Thursday, August 19, 2010

Daughter update

For anyone who's been reading up on my Facebook page or my Twitter feed, you may have noticed I stopped posting my word counts for a few days. This is because, sadly, I hit a major speed bump. In essence, I've known for a bit now that I was getting near the end of what could be called Part I, Act I, or what have you, of Daughter. This is the portion where the stage is set, you meet all of your important characters, learn a little about what they're doing, and meet your protagonist, and the problems that face them.

I reached a point, though, where I just couldn't seem to get the right scene. Ilôzu and her adviser discuss her missing son again? No. Lorandir and Sorônt at the practice field? No. Aluarsilo performing some sort of divination about what is coming? No. What about...? No. Perhaps...? No. But then there's... No.

And then it hits me. Part I is clearly over. All of my characters are in place, and we know what's happening with them, so no more setup scenes are needed. There is a transitional moment, a scene to provide the final impetus, to let the reader know both that things are linked, and that no, I'm not saying exactly how yet, and finally we begin to move again. The last of my "No" scenes is cut out, and suddenly I'm moving again. One day 805 words, and the next (yesterday), 1693.

After 11 days of little or no writing, it's good to be on the move again, and to realize that when I'm not entirely sure what the problem is, there are two obvious options.

  1. I am trying to write a scene that isn't necessary to the story.
  2. I am pushing my characters in a direction that doesn't make sense.
As an added bonus, I stumbled on this article on chapters, written by Tobias Buckell (Thank you Twitter for being an amazing resource for writers!) and realized that I've been doing a few things differently from the norm. While, for now, my focus will remain on writing, when I reach the point of editing, one of the things to which I need to pay the most attention will be point-of-view in chapters.

Typically, when one has a story told from multiple points of view, a chapter is dedicated to a single character. I have a tendency to jump back and forth a lot between characters, which may be a problem for a reader trying to keep pace with what's going on in the story. I always put a little break in when I swap points of view, but I'm still concerned as to whether or not it will make things confusing. Only time and other readers will tell, I suppose.

So in any event, I cracked the 20,000 word mark last night, and no matter whether this story ends up at 100,000 or 130,000 or 200,000, it's still a hefty milestone, and it's nearly half of what my last draft reached before I stopped. Of course, I do still have about 5,000 words of scenes that I haven't dropped in just yet, and those themselves will need to be edited when the time comes, but that time isn't now.

But, now that I'm moving again, at least I know that time will still come.