I’ve been contemplating a wrap-up post, but new ideas for the novel continue to swirl around in my head, taking up my “writing tracks.” As usual, the first draft of The New Serfdom is very different from my original conception and, now that 50,000 words is safely in the bag, it’s clear that a lot of sorting, digging and delving, and jelling needs to go on before I really know what kind of novel I have.
What I can say is that the dystopian framework has increasingly given way to the evolving relationship of the two protagonists: Nolan Graves and Gil Saltor. Much of the story, and much of what we know about Nolan, is seen through Gil’s eyes. As the story progresses, we see that their relationship is far more complex than it appears at first. What brings it fully to Gil’s awareness is the violent events that take place over the year or so of the main story.
Stylistically, the novel has edged away from science fiction and moved closer to literary fiction. At the same time, the critical events, both in the present and the past of the protagonists, could take place only in a dystopian setting. The second draft will concentrate on strengthening the dystopian framework slightly, adding some background for credibility, and on delving deeper into Nolan and Gil’s emotional lives. What makes it interesting to work out is realizing that while their roles in the hold (final term for the barony) will remain wha they’ve been, their psychological roles will go through a complete reversal. That’s a brand-new, surprising development, and something I couldn’t have dealt with in 30 days, even if I’d been more into NaNo than I was this year.