Hello, dreamers. It’s been some time since I made my weekly posts, but with my recovery complete I feel it’s time to get back to work. That means getting back to work on Pathfinder, and though I’m easing back into things, I have made progress. That said, here’s what’s been going on:
The going has been slow the past few days, but while that’s somewhat frustrating, I’ve taken comfort in the knowledge that I was nearly to the end of Phase 1 of The Pioneer before the story really took on a life of its own, and already I can feel things clicking into place. So far, the past two days have yielded only a couple pages, but things are feeling better.
I keep saying it, but when I first resumed work, Pathfinder was a mess. While The Pioneer takes place far from Earth, Pathfinder was originally conceived partly as a story about Earth, telling the reader what has happened over the nearly seventy-year period between present day and the point where this series of novels takes off. To that end, my original plan was to spend some time introducing Randall Holmes and his crew, then put them aside to focus on politics on Earth.
Ironically, The Pioneer has once again provided inspiration, this time in terms of story structure. One of the strengths of The Pioneer (and Wide Horizon before it) was its focus on a small group of characters. These were relatable characters: not leaders or rulers, but ordinary people thrust into an extraordinary situation. That’s what makes characters feel real: making them people who not only create action, but have action happen to them. To that end, I’ve decided to change my approach. Now, the first part of the story will focus less on political figures on Earth, and more on Holmes and the crew of Pathfinder 7. I plan to focus more on developing their characters, allowing them to form bonds and establishing group dynamics.
Ultimately, I believe the story will be better for it. The planned chapters intended to revolve around leaders of Earth will either be cut down to a chapter or two, or perhaps omitted entirely. I feel I can find a way to work in the necessary background in some other way, and this way the reader will get to know the characters early on, bonding with them.
As it stands right now, I’ve completely removed the first of these “background chapters”. In its place, I’ve been working on a new chapter intended to flesh out the crew, as well as add some interpersonal tension. The next chapter will now revolve primarily around Holmes and Blaine, the crew’s somewhat reluctant robotics expert. I hope to use the chapter to begin establishing the bond between the two characters, one that will play a significant role in the climax of the story.
I feel better about Pathfinder every day. As of right now, I still intend to spend time this month revising The Pioneer, though as I have several people reading it right now I’ve seen fit to step back from the story a bit, affording myself a chance to explore Pathfinder. There will be more to come at the end of the week. Until then, dare to dream. – MK