Goal for today: finish “Mad Maudlin.”
In order to do this, I have to remind myself that this is a hack draft. Not the same thing as a bad draft, which is what I have of “Chrysalis”; the problem here is not suckage. It’s that the story needs to be run past several layers of expert consultants, who can tell me how to make the technical aspects go, and only when that’s done will I be able to address the matter of story craft. In theory it would be more efficient to get expert advice first, then write the story, but in practice that hasn’t worked; first I have to nail down my ideas in a form other people can understand. Otherwise my questions are all too vague and hypothetical, which makes getting useful answers hard. So I’m hacking out the general shape of the story, and once I have that I can get my experts to tell me where I’ve gotten their respective fields wrong. Their answers may well change the path the story takes to its destination, but by then I’ll have a firmer handle on what that destination is.
That’s the theory, anyway, and it’s gotten me farther through the draft than my original approach did. And if this works, there’s hope yet for Catherine’s unwritten story. It would be nice to get a few of these things off my list of unfinished ideas.