And that moment has finally come! Over the past months since I moved to Princeton, I have had random brief flashes of inspiration about the novel, especially when I'm walking through town on garbage day... Recently my mind has been more and more free to range more deeply into the details of the story. A few weeks back I spent an evening working front of house (aka tearing tickets), which meant I spent a lot of time standing at the top of a flight of stairs waiting for people to show up. While I waited, I thought about the novel, and came up with some cool ideas for the opening moments (introducing the concept of "mindbending," which is my current placeholder term for the way inhabitants of Allyria can control certain substances with their minds, by propelling spitball equivalents at him during the pretest) and the overall structure (breaking the book up not into two sections, but into three---Allyria, Damask, and the Journey between the two). I think I came up with some other ideas, too, but they are currently stored in less accessible vaults in the bank of my memory.
And then over the past couple of weeks I have begun running again in order to get into shape for Running Camp, which I am very excited to announce I will be able to attend this year. This shall no doubt prove a huge boon to my novel brainstorming process, as running and brainstorming are symbiotic processes---the former making space and time in which little else can infringe upon the latter, which in turn takes one's mind off of the physical discomfort associated with the former, making it far more pleasurable. In fact, my brainstorming took off in earnest on today's run, to such an extent that I was finally inspired to post to this blog again after the aforementioned year's hiatus.
Today's brainwaves included:
* Some more specific ideas of ways to develop Will's unwillingness to have an impact on the outside world ("the only thing that Will found less appealing than jobs that required mindbending in order to reshape physical objects were jobs that required reshaping the actual social landscape...")
* An idea for Will's father's former occupation: a Seer. Which is kind of like a cross between a psychic and a psychologist---someone who is able to help people with their personal / emotional problems by virtue of his ability to connect with and delve into their minds. Which would horrify Will above all else when he found out about it, and make him very hesitant to employ his mindreading powers.
* A lightning bolt about what to do in Will's sessions with the Thinker! This was very exciting! I remembered that there is actually a portion of the story in which a part of Will learns things that another part of him doesn't know about. I was so intimidated by the prospect of writing "like a Thinker" that I have skirted around those sections and consequently haven' really planned what will happen in them. But they may be the perfect forum for introducing Yve, so that she doesn't just randomly appear once we get to Damask. She could be introduced in a veiled or symbolic sort of way, but this would get her into the story earlier.
* And then I also realized that I could have Will when inside the Thinker see the foolishness of his refusal (when outside the Thinker) to have an impact on the world. It's been bothering me a little to think of having a purely reluctant hero, because then why are we rooting for him if he's so utterly paralyzed. But if there is some part of him that seem beyond his reluctance and wants to act, but isn't able to communicate with the other part of himself that is still afraid, and has to wait for that part to learn and catch up---well, that could potentially be really cool.
Those are the main new ideas I got on today's run. But now the creative juices seem to be flowing again, so hopefully the update posts will continue in the days and weeks to come. Hey, this summer I might actually even have a chance to do some re-writing! We'll see. It's exciting to see that I am still able to explore and develop the ideas even after a year of not having much direct time to devote to thinking about the story and characters. Shows there is still something of interest there to work with.
And I do find myself bringing up certain ideas that I explore in the novel in conversation every once in a while. Like the idea that a society may have its own sort of overarching personality, or the idea of non-bartering in the Allyrian marketplace, or the question of whether to act and impact the world or withdraw and watch things play out, or the juxtaposition of a culture based on contentment with one founded on competition. So there are some topics the story gives the opportunity to explore that are things that people think and talk about.
So, anyway, more soon, I hope. Till then!