The artist I’ve selected is fantastic so I know the art will be totally worth the wait.

I’ve been using a word processing software called Scrivner by Literature and Latte and I have been pleased to discover new features as I write.  It’s fantastic software for fiction writers.  It’s quite cumbersome for non-fiction as formatting in that it can be a struggle if you want to mix unlikely formats.  For example I wanted to do a memoir with a cited research sort of scientific notation flavor since there were some facts I had sources for.  Also I wanted distinct sections of the book and that was a chore to figure out how to do.  I’m not entirely certain I’m completely happy with it yet but there is considerable flexibility in the software so I might yet figure out a way.   If you want to keep the same format throughout that’s fairly easy.  I’m going to play with it and see if I can get the headers to be different for each chapter but if not the book title is sufficient and traditional.

Otherwise everything is still moving forward and it is very exciting.  My hopes for In The Flesh are that it’s an easy read, meaning well written with likable characters, an enjoyable read, meaning lots of exciting adventure and plenty of forays into science details, and a classic style science fiction book.  If I succeed in those areas I will be satisfied and I hope readers will love it.

When Characters take on a Life of Their Own

Perhaps other authors have encountered this phenomenon, when a character starts directing what he or she will or will not do in a story.  It has happened to me several times. I will be writing with a clear plan in mind for a certain character and I’ll hit the point where something critical has to happen and suddenly the character seems to take over and the action goes in a completely different direction.  Characters will do things I never intended for them to do, they will say things that appall me that I would never say and never planned for them to say.

In my upcoming novel In The Flesh I have two characters who are arguing over who gets to do and say what.  I will write something fully intending for one of them to do it and the other will insist that he does it.  This has happened several times.

More fantastically the entire novel has taken on a life of its own.  I have had the story take turns I never planed it to take.  I just finished up a chapter I had to write and re-write 4 or 5 times.  Every time I wrote it the narrative seemed to go wrong for the novel.  Finally, like threading a needle, I managed to get it written correctly for the book.

Now I know the philosophical or analytical will go on about how this is my subconscious taking control of characters and story line, and that’s probably true.  But this means that the characters have far richer lives deep in my imagination than I’m even fully aware of and that is wonderful.