Sometimes I honestly don't know what I'm doing withNovella anymore.
It seems since I posted the Revision 4 Outline sometime last month, I've been at a lost with the whole project. In the last revision, I had clearly defined goals I felt I could fulfill. I was to reformat the outline into a clearly defined sections, breaking up the 13 page list that predominated the previous revision. I added Character Bios so that I could finalize details like height and eye color. And finally, I spend a great deal of time expanding the first chapter with a detailed plot.
Revision 5, however, doesn't have such easily defined goals. When I began to list what I wanted to accomplish, many of the goals involved creating a web presence for the project. At first this was a wordpress site, but I was unhappy with the system. Someone on my LiveJournal Friends List then suggested Drupal. I spend some weeks thereafter testing the CMS and building a new theme. Instead of just creating a new Novella website, I recreated all of deninet itself. I still feel that this was a good decision. Now I have features that I wanted when I working on Gazelle, and I hope to finally integrate all of the smaller websites housed on deninet into one big system.
Nevertheless, what I created wasn't as Novella-centric as I hoped. Yes, deninet is much better than it was. I'm finally able to integrate all of the content without driving myself nuts in the process. I still haven't decided on how I'm going to handle Novella content. I could rely on Taxonomy to organize content, but I'm unimpressed with the results. Organic Groups have some better options, but their not quite the same as creating a dedicated site. Do I really want to go that far? I haven't decided yet, but I'm not too sanguine about the idea.
Web concerns aside, writing has been difficult. I'm having trouble connecting with the characters in a way I felt I had during the last revision. It's something I rely on heavily when I'm writing -- putting myself in their place. Without that ability, my writing feels flat and incomplete. It's entirely possible that I'm "being too hard on [my]self", as my friends are quick to remind me. I can be a terrible perfectionist.
So far, I've added a total of 7 pages to the Outline. New additions include an Epilogue and a Prologue, a bio for Father Krichevsky, and some additional subplots for Miki. I've also added a Timeline section for me to jot down quick ideas without having to write out the descriptive block. It also defines the time-span of the story: One year at college. This actually gave me some ideas for certain subplots as well as explanation for others that have been dangling until now.
The character I'm trying to focus on the most is Novella. After writing most of the first chapter, I was disappointed with how the character felt. She seemed somewhat two dimensional compared to the other two characters. I've added a few "expected" plot points as a result. I say expected because they are plot points that one would expect from any story involving a Transgender character. I refuse, however, to make Novella into a Transition story. One of my friends expected just that sort of thing, but I feel that there are enough stories out there involving that sort of content. The questioning, conflicted state of Novella isn't a comfortable one for any transperson. There's a tendency for authors of these stories to skip toward the end -- toward a Full Time state in which the character assumes the gender role to match their gender identity.
I'm probably feeling this revision has been unfocused and unproductive due to the fewer pages that have been produced thusfar. The Outline jumped from 13 pages to 17 just in the reformat. Then I added another 13 pages of new content. Currently, the outline stands at 37 pages, making 7 pages of new content. Now that I have little less than 4 weeks to release revision 5, I feel that I'm going to be disappointed. On the other hand, the last revision went through a lot of "easy" changes. This was content that was fresh in my mind, and easier to write down as a result. Following the initial chapter through was difficult, but it was really a function of me sitting down and hacking away at it. Perhaps I really am asking too much of myself for this Revision...