Monday, January 08, 2007

The Perils of Advance Plotting

I have less 100 pages of THE ARCHANGEL PROJECT left to write. Over the weekend, Steve and I spent several hours driving around to the various sites in New Orleans where the last scenes of the book take place (the book is also set in Washington, D.C. and Dallas), taking pictures and jotting down notes, and finalizing the plotting of the climax.

First of all, you have to understand that I have been writing this book for what feels like forever. I had 200 pages written by the end of August, 2005. In fact, two days before we evacuated for Katrina, I’d just finished a scene set at the New Orleans Marina. With the city devastated by hurricane and flood, I essentially shelved the book. How could I write a book set in New Orleans when no one had any concept of what the city was going to look like in another couple of years? It wasn’t until last spring that I finally felt confident enough about predicting the future that I hauled the book out, did a massive rewrite of the first half to accommodate Katrina, and continued on.

Fast forward to January, 2007. Steve and I go to the site of the book’s climax (no, I can’t tell you where it is, or it might spoil the book). There we discover to our horror that the central feature of this site, which provides a thread from the book’s very first scene, has just changed!

Yes, I know it’s better that they made this change now, rather than a week before the book hit the shelves. But still. Steve and I walked up to it, stared at it in horror for a moment, then started laughing.

I can fix it, of course. After all these years, I’ve discovered there’s very little in writing you can’t fix. But I thought I’d leave you with this picture of the Municipal Marina. This picture was taken just this last weekend, not sixteen months ago. I am sooo happy I set my marina scene at the New Orleans Marina (which was relatively protected), rather than the Municipal Marina!

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