From time to time the missus says, "You're starting to look like your self-portrait." This is the self-portrait she means. I'm waiting to start two major projects -- the place mats and the illustrations for Swill -- so I figured I may as well start another large-scale print. This should be fairly horrific by the time I'm done.
So today I did the last advance plotting I'm going to do before beginning the novel. If I find elements I need to track as I go along, I'll be sure and do so. But right now I've got a nice fat stack of file cards in a clip and they tell me that I've got a novel to write.
(The fact that most of those cards were written in felt pen by Walter Jon Williams is a thrill -- hey, everybody! The best plotter in SF helped me plot my novel! So if it sucks, it's pretty much his fault. And if it's any good, well, I suppose the benefit accrues to his name as well. That only seems fair. Except to the roomful of skilled and gifted imaginations that did most of the work. I just stood back and said, "Yeah, that's fucking brilliant," and "No, he/she wouldn't do that," and "Oh, shit, there's this whole other thaaang I never told you bout." Actually, that's what I was doing today. Adding them thaaangs. And for the record, EF Kelley was the one who saved the goddamned novel.)
The main changes are to ditch most of the, "but it really happened!" stuff, to simplify the elements in order to unify the motives behind events, and to increase the cohesion and sense of connection between events.
In other words, I've decided that this is primarily a work of adventure fantasy rather than a thinly-disguised autobiography. I've been schooled on the plot and I think it will show. The elements that were most important to me during the mid-stages of creation will all be there, but they won't be as strident and overwhelming. Rather, they're like bay leafs in the stew. Yeah, you've got to have that flavor -- but you don't want to have your guests biting down on bay leafs.
When I was at Taos Toolbox, I was told that I need to rewrite the novel -- but that I need to rewrite it once and then send it out. And that is what I'm going to do.