Thursday, December 08, 2011

My Novel's Journey: Neeta Lyffe 2 Gets new Life

This is my sister, Gina, modeling as Neeta.  How cool is that?
I had a rough time in the past week trying to get back into writing Neeta Lyffe II:  I Left My Brains in San Francisco.  The information I got from my contact at the oil refinery helped while confusing me at the same time.  I just didn't know how to get it all coordinated.  I also found that I needed to have more scenes earlier to set things up.  Finally, I was a little disgusted with the last couple of scenes I'd written at the end.  They were good scenes, but I didn't like Neeta taking charge of coordination when she really needed to be chopping zombie heads.

Here's the thing about us authors--sometimes, we really really hate discarding something we worked hard on.  But when we finally gut ourselves up to it, we can move on to write something even better.

The oil refinery analogy worked only up to a point, but they're making fuel out of manure in Neeta 2, so some stuff didn't work.  Rather than trying to shoehorn my refinery to an existing model, I needed to let go of it.  Then, of course, the perfect model presented itself--Digestion!  it will no longer be the more accurate refinery processes I'd been aiming at and had done hours of research on, but it's going to be a lot more fun--and this is humor, after all.

As I started putting in the scenes, which is really a medly of actions with several characters rather than a straight-line progression with Neeta, I realized that the scene I was sticking on wasn't going to work.  The old scene had an inexperienced zombie exterminator manager with a doctorate thesis trying to force his ideas for large scale zombie infestation on a situation that didn't fit.  Neeta was having to put him down and take over in order to save lives.  It was a good scene and I wanted her to have a situation where she asserted herself, but it made her coordinator instead of exterminator.  And why do we read about Neeta?  Because she kicks zombie butt.  I finally axed the scenes--about 2000 words--but once I did, other more natural situations showed up for her to regain her confidence.  As a bonus, Doctor Storm Matterston still got to be an admin weenie, only a slightly more successful one--and he even got to flirt with someone.  He's a happier character, now.

I'm building steam, and think I can finish this beast by the end of the year, which is my goal.  However, if I'd insisted on clinging to past work, research and ideas, I think I would have spent the week banging my head against the wall. 

So, if something you're doing isn't working, instead of trying to power through it, back up and try it from a new angle, even if it means tossing out a great idea, disregarding research or killing off a character.  You may find that something even better rises from the ruins.

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