Then in the bath - by chance - I heard a quote by Douglas Adams on the radio. Naturally, after a long and protracted Google search, I can't find the quote. It had to do with writing. It had to do, more specifically, with editing. It made me realise that no matter how crap the story is that you are writing, it can be edited into something spectacular. It emphasised the need to get something down on a page - ANYTHING down on a page - so that you can actually edit it.
I live by this advice. "You can't flesh out the skeleton unless you actually have a skeleton to flesh out" is my version of this. But I have another piece of advice that has helped me over the years: if a story grinds to a halt, it's because there's something wrong earlier on.
In the quote, Douglas Adams quite rightly pointed out that quite often you only work out what is going to happen in a story when you get there and that is what changes the earlier bits. This is SO true: I've had characters develop on the page which means, often, that earlier pages are just wrong as the characters are now "out of character" as it were. Often elements of the story only reveal themselves when you're a long way down the road, thus changing things that went before. Basically this boils down to your imagination only getting into gear once you really know the story and have written thousands of words, most of which you're now going to have to change.
So I have a choice here: to keep grinding on even though I know everything I'm writing is wrong and the ending can't actually happen because it hasn't been set up properly (or at all.)
Or I could just make a thousand notes and start editing now.
I know I've got a good story here. It's a unique idea. Original ideas are also worth pursuing. I may just have failed to develop the idea properly. Also, I find that I'm wandering off on tangents that stop any action from occurring. This is what I wrote in my notes:
"This story is not going well. It hasn't, er, evolved* the way I wanted it to. Too much talking, explaining, flashbacking and almost no action at all. You've been sidetracked by creating the universe and have forgotten the story, of which there is almost NOTHING."
I like the way I talk to myself crossly.
So I may take a break from this for a few days, get some space, go for a walk (damn sore foot notwithstanding) and then get on with those editing notes.
Then edit. Although in this case I think it's going to be a major rewrite.
* An irony, since the story is called Evolved.