Okay. I’m nearly a quarter of the way through the book; almost done with Page One of a six page matrix outline, and…I’m already veering from the outline. Hugely. Massively. Need to recalibrate things variation.
TL:DR–it’s turning into a family relationship novel. Futuristic family relationship novel with space, fun electronic gadgets, pew-pew moments (oh come on, I even have a pew-pew-pew sound effect in the first few paragraphs, I DARE the Sad Puppies to read it when it comes out!), true. A delicious mashup of two genres I like without some of the stupid stuff that makes my head hurt in both genres (ie, Look Boys, the Girls Are In Charge Here, Don’t Be Idiots).
It’s a good variation, really, because it’s taking some rather dubious threads and breathing them into a reality that is better than the original. This book was always going to be about the transition from one generation to the next one in storytelling focus for the Netwalk Sequence. But to be honest, it’s now clear to me that I hadn’t thought very much about what that really means–and that’s what is fueling the story changes.
Point One: the character of Andrew is changing immensely. He was a bad guy in Netwalk, starts to soften in Netwalker Uprising, and now–is at the point where he and Melanie collaborate against their mother in Netwalk’s Children. I assure you, he was not going to unbend this much in my original conception. He was going to quite happily go out being the bad guy who absolutely hates his sister’s guts up until he dies, just like their uncle did to their mother. Only he was to die for a good reason–okay, then, I guess that happens to his son Richard, with an ill-fated name (no, not gonna tell you why until Netwalking Space).
Yeah, well, Andrew’s pissed off, alienated death not happening now. Why? I gave them kids. A daughter for Melanie, a son and daughter for Andrew. Then I put them into danger, the same danger. From their grandmother, who means oh so well but is being manipulated by a malignant entity, the Gizmo. Melanie’s better set up to defend the kids than Andrew, so of course they’re going to cooperate to protect their kids, especially once they realize that the Gizmo is driving the game. But they have limitations as well. The kids have to come up with something.
Point Two: I’ve dispensed with the clunky use of two devices to access digital/virtual world. In both Netwalk and Netwalker Uprising, I had Dialogue as the primary wireless implant chip and Netwalk for those planning to upload at death/managing the dead personas known as Netwalkers. Now it’s all Netwalk, and the upload is not a given. Fifteen years difference, so yeah, tech has changed. Bess is reviewing the old Netwalk 3 chip development process as part of her training and there’s a Netwalk 5 in prototype.
Point Three: I’ve already thrown in ONE WHOLE NEW PLOT THREAD, OUCH which involves Sneaky Doings That Will Make Everything Worse. Hey, the story needed it. And Richard’s being stupid ends up revealing what the Stupid Sneaky Doings were, though maybe that doesn’t stop them. The fallout from that action is in the next book.
And so on.
Mind you, I don’t regret creating the matrix and I think it has really helped with the development of this story. What I’m discovering is that the use of this planning technique seems to help me get through the fleshing out of some smaller threads that needed more development in first draft rather than leaving this sort of integration into a second draft rewrite. My hope is that this leads to a tighter first draft. I’m already finding it useful for getting my head back into the story during packing, painting, and traveling. April will really put this system to the test.
And. With most of the scenes plotted out, I’m discovering this leaves me free to think more about characters, interactions, and story development.
It’s going to be very interesting to see what this story looks like when I’m done with it.