I’ve written on this blog about the travails and rewards of writing Dreamland. I’ve also talked about how in the final reviews I still got a few things pointed out to me, but none of the final Beta readers caught the same things. I mention this because Ken McConnell, one of the final Beta readers who is also a science-fiction author, brought up a very good time line point. His comments forced me to think about things a little differently and in the end I agreed even though it meant I’d have to a complete re-write of the first section in order to make it work. This allows me to place Dreamland in a much later point in the Pa’adhe time line even though I am putting it on the blog now. I had briefly thought of keeping it back and only putting it in the ebook collection of Pa’adhe short stories but I owe my readers another short story now, so it’s going up.
I pulled the entire first section out and set it aside for another short story. In the end, that original first section, interesting as it was, really didn’t contribute anything to the story. The proof? Pulling it out made no changes to the overall story – I only had to modify one word between the first section and the end of the story as a result of removing it. That’s how little the original opening impacted the entire story. Things like that are what a writer needs to keep an eye on. Sometimes such sections will work, especially as color in the entry to the story, but most generally if the block of writing can be removed without impacting the overall story…there’s no real reason to keep it in. But rather than just pull it and toss it, think about it this way: you wrote it for some reason, perhaps because it gave you a great scene so keep it for another story. Maybe it’ll be the turning point of another story. So, keep it somewhere and use it later.
The final section I just wasn’t happy with. It was just too disjointed, it seemed too much like an afterthought to me. None of my alpha or beta readers pointed out anything critical about this part, but I, the writer, just didn’t like it. So, it got rewritten and run past two Betas. They approved, and I’m much happier with the ending.
Working on the car last evening resulted in a serendipitous moment. Obviously I had been subconsciously thinking about the events in Dreamland plus what Ken said and the re-writes. Before I could forget, I put this sudden insight into my notes file. It’s a link between Dreamland and The Final Voyage. That’s all that’s going to be said about that.
I’m already working on the next story for you. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Dreamland.
When you’re done reading my short stories, be sure and check out Ken’s novels and short stories as well.