Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chapter Up

Been not feeling up for anything more physical than writing. I'm overdue for a full physical, I think. But at least I got another chapter done.

I cast my net a little wide this time. I spent a while browsing maps of New Mexico, trying to plan an itinerary of properly colorful places. I knew I wanted to include the Trinity Test Site and erroneously drew up a tentative route down to the far South of White Sands. Then I did a new search for rock climbing areas and that turned up the fact that Hueco Tanks, "The Tanks" themselves, were close to my route.

A few more scribbles and searches and I had it; leave Roswell, stop at Alamogordo and admire the Great Atari Video Game Burial, continue through El Paso to Hueco Tanks and get a little climbing in, cone back North to the White Sands Missile Range Museum and gaze longingly through the parking lot fence at Victorio Peak -- while Lara grabs a dirt bike and "sneaks" up through White Sands to the Trinity Site. (Which is, of course, to the North).

That was looking about right for material. Add something about Chief Victorio and the Apache Wars and I'd have a 6,000 word chapter, right?

Didn't work out that way. I hit 10,000. First off, I'd only meant to open the chapter with Lara in the middle of climbing some rock. Because I really didn't want to open with more talking heads. But that scene got more and more elaborate as I thought of new wrinkles, until it is a good thousand words with a literal cliffhanger to boot.

And the Victorio stuff kind of got out of hand. Maybe it was because, due to more coincidence than anything else, I've been listening to a lot of programs on the Indian Wars. And, yes, it is pretty topical stuff, what with the Dakota Access Pipeline started up again and so on. Even in my own town there's a shell mound which is being contested over. So I ended up with a lot more words there than I had expected.

And I'd thought of more to do with the Trinity scene. Like throw a predator after her. I was thinking cougar but research turned up that jaguars were rare but had been seen in New Mexico. And that's when I tried to do something extra tricky; to have an injured Lara fabricating an improvised weapon whilst going over in her wandering mind the history of stone tools and human hunting from the golden age of the Plains Indians back through paleolithic mastodon hunters to the encounter at Olduvai between a troop of chimps and h. zinjanthropus and his unfair invention, the club.

Cross-cutting between that and the resolution of the cliff-hanger at Hueco Tanks. And bringing out some of the information Lara went to Trinity to find, in the form of a series of hallucinatory memories of the distant past.

And I don't think I made it work. I've got ten thousand words and most of it is talking heads. And most of what they are talking about advances the plot not one iota. And I even cut stuff!

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