Working through Corona Gale and my other unfinished novels
Corona Gale started out as the next chapter in this thing I’m making. I don’t consider it all that successful, in that I didn’t work it through before getting started, and wasn’t able to course correct before it became a bit of a tangle. It’s confusing, and only partially meant to be. I like the story, or at least the story as it exists in my head. But I don’t like how it exists now.
In my head, the story goes like this: Kate is sent on a mysterious mission by her job. She has a conflict: there’s this guy she’s been getting on really well with, but she hasn’t been working for a while and has been able to more or less hide what she does. But she fears being stuck so far away and for so long will blow that, and their relationship. She’s never been able to make anything work because of her job, but she wants to be with this guy.
In my head, we get to know the guy really well, and want to root for them to work out, and for her to be happy.
In my head, she doesn’t die. There’s still a calamity, but it’s an intermission cliffhanger. It’s not the end of anything. The calamity happens at around the end of the first act. The second act is about Kate pulling everything together, solving the mystery, and saving the day. The second act is about Kate as a hero, because for her to be the protagonist of this book, she needs to show a different side of her than I showed you in No Chinook, where she was more or less the villain.
The third act is about the choice of whether or not to tell Ollie what she does for a living. Does she put her chips on the table, or does she continue to try to deceive him? I’m not even sure what direction I want to go, and this book has been in my head for nearly two years.
But even with that, the plot is rather thin. I need to beef up the actual mystery. I need a better villain. And I need a B-story.
This is where Album Yukes comes in. A Record Year for Rainfall was the next chapter after No Chinook, and Corona Gale is the next chapter after Rainfall. I want to insert him in the story in a natural way. It’s been five years since he shut down his blog to be a political journalist, and I think readers of that story would agree that couldn’t last very long. I think he’s actually on a beat here, looking for the truth about a thing he feels could profit him. Album is a great scumbag, and since he was more or less the antagonist of Rainfall, I think it would be fun to put my two villains together to try to save the world (or at least a boat).
People who have put up with my stops and starts since 2012 know that I’m trying to put together a narrative that weaves through several titles. Two of those titles are finished (Chinook and Rainfall), and four of them are at different states of completion (Corona Gale, The Moonbow Easy, Skypunch, and Sprites Jets & Elves). I haven’t forgotten about any of these stories, and they’re all important to me. I’d like to think I’m finally in a state where I can get back to work on them.
But why haven’t I finished these? I think part of it has to do with where I stopped at Corona Gale. I didn’t have an ending (or even a middle) in mind, so I felt I had to leave that one and go somewhere else for a while. These stories all take place in the same “world,” and they should connect (if only slightly). I couldn’t finish Gale until I knew where things would go. And now I know. I know where this is all headed.