Ok I’m often excited about stuff, but this is a particular excitement… project excitement. That’s been a bit lacking since I finished PAR and moved to my troublesome novella. Not helped by sore shoulders, dragon training and other distractions, but mostly my draft has been refusing to come together.
However, daemon must have been flitting around thinking about it because today I had AN IDEA. It means re-writing a good chunk of the draft, but that’s alright because I can feel that it’s a GOOD IDEA! You know when you just know?
And that idea has birthed other ideas too so now I’m thoroughly excited about getting the draft into shape. It’s not there yet and I suspect these three novellas have plenty more trouble to bring, but I’m excited about this project in general; I think people will get a kick out of reading them.
There has been some conga-line type happy-dancing going on around my place this past week and a bit, because writing daemon and I are celebrating the completion of a second draft of the post apoc romance!
Also – for those who knew about this problem – we also found the horse. Finally.
Any way, at a weighty 127,000 words PAR can go prop a door open for a while as daemon and I do other things.
The ‘other thing’ we have picked up – actually the same night we put the PAR down! – is novella #3 of my series. That’s been fun to work on again and, mercifully, it’s actually working this time (quite a few restarts had failed previously).
The daemon is… well… I don’t think humans have a word that encompasses his happiness, excitement and sense of wing-stretching, up-draft riding contentment.
It’s not really a surprise that I’m still editing PAR. It’s big. It’s got a lot going on and it’s evolved through the edit. The trickiest thing has been the end section of maybe 5 chapters. I’ve re-written them for the most part rather than just edit and I’m happy that I have but it makes them 1st drafts if you know what I mean. And that means more editing to come.
Sadly there is also more editing to be done in the rest of the book. It’s weirdly hanging somewhere between a nice well-formed 1st draft and a nice 2nd draft but it’s not really either right now!
Worst of all the daemon is itching for new words. I can tell that from the way he keeps flying around the ceiling. He’s not subtle. So I’ve made a plan to try to get him what he wants and keep the PAR edit flowing. The solution, I think, is the necessary start over for N3 (i.e. the 3rd in my interlinked novella series). That seems like a project to juggle while switching back to editing on PAR.
I think the daemon approves, but we’ve mostly worked on PAR as a single project so we’ll see.
The good thing is I finally got to give my protag in PAR – who I think is just one fantastic “person” – something happy. After beating the crap out of him for quite some time now, he got a little bit of cheer… us writers are a hard-hearted bunch. Downright mean to our characters.
Anyway, if things go to plan I might be hunting for beta readers for PAR sometime this year. This pleases me. Though I’ve no idea what I’ll bribe them with for reading a door-stopper of a tome like this! Hopefully they find it as much fun to read as I do.
The writing daemon has earned his chocolate! Turns out that PAR’s antagonist was up to no good for a good reason, but that’s what was missing – her motivation!!
Okay that’s enough excited exclamation marks for one post… but I am pleased. I’d been worried my brain had identified some larger problem and I’d end up reworking this last section. I’m so close to finishing the edit (7 chapters left!) that a major issue was going to turn it into a slog.
Motivations sometimes sink below the action when I’m writing the initial draft. (Not for the protag, but for other players.) I think it’s the fact it all seems logical that throws me, because I don’t expect to write something that is logical and in keeping with their character without an explicit motivation. But you can! That’s what happened here, probably because there’s a lot going on in this section and many threads converging.
Of course I might find other problems with these few last chapters, but I’m not so worried now. And, I’ve got to say, my mind is already working out how I’ll tackle the next edit. I know what I want to work on, because there is a real weakness in my dialogue through-out this draft. It’s been bugging me during this edit, but I like to do dialogue all in one hit to keep consistency. For now I just need to finish this draft!
The observant reader of my blog will have noticed a suspicious absence of PAR, or other writing, chat recently… even after I’d said I was planning on doing some during my week off… and that came and went…
This is because I’ve hit resistance!
Other than enjoying a break, I realised that writing daemon isn’t happy with the 6th, 7th and 8th last chapters of PAR. The major antagonist is doing things which are logical – daemon and I agree on that – but he’s not convinced by them. I’m willing to consider he might be right. There’s just something a bit under-baked about what the antagonist is up to. Note the very technical term there – a sure sign that I have no idea why it’s not working.
The solution I’ve come up with is to avoid the question entirely (!) and keep working by starting with the last chapter and going backwards.
Trust me it’s not as weird as it sounds. I already know what needs fixing in the two last chapters (emotional tone) and they’re quite divorced from the earlier crisis caused by my antagonist. By the time I’m back into the problem zone, I reckon daemon will have figured it all out (I’ve promised him chocolate).
Can’t say I’ve tried working backwards before though…
A friend who is currently teaching script-writing asked me the other day if I use diagrams when plotting, or in any other way in my writing. It was an interesting question to be asked because I do, but not as a planner would. (Being a pure pantser, I don’t map stuff out at all before I write.)
Where I often find diagrams useful is in the process of editing a draft – particularly a scratch draft or a first draft – and I use them to examine logic. It might be that I know there’s a logic problem, or – as with PAR in recent weeks – I’ve got multiple sets of motivations feeding into movements and interactions, so I have to explore each set independently to check they hold up on their own and aren’t just serving the plot.
I also sometimes diagram to check how much time has passed over a sequence of chapters, as I lose track of how many days have gone by about as easily as my characters do!
Credit to my brain, it does a good job of getting logic and the passage of time right in the pantser chaos it prefers. I rarely find any big things wrong when I do my diagrams. They do, however, get me thinking about other things – probably because they get me looking at the story from different angles – and I find that interesting and often very valuable in itself.