Emptying that Hexed Mantel

It is happening! I have finally found a use for my pain enhancer. One more thing off the mantel (not without going back and fiddling with the chapter where it was first mentioned, but I think I managed to have the changes worked in smoothly). Go me.

I am now thinking about not killing one of the characters just yet. He is simply too potent to discard. I do realize, that once I do that, he shall be found sitting on that very mantel, dangling his feet and making funny faces at me, until I figure out how to use his abilities, but the challenge is on.

Besides…

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Writer’s Block, or a Slight Case of Between-the-Scenes Anxiety

In my case, the notorious writer’s block manifests itself as a difficulty in coming up with the start and end of another scene. The line in and line out are very important for my process, and often they just come to me naturally. And, sometimes they do not. And, once in a while, I have a hard time figuring out logical continuations to events which just happened in my story, because the longer and more complex the story grows, the more things seem to happen by themselves—at least I feel like I have less and less control over them.

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I Should Stop Measuring My Progress in Words

img_2117Apparently, it is not working. I wrote 1,400 yesterday, finishing a 2,250+ word scene, which was never supposed to grow that long. It just did, mostly because I had committed to diligently show things instead of telling the reader about them, but those things were—in my biased opinion—really worth showing, so… I am 1,400 words ahead of where I was before, and one tiny step closer to the main conflict. I still have to spend at least one more scene convincing my main character to do what she is supposed to do.

Had I an outline, which consisted of more than five items, I could have been measuring my progress by advancing along it, but, alas, in my case, I have been at plot point three for the last several months. Only the words keep heaping up—396,000+ as of this morning.

So there goes my tentative goal of 450,000 words total. It now looks like 500,000. Hard to believe that some time ago, I thought that I might be done at around 300,000. Ha. Ha. Ha.

It is, however, abundantly clear to me that if I did have a detailed outline, I would never find the strength to go through with this project. I would likely write a chapter or two, then calculate that it would take me over a decade to get to the end, and simply quit. There would be no way I would even get to the mark at which I am now. Discovering my way through, lets me successfully convince myself that I am actually going to finish it some day.

And it is way more fun than filling placeholders in an outline.

How do people manage to write 120,000 word novels? My prologue alone is 17,000+ and I consider it somewhat of a short story…

On Character Development, or What to Do, When They Refuse to Cooperate

Having been able to successfully avoid character development glitches for most of my journey through the first draft (which is not over yet), I first encountered this problem at, roughly, the 393,000 word mark, when Dae, instead of passing by Northhill during his morning run—as he normally would do—stopped and started talking. I was knocked out of the writing process for most of the day, because I had no idea why he would do that, and what he would say, and I am still not sure I handled it gracefully, for I had to invoke my right to resolve the situation externally, which I normally try not to resort to. In this particular case, my rescue came in the form of a scream of a very distressed damsel, which interrupted their conversation and saved me from the necessity to write more of the dialogue.

Now the plot thickens.

My main story delivery vessel, Verra, had evolved into such a stubborn (or determined, if you prefer) little creature, that I am now in need of a massive inciting incident for her, just to hammer her back into my (joke of an) outline—I have about five main events in the whole book, and this is the second major one of her arc—because the “I have to do what father said” approach, which I had initially planned, she has, unflinchingly, already dismissed.

The good thing about her decisiveness, is that she will have less problems making a choice.

The bad thing, is that she is leaning toward a choice I cannot afford for her to make.

My main concern is that another personal tragedy might not work, since she is already dealing with one—way too well, I fear—and I am reluctant to eliminate all of her household.

So, in an act of desperation, I have to kill someone in order to prevent Verra from making the wrong decision and buy myself more time to figure out what to do. I really do not want to start civil unrest in the City now (the time for that has not come yet!) just so she has no choice, but to change her mind.

Writing is hard. :-|

TTOW:

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371,000 going on 372,000

Quite a pathetic tally for the month of November. Some people write novels during that time, and all I managed to bang out is twelve thousand words. On the other hand, some people simply stop shaving and think that it will help their cause. Still puzzles me.

What is making me so slow, is the necessity to choreograph quite a few things (seemingly unconnected), happening at the same time with different characters in different places. Being chiefly a discovery writer does not make that easier. Nope. Quite the opposite.

It does, however, have some bright moments, especially when the important plot points suddenly start to fit together as snugly as though you were planning it to happen from the very beginning. Trust me, I did not. When it happens, it comes as a nice surprise to me. I love it when the story writes itself.

It just takes much more time…

One scene away from finishing the chapter. One short scene. Or two. I can do it.

Perhaps, if I stop editing myself as I go? Nah. Feels like I already established my method (I better have, in all the time I’ve spent on this thing), going to stick to what works.

And as for the length of the thing… well, I might end up somewhere between Gone With the Wind and War and Peace (see below). We shall see.

 

Words-by-Numbers-Full

A.T.T. The blog got a facelift—to match the main site. Something is progressing somewhere.

360,000

Another scene finished (Illai’s POV), bringing the total of words to a tad over 360,000. All Lord. It is easier to write a continuous sequence of events from the same POV than to switch all the time from one to another. If only I knew how to orchestrate the thing that is supposed to happen next, I’d probably continue, but, alas, I have yet to figure it out. So, for now, I am going back to the morning of the same day and switching the POV to Captain Northhill, just to keep the momentum…

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339,529

Spat on everything, sat down and hammered 800 words in two hours. Probably crap—or mostly crap—but the camping scenes are finished, and I can get back to the Castle. At this point whatever moves me and all my people to the finish is good.


 

TTOW: 339,529 out of All Lord knows how many. Take that, 90,000-word novelists.

On Dae’s Reason to Come to Stormhold

Not, that I want to change it—he is definitely dispatched there by Atta—it’s just that he would, probably, never tell the truth about it to Ngale. Seems out of character. He should joke about it and maybe later admit that someone recommended the place as a nice city to visit, which would make Ngale suspect something. Dae should tell it to Verra, though, so the reader knows the truth. 

On Horses

I should give Verra a horse (raven black small Highlander mare with a meaningful—or whimsical—name), which she used to ride, but cannot anymore because of Captain’s inability to assign an appropriate convoy to her.

She would think of her, when contemplating her options of escaping the Castle, maybe even visit the stable to pet her, while thinking about the offer she just received.

Marque recalls Verra being good on the horseback in the beginning already, I may expand on that a bit…

I Have Tried Something Today

Something, I had planned for distant future and was hoping it would work—and I am now confident, that it will, for I have tried it already and it does.

I use Scrivener for writing at home (when I can write at home), and, among other very useful features, it allows you to organize your scenes by different tags you assign to them. I tagged all the scenes by the character’s point of view.

I have eight POV characters. That’s right. Eight. I know, that I am fundamentally wrong. Nobody does that, but George R. R. Martin and Robert Jordan, but it felt right, when I just started, knowing little about the craft, so I kept adding POVs, as I went along, and now I have eight.

Well, less, since I killed a couple, bringing the tally to five.

The point is, that I got stuck, trying to switch to Venny’s POV, and decided to go over his entire storyline to gain momentum and be able to keep going.

I am about halfway through, but t is working even better, then I expected. I have edited some scenes, changed some remarks, and I have a much clearer understanding of who he is as a person and where to take him as a character, for he is very important for the story.

This way it is also much easier to keep track of the character’s awareness of things, which are happening around him or her, but may not be obvious to the person, and it is very easy to lose track of, when writing multiple POVs one after another.