Despite a low success rate with my previous Camp experiences, I decided to give it another shot. It pleases me to announce I have begun work 0n the outline for this year’s project. It’s the hard rewrite of my untitled NaNo 2015. I’m not quite done with Cassie and Drew yet. I also think entering football’s off-season will help sharpen my focus. Drew’s face and body model is pretty damn distracting.
I also crafted an updated synopsis. Have a gander!
Earth, 2202. Ten years ago, the New Frontier Corporation’s attempt to sustain the world’s first colony die when Bright Hope is ravaged by a solar flare. Its survivors, mostly young children and adolescents, are left to fend for themselves when the company abandons the colony. Enter the League, the newly-formed intergalactic arm of the North American Football Association. The League takes over the remains to promote lucrative football games using the survivors as players. But it is not without cost, for soon Bright Hope becomes nothing more than a subsidiary of the League.
Cassiopeia Tennant, like the other survivors, is considered a ‘burnt colony kid’, her social status that of a second-class citizen, her prospects no higher than just above poverty. With everyone she ever knew dead and left with less than nothing, Cassie works to find a way off the colony.
Like Cassie, Drew Thomas lost all he knew in the flare. In the years since, he has experienced nothing but success, popularity, and pride as the quarterback of the immensely popular Central Sector Spartans. Yet when he comes across vital information that reveals the League plans to replace all players with more durable clones, he runs.
A chance encounter with Cassie prevents the League from taking action against Drew, but his appearance draws her into a world she has no knowledge of or great admiration for. Along with the help of a reluctant geneticist formerly of the League’s clone project, Drew and Cassie take a stand against the very company that saved them.
It’s my hope that the draft that results from April’s Camp proves more substantial than what was born from November’s frenzy. I’m also debating on not participating this year. I noticed that the pacing from my previous two drafts was set to ludicrous speed. How can I expect readers to develop connections to characters if there’s no time to get to know them outside of their roles in the plot? The reverse is just as bad. Too slow a start can result in bored readers. The best example I can come up with is LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter. I was fascinated by the premise- a lonely and forgotten girl who becomes a mermaid- but the pacing killed it for me. I read up to chapter four before putting it aside. All events these chapters focused on seemed to have little to do with the plot other than worsening the MC’s already shitty situation. It was overkill. Not even the passages describing the girl’s transformation into a mermaid was enough to hold my interest. And they were among the best.
However, Peter Liney’s THE DETAINEE- a sci-fi featuring an older male character exiled to an island with other 60+ people for the crime of being old- kept me engaged despite a similarly slow start. The reader is fully aware of the MC’s shitty situation, one that’s complicated by groups of crazed, drugged-up teenagers slaughtering the people he lives with. An offhand observation about the MC feeling he was being watched turned out to be a direct link to events to come. I think the difference here is I established a connection to the lead in THE DETAINEE, while the girl in LOST VOICES didn’t jump out at me at all. Every reader’s experience is different. I’m sure there are those out there who sympathized more with the girl and sympathized less with the older man.
Bottom line: pacing is something I think depends more on the story rather than the writer. But it must be balanced. That is my personal challenge to myself. For those of you participating in Camp or just writing, I wish you good luck in whatever challenges you set for yourself. They will make us all better writers.