BHS Blogress Report: 2020, Week 14 – Back in the Saddle

Week 14 – Back in the Saddle

After a long, long period of inactivity, I finally got a new chapter of Shattered Skies out this week. It took a lot of extra effort to get back into my groove, but I think it was absolutely worth it. I’m especially proud of how Erika’s rehab scene turned out, as I’ve had that one in mind for ages now. There was a specific goal in mind there: to show that even with the presence of magic and super-advanced tech, there isn’t an instant fix for Erika’s leg. Oh sure, I could come up with some justification for her adjusting instantly to her prosthetic. If I felt like it, I could probably even find a way to restore her lost leg, no prosthetic required. But doing that would feel cheap and disrespectful. The whole point was to show her struggling in a realistic way, because people who lose their limbs for real don’t get magic fixes either. To that end, I did serious research into prosthetic rehab and physical therapy before writing the scene, and I hope that shows.

So now I’m in the process of planning out the next few chapters. It may surprise some of you to hear this, but unlike with Tasakeru, Stars Above, and most of my other long-term plots, Shattered Skies has largely been written by the seat of my pants. I use a variation of my usual plotting technique, by which I work backwards in reverse chronological order from my intended end point. Here’s a rough idea of how it works: the thing that needs to happen to progress the plot at the end of the scene/chapter/act/story is Point Z. I can only get to Point Z from Point Y. And what needs to happen to get to Point Y? Well, to answer that, I have to go from Point X… and so on and so on, back through the chain of events until I’m at Point A.

By doing it this way, I can have a rough goal in mind to work towards, but I can also leave myself enough flexibility to change my mind about plot points if I deem it necessary. So I have some very specific ideas about what to do for the eventual end of Shattered Skies, but exactly how I’m getting there is still up in the air.

Anyway, there’s your (hopefully) fascinating little peek into my creative process. I’ll be back with more next week.

– BHS

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