I've been giving some more thought to fixing this novel—taking into consideration some of my characters and the things that I talked about on Wednesday—and I feel like I've come up with a couple of solutions that I want to try out.
I'm going to start by slimming down the A-story (Dow's investigation of Cole's death) by taking some of those outlying influences and breaking them off into their own things with their own primary characters. Basically, the issue of the potential UN cover-up and the communications blackout will be handed off to a friend of Dow's in the UN who had a scene in the novel's very first incarnation and was immediately cut. This should give me sufficient maneuvering room on Earth without requiring anything from Dow other than a couple of check-ins. Plus, I like the idea of getting some more mileage out of Seb and James Kinneman.
Up-well, the rising lunar tensions will be handled by Sydney and her people in a series of scenes where they've split off from Dow. This is going to be the biggest change for me, because it limits the partnership between Dow and Sydney to a large extent. Ultimately, that's going to mean a little less spotlight competition between those characters—which is fine by me, since I think Sydney works better in the scenes where she's in control—but it also means that I'm going to have to rebuild Dow so that he has the necessary skills to carry out a murder investigation on his own.
Changing Dow will be a challenge, if only on account of how much work it means discarding. I think it needs to happen, though. His voice has always been deeply inconsistent for me, veering wildly from straight-laced military man territory into a sort of manic, sarcastic pettiness. It's hard to get a grip on, though I blame myself for getting attached to a character and trying to force him into a setting and story that he was incompatible with. I think that I'll be re-writing him into more of a traditional detective—maybe as someone who spent time with UN-Pol and can integrate more easily with Sydney's people. Marisol might end up on the chopping block as well—or at least her story—and Dow might end up as an American. That ought to be enough to get me working with him again...Though I suppose "Emory Dow" isn't the most American name in the world...
I'll figure it out.
Beyond that, I'm going to work on opening up the lunar colony and making it a little more colorful. A little less stuffy. A little more frontier, but not so much so that it seems unreasonable for there to have never been a murder before. There's going to be more of a corporate presence as I slacken up the UN control over the colony, which should make it easier for Dow to get at some of the suspects that I have lined up. And, finally, some of the earlier, more personal suspects will probably end up trimmed away. There's no real way for some of the guys I had gunning for Cole to have access to the lunar surface, so it seems best to just cut them for simplicity's sake.
That's all for tonight. I'm going to start working on a new outline now, I think. Figure out if these fixes are good enough get me to where I can take another stab at writing. I'm also going to be working on a couple of much-needed site updates.
See you folks on Monday.