I spent the last ten days on a trip to Ethiopia, traveling with doma International to see the village of Bora and work at a medical clinic there. While I took the last eight chapters of LESSONS with me, and managed to finish my read-through of the first draft, I've not done anything with it since returning home.
My progress with EMPOWERMENT has been similarly stunted. While I finished the primary character profiles before I left, and now have defined the necessary secondary characters (eight of them), I haven't been motivated to put together the additional profiles. Nor am I satisfied with the novel's long synopsis -- it appears to lack something which I can't put my finger on yet, and I don't want to move forward into scene development until I figure out exactly what it is. Maybe it's too little conflict? Or perhaps a feeling I've already explored some of the subject matter before? I'm not sure.
On the other hand, the trip to Ethiopia was inspiring. Never have a met a kinder and gentler group of people than those in the remote village of Bora. The had so little, yet willingly offered to share all they had with ferengi (foreigner) outsiders such as myself and the doma team. While my second novel, INCENTIVIZE, is partially set in Ethiopia, it doesn't capture the essence and nature of the remote villages. I came to know and love then over my short stay. Somehow I will have to find a way to integrate them into the story of one of my future projects. For now, Bora must stay in my heap of unutilized but intriquing story elements -- left for some future project.