I had a revelation about the novel recently. It came up quite suddenly, and I’ve thought about it quite a bit to make sure the response is appropriate, and now I’m pretty sure it is.
I started out writing a military science fiction novel. The first half to two-thirds of what I’ve written definitely fit that mold. No doubt about it.
However, in the last half or so if this draft, like 200+ pages, I’ve felt lost. I think I’ve commented on this before. I’ve kept pressing on, looking for the story and never feeling that it quite fit the tone of what I thought I was writing.
Then the revelation came.
Instead of producing an account of a fairly large expeditionary force heading into the great unknown, I’ve actually been working on something more like a scientific survey team’s initial experiences on a new planet.
Yes, it sounds like pretty standard science fiction fare, along the lines of your typical Star Trek episode (with fewer Red Shirts), and it being a first draft it is assuredly crap. At least the way ahead is clear. Or clearer, anyway.
The current plan is to continue with this draft to see how it turns out, then split the manuscript in half – one to be set aside and turned into that military SF book, the other into the scientific survey team’s adventures. It means quite a bit of ‘extra’ writing, but I am getting the opportunity work out, think through, and develop some ideas I’ve been just trying to cram into the story.
If nothing else, it’s providing a lot of background for the world/universe that is coming to life, background that will help significantly with the rewrite(s), even if I’m the only person that ever sees or really knows about any of it.
Like the lemons/lemonade adage, you have to take what comes to you and work with it, in my opinion. Sometimes forcing it, no matter how big the hammer you use, isn’t going to work.