I've come to the part of my story where, just as it's all coming together, it all seems to be falling apart. I'm close to the end but it seems to be getting farther away. I'm not sure how to reach the ending I originally had planned, or if that's even the ending I want, or how to wrap up all of my other side plots. I don't know which scenes are completely superfluous and which are vital to the plot. And I want to get it all over with, but I'm starting to dread working on the story at all. But finishing it is the first step to finding out why it doesn't work and trying to fix it, I guess.
My biggest stumbling block now is the big "gambling" scene. This is one of those scenes that I wrote back in 1994, and it's been in every version of the story since, but mostly that's because it comes late in the story and I've never written or rewritten far enough to get to where I have to deal with it. Now I have. It's a very long, rambling scene that does not have much point to it but has a lot of nice things within it that I wish I could keep. But I can only keep a couple of them.
The original scene had Vashti and her friends playing a complicated gambling game with the members of Bitted Throug backstage, and Vashti trying to finagle a way to play with the group. However, as the story currently stands, she's already auditioned for the group. All of the gambling stuff has no real point. But there's some fun stuff with Vashti playing Hautakivian folk music on the subbass, and there's a section where Minta points out that she should have money stashed all over space in various systems from her touring days, money that her manager hasn't managed to take from her yet because he'd have to visit each system separately. This is an idea that I used later in the Anniversary Bash storyline.
(This is an idea I borrowed from the travel novel Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Thereau -- from what I remember his train trip starts in Europe and there's a stop in Communist Poland, where he has money in the bank from sales of his books that he's never been able to access because he's never been to Poland and that was the only way to access it. He withdraws it (in Polish currency only), and spends as much as he can in just the couple of hours he has before he has to reboard the train. He buys a lot of wine and sausages and things and shares with other people on the train -- he doesn't want the Polish government to keep any of his money!)
So. I need to hack and slash the existing scene down to the parts that are actually useful, and I also need to insert a bit where Klause shows up with a box of stolen valuables, because that's my plan for how Vashti winds up suspected of murder.
It's a lot of work and I'm not really feeling it at the moment.
I'm also reconsidering who the actual murderer of Captain Taga really is. It was going to be Sully, but potentially could have been Klause or Alex and Art. But what if it really was Vasthi, after all? I kind of want to leave that open as a possiblity, without ever saying for sure who really did it. My original plan would be that Sully did it, and it would be a shocking revelation, but the way I've written it, he's such and obvious choice that now there's no shock involved. I kind of want to work it so he isn't the murderer after all.