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Progress Report 2022 Week 31

The first draft of Evolution’s Hand Book 3: Primary Target lumbers towards completion. Was I able to wrap up Turning Point 2 for all of the characters? Have I started the Resolution plot points yet? And if none of that makes much sense, did I at least hit my goal of 10,000 words for the week? Let’s talk about that we look at the numbers.

Progress Report 2022 Week 31 By the Numbers

Well, that answers one question: No, I didn’t get to ten thousand words this week.

I was feeling a bit under the weather this week. My output wasn’t what it could have been. On Thursday, I only managed about 41 words. It wasn’t only that I wasn’t feeling well. I’d also gotten to Plot Turn 2 for Matsushita Sachi and Dek Conrad. Both of those impacted each other, and the plots of the other four characters intertwined with those. Getting all the timing right was a real bear. On top of that, the scene that came to me needed a lot of prep work (more on that below). Without that work, I felt certain it would have come off as unrealistic.

Which means, of course, it still might. But it won’t be as obviously unrealistic as it would have been!

Setting Up the Resolution

The Scenes Weren’t Coming Together

I try to do some kind of mindless physical activity to help my imagination do its thing. That started back when I was a kid. I grew up on the family farm, and during the summer, I’d often be in the field sitting on a tractor. So, I spent plenty of time making sure I didn’t destroy the corn or soybeans as I plowed up the weeds between the rows of crops. That left 95% of even my brain free!

So my younger self plotted several terrible novels and many more even more terrible short stories. Fortunately for all of you today, only one of those novels ever made it to paper. It’s sitting in a box that my cat uses to chill as she observes the back yard. And there it stays. I want my readers to think well of me, after all!

Though it’s kind of funny that a couple scenes did make it into Evolution’s Hand Book 3: Primary Target. In vastly different form, but the genesis of some of those scenes was from the 1980s.

Back in the present, I needed to mow the yard twice before I thought I had a handle on where the characters wanted Plot Turn 2 and the Resolution to go. I did a lot of thinking about that, especially on Thursday, which accounted for at least some of the low word output.

Set Design to the Rescue!

Events still weren’t coming together, though. The characters knew who wanted to bounce off whom and when. But I couldn’t get all of them into the right place at the right time. So I took a step back and designed the set. It’s the space elevator built on and around Araracuara, Colombia. I found some shots of river-spanning buildings in Taiwan that I used as the La Mojana Space Elevator Terminal. I found another building that looked good as the Candileja Conference Center. The latter is a joke the locals pulled on Corporations — according to Colombian folklore, Candileja raised her grandchildren to be murderers and thieves. Which is kind of how the Colombian authorities saw Executives!

Google Maps + Photoshop + OmniGraffle to the rescue!

I took a screen capture of the Google Map terrain view of the area, reduced the opacity in Photoshop, and pasted the resulting image into OmniGraffle. There, I sketched the various sections. That helped me envision where the action would take place: the second floor of the Candileja Conference Center. Now the characters had an environment to interact with. Matsushita and Linda Southfield landed at the Aeropuerto de Araracuara airport. They had to make their way to the conference center, which had four floors. The facility had a security team with whom Matsushita and others could interact.

On Saturday, I had to setup the scene where Cristina Rojas called Atticus Porter with some information she’d gathered from her informants. Then I had to go back through Jadwiga Janczak’s chapters to fine-tune what she did to her mercenary subsidiary in South America. I even got to name that subsidiary: EZ In-and-Out Boca Max, which makes sense if you follow Argentine soccer (or if you just Google it, which is what I did).

Now my imagination had material to work with. And I think — or maybe it’s more accurate to say I hope — it all holds together.

Progress Last Week

Here’s what I had planned to accomplish this week:

  1. Finish Jack Booth’s Plot Turn 2: Done!
  2. Finish Jadwiga Janczak’s Plot Turn 2: Done!
  3. Start Dek Conrad’s Plot Turn 2: Switched!

I realized it made more sense to place Matsushita’s Plot Turn 2 ahead of Conrad’s. I finished her Plot Turn 2 this week. So, I finished about the amount of work I had hoped to. Maybe even inched ahead of my goals.

Goals for the Week in Progress Report 2022 Week 31

  1. Finish Matsushita Sachi’s Plot Point 2
  2. Finish Dek Conrad’s Plot Point 2
  3. Finish Ira Malhotra’s Resolution

If I can pull off what’s in my imagination for the first two, I think I might actually be happy with the result. Which makes me very, very suspicious!

This also means that, baring any Real Life Work Events (RLWEs) or Real Life Family Events (RLFEs), I might finish the first draft by mid to late August. That keeps it on schedule for a summer 2023 release. Which is kind of scary, too!

What Do You Think?

Do you have a go-to activity or something that you find helps free your imagination? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!

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