With my Pitch Wars submission complete, the waiting game has begun. That means work has resumed on my work-in-progress, and I’m excited to get back to work. I have a lot to do, but while I felt trepidation prior to the past two phases, with this one it’s different. Each time I’ve started a new phase, I’ve been worried: I don’t know exactly where to take this, I don’t know where this is going, I don’t know how characters will develop. And yet, each time the words flowed. So yes, I don’t know exactly where this is going. But I’m confident that I will find my way, and by the time I’ve finished my research for the next phase, I’ll be full of new ideas, and eager to write on.
That said, here’s where things are right now:
Between my submission and getting to know other writers involved with Pitch Wars, safe to say I’m a little behind, but I’ve been back at it for a couple days. At this point, I’ve nearly completed my major revisions on phases one and two, and feel pretty good. Having taken a week away from things, I’ve found myself making more invasive changes (and noticing more than a few errors I hadn’t before).
Perhaps the greatest challenge at this point has been character development, or rather maintaining it. The characters of this story have proven far more endearing, but also far more challenging to write, as they’re more believable. These aren’t the operatic, over-the-top characters created for Wide Horizon. These are real people, placed into situations about as real as science fiction allows. As such, these are people who grow and change, and by the end of phase two many of them have already ceased to be the people they were.
However, overall as I’ve been reading and revising I’m very happy with how the story, and characters, have progressed. I like where everything is going, and I do indeed have a few ideas for what lies ahead. Which brings me to the next step…
With phase three ahead, I will soon begin my research period. I have a lot of reading to do, made more difficult by the obvious reality that, let’s face it, there are few scholarly articles on founding a human colony on an Earth-like planet. Luckily, between research into building colonies on Mars and various projects on Earth over the years, I should have enough to go on. The big challenge will be to determine priorities. Obviously, it’s easy to see what such a colony would need, but in what order would those needs be addressed? What would be the first priority, and what would the process be? Most of my notes thus far have made agriculture a major factor in the colony: I’ve written extensive notes on the process of establishing agriculture, one of the most prominent members of the administrative board (Vilsack) is an agrobiologist, and many of the colonists I’ve named thus far are farmers. So obviously much of the coming chapters will deal with the process of growing crops and establishing food self-sufficiency. But of course there must be more.
Much remains to be done. I have a lot of deeply-technical chapters ahead, and through it all I’ll need to explore the forming relationships between the core characters now that they’re no longer stranded together on an alien planet.
I can’t wait to see where this takes me. – MK