Change Itself

First, let me pat myself on the back by saying that I’m up to 13,791 words (or 350,000 in manuscript words) for Hear the Grass Grow.

Now, let me take myself back down that peg, and a couple more for good measure, by saying that I am 207 words behind my average daily goal. And considering I started keeping track on February 18th, that is almost 2.5 months worth of 200 words a day, or… 15,000 words.

Next, on to the actual point of the post: Change. I’m almost 14,000 words into a story that I’m fairly happy with so far (and I’m not quitting on yet!) but I’m contemplating a change that would move the whole time line of the story back 40-50 years. If this were my Space Opera “The Nine Mothers” then 40-50 years would be nothing since the entire universe there is a complete fabrication. But HtGG is set in the “near-future” – currently 100 years in the future.

If we compare 2008 to 1908, obviously a lot has changed, but really, the biggest societal change that I see is the invention of TV. And Hear the Grass Grow is more about society than science (at least I hope it is). So now the real point of the post: I don’t want to have to make up some fresh, new idea about what technology is going to be like 100 years from now. I want to dabble in that a bit, because it’s fun, but the story is more about the characters and how their lives are affected by the events that take place in the story, more than how the technology of the time has changed, or how that new technology affects them.

I believe it’s a good thing that I’m writing my story/novella/novel/whatever in this manner, because most of the guidelines for submission to SFF magazines specify that they prefer character-driven stories.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to create worlds that are completely different from (yet somehow so similar to) our own; I want to dream up fascinating new technology; I want to be innovative. I just don’t think this is the story in which I want to – and perhaps can not – do that.

And from the standpoint of a still-aspiring author, having gleaned what knowledge and wisdom I can from the actually-published authors whom I read on a daily basis, changing it is good. I think the general advice goes: You’re most likely going to end up rewriting most of what you’re currently writing anyway. So if a key set piece or setting date needs changing, it’s better to do it at 14,000 words than at 50,000 words. Now, back to contemplating my spreadsheet with the new dates…

And yes, the comment about TV is meant to be somewhat inflammatory, but also thought-provoking, and perhaps even comment-worthy.

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