Yay for progress!

With the start of university looming ahead, I made it a point to work on Light every day. Work including structuring, outlining etc, but I tried to at least write something every day. Sure, some days this works better than on others, because writing backwards i.e. wielding the delete key in wild abandon isn’t always exactly what you’d call productive progress. But this way, taking some time every day to completely focus on writing, I want to make sure that I don’t let it slide once university stress kicks in. 18 credit hours paired with a 33-hour work week will be way time-consuming, but I really want to get this somewhere. Right now I’m shooting for being ready to submit sometime in 2009, maybe even being able to finish the second draft by the end of this year – if things go optimally.

Reality is that I just finished Four and from there it’s still quite a way to go till I hit the chapters that I’m merely editing to fit in, instead of completely rewriting them. As it is, I wasn’t really excited about Four to begin with, because I felt sort of ambiguous about that whole flashback idea, but it was one of those chapters that I needed to be there and right there as far as the plot goes. In the end I did have quite a bit of fun with it, especially given that this is Ares’ first interaction with both Valyr and Damian. Needless to say that the Ares/Damian section was hilarious. All in all it’s a very dark chapter that hints at a bunch of stuff, but there were some parts that were plain fun and I think that made it a better chapter overall – even though it turned out about 500 words longer than I’d planned originally.

Today’s progress meter shows a solid and shiny 1000 words and I’ll go over the chapter again in the morning before posting it. Yes, by now I’m so totally breaking the ultimate NaNoWriMo rule and edit as I go. So far it worked out quite well.

Again, I’m really glad to have added Damian, because of how simple he makes things appear at times. Where Ares rants and raves, Damian just shuts him up and does so quite efficiently. That said, the last line of today’s chapter speaks of genuine Damian logic:

“No idea what Orpheus wants with you, but since you asked, the name’s Damian and you’re a godsdamned idiot.”

Anyway, I’m happy about the shiny progress 😀

Words written today: 1,011

Useful wordcount of the second draft so far: 12,767

Nominal writing

Yes, I’ve been working on editing throughout the last week. No, I haven’t written a single word beyond completing and editing Three. Yeah, let’s face it, I’ve been procrastinating and being right in the middle of moving apartments hasn’t really contributed to my time for writing either.

Then again I’ve been going over chapters Two through Four of my original first draft, trying to figure out what to keep and what to scrap. Honestly? Of almost 15,000 words, all I’m going to keep is one scene. Yes, there is a lot of superfluous wordy junk there and whenever I’m reading sections of the first twelve chapters, I get that eerie feeling that either I’m a damn schizophrenic or someone else must have written those chapters, because my writing has improved so much since then. And it’s not even been a year. I guess development can come in spurts 😉

So what’s the outcome of this editorial rampage? I basically decided to condense those original three chapters of flashback into one chapter. That one scene (which is a really cool one I might add) will serve as a great opener and then I’ll go from there. The basic frame of the chapter is pretty clear as is its result, but I really don’t want to get all tangled up in backstory and flashbacks, because those distract horribly from the main plot.

I suppose that’s one of the things I’ve learned about editing so far: cutting. Really. If a scene doesn’t contribute to your plot or character development, it’s gotta go. And let’s face it there’s a great number of those scenes all hidden sneaky-like in every kind of first draft just waiting for some thorough editing. I’m not saying trash it altogether, for there still might be some helpful and contributing bits in there, but you can always ‘recycle’ those scenes later or use those tidbits and drop them into the ongoing plot as casual asides.

So here I am, working on the problem flashbacks. I knew before that I’d run into problems with this section, but didn’t really know what to do with it. In the end it took me a couple of months of letting it simmer and a heightened sense of self-criticism to be able to part with most of it and figure out how to rewrite it instead.

Right now I’m rather amused by Damian’s suggestion of him knocking Ares out at a certain critical point. ‘Shut it up first and then deal with it later’ is so totally a thing Damian would do. So far he really likes the idea even though he already knows he’s never going to live that one down. I guess in the end we’ll see if the solution will be quite that drastic or not 😉

Yay for progress :D

In the end, I really had a blast with this chapter and yes, I finally finished it today 😀

There was action and dialogue and plot-twists and characters with rampant personality issues (yes, we all love those). Got some really nice plot- and character development here 😀

That was really fun to write 😀

Let’s hear it for the awesomeness of complete rewrites!

Take my novel by its ankles and shake the change out of its pockets…

Seriously, I love it when someone poses a very valid question regarding the logic of something in my writing and I notice plotholes that need to be stuffed. Happens all the time, especially in the editing phase and of course it isn’t always a pleasant thing to do. But today one of those questions inspired an avalanche of thoughts and inspiration that don’t only stuff plotholes and add some more detail to the first book as a whole, but also gave me an idea for an awesome opening for book two, Clairvoyance.

So far I’m still planning to launch book two during this year’s Nanowrimo and will work on getting all those random and not-so-random ideas all structured and orderly to be able to be able to do so.

Oh and yay for supercomputerized flammable voodoo dolls! 😀

…yeah…

Don’t ask :p

Random ideas and why every writer should love them!

As you can guess by the title, I’ve had some fun plotting for Light. Or should I call it subplotting?

Be that as it may, it never ceases to amaze me how randomly I seem to get ideas for my writing. I suppose all of you have some sort of favorite place to muse and get ideas for your writing. For me that would probably be my bed or oddly enough the shower 😉 But then again it’s those random situations that I’m in and my mind just suddenly snaps, coming up with some random idea that I know I have got to write down, because heyyyy it’s briiiiiliant. 8)

And in the end, that’s all your plot comes down to: some random idea that you dwell on for quite a while, pieced together with other random ideas. The best part about it is that you always can add on to those ideas (which is what we’d call subplot). And sometimes this happens quite automatically by adding another character. I recently read an article on Nathan Bransford’s blog about character and plot being inseparable and I guess it’s pretty self-evident. Whenever you add a character to your story, this character comes with a background, a motivation, a relationship to other characters whether they are main characters or merely supportive cast.

I made that kind of experience by adding Damian as a second first person point of view, in other words, making him my second main character next to Ares. So since Ares’ plot was already laid out in the first draft of Shadows, Damian was involved as one of the main characters, but now that he has his own PoV he is contributing much more details and his own plot lines which make the overall story so much more complex. Let alone he helps to clear up some potentially confusing bits and pieces.

With that I’m off with a writerly squee of awesome to work some new ideas into upcoming chapters. This is when editing is fun 😀

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The good old PoV dilemma…

…is seriously kicking my ass right now. Sorry for the French, but yes, it’s bad and maybe I’m just fretting too much about it, but currently my options are:

a) One First Person PoV (Ares) as I did in most of the first draft of Light, including minor dream sections in third person – I loved the ‘direct’ approach here and the fact that I can randomly throw in stray thoughts and inner monologue rather well ( There’s a good scene with Nymeron here )

b) Multiple Third Person PoVs (mainly Ares and Damian, including Raeyn in later books), as I did in Thirteen and Fourteen of the first draft as a multi-PoV experiment. I liked it, but got too many characters involved. I don’t want Light to suffer from character overload in the end, this only stretches out the plot with unnecessary details. Another thing I didn’t like here was the distance the third person PoV creates between reader and character. First person is so much more direct and immediate. (Temporarily ‘published’ Fourteen if you want to take a look at this approach here )

c) Two first person PoV’s (Ares and Damian) with distinct voices. This only leaves the problem with the dream sequences; should I mix in third person scenes or should I do them in first person clarifying that this is not directly happening to Ares/Damian? ( I played around with this here and quite liked it, actually. This is most likely the way I want to go, especially since I’m rather fond of Damian’s ‘voice’, but it leaves the problem with the Dreams as I commented below)

See my problem here, folks? I’d be grateful about some thoughts and linked you some chapters to be able to compare the different styles. I may tinker a bit with all three possibilities to decide which one works best in the end.

In Yoda speek: Meditate about this I must.

EDIT: Okay, as I look over this again, I must say that I think I’m pretty set on the first person approach. When it comes down to it, the only benefit of the third person PoVs is that I’d be able to include more characters, but then again I’d run the risk of stretching the plot out unnecessarily, while I actually liked the pacing in the end of the first draft with Ares’ PoV only really well. Adding Damian to the mix offers me the opportunity to tie-in some interesting tidbits, clarify some background, generally fill the novel with some more plot.

ERGO: yes, two first person PoVs is probably the way I’m going to go, but that leaves the problem of the dream sections: Should Ares’ dreams still be in third person or would that be too confusing, let alone an ultimate style-jumble. Should I write them in first person clarifying how he’s in relation to the character he ‘dreams’ about? Thoughts?