November 8, 2016

Four chapters done!

Progress is still being made! I finished chapter 4 today. My total word count up to this point is 14,273.

I’ve been thinking more about my process in preparing for this book and how it’s been a help in some ways and a detriment in others. Let me take a step back to where I began.

I finished the first draft of the second book, The Star Mother, in early 2015. In late 2015, I started a blog which I continued updating daily for a year. While I had occasionally made attempts at plotting out Fortress Ghosts, I didn’t do a full-fledged treatment that covered the story from beginning to end until the last week of October this year.

The treatment was a tremendous help! It gives me a clear direction. And then, this past weekend, I broke it down into chapter-by-chapter beats, so now the book has a set pace, as well. But the outline is very general–it essentially points out the connective tissue from one chapter to the next. What it doesn’t provide are things like scene breakdowns, which would be a level of detail beyond that which I intended for such an outline.

This has led to some mixed results. The opening of chapter 4 went off splendidly, I think, but I struggled for what to do after it. I came up with a decent second scene that I currently have mixed feelings about. Two of the main characters engage in what could either be construed as unwarranted bullying or fully justified anger, depending on whom you giveĀ more benefitĀ of the doubt. I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. I’m fine with scenes that are open to interpretation–I welcome readers having different opinions about the characters and their actions. These are not perfect people, after all.

But my plan and outline don’t help as much as I expected them to, and I think much of this is due to spending a year out of practice. As I’ve noted in other posts, writing a nonfiction blog is completely different from novel writing. I spent a year and a half away from these characters and their story, with my mind in a completely different mode during that period. I’m sensing how rusty I am and I must admit that it stings. I assumed that writing, regardless of the type, would keep me sharp–this has not turned out to be the case at all.

I am not about to let this discourage me, though! This is what rewrites are for! What’s important is that I continue and persevere to the end of the story, and I will do just that. I’m already a quarter of the way there.

I realized today that I have numerous notes and other background material from when I’ve worked on this in the past, and it might be fun to share those. What I may do is forgo regular blog posts from time to time in order to clean up some notes or other items of interest and make those pages. Of course, this means settling upon a good way to organize such pages–can’t have them cluttering up the menu bar, for instance. I’ll figure something out!

As a closing note, if you’re American, remember to vote tomorrow if you haven’t already and are able to do so! I don’t think I need to tell you how to vote, but if you plan to vote for Donald Trump, I’d just as soon you stayed home.