Going Where It Needs To

I’ve actually been working on my novel. This will be a surprise to some. The fact that this could possibly be a surprise to people that read this blog that don’t know me is two-fold: a writer working on their novel shouldn’t be a surprise, and it being a potential surprise is in itself a possible surprise.

With all that aside, last year was kind of a lost cause when it came to my own writing. I spent a lot of busy time doing other stuff, often writing either about games or for games, playing games, and well, working. I was working before that too, but a change in my job meant I found myself with a lot less time outside hours. There’s parenting and commuting (it really seems like transport has gotten increasingly worse) but look, it’s still me at the end of the day. I didn’t do enough of something I should have done more of.

Excuses aside, this year has started better.

Aside from cleaning up the prologue I wrote, I’ve been spending a bit of time lately trying to get the pace of the story down correctly. This is going to seem like a bit of a toss to the two people who have read the entire thing as I originally wrote it, but it still wasn’t at that level that I needed it to be. Too much was coincidence-driven, and characters that should have had a bigger part in the story were just… there, and not too active. It’s all about changing that.

The Sydney thread of the story suffered from a false-start, and it’s the impact of a certain Detective character that should’ve set it right. I’m getting closer to that intended version, but it’s part of the thing with NaNoWriMo, where you often don’t know what’s happening in the story until you’re halfway through it. I also needed that same character to touch on the Seattle thread of the story, since that’s where HIS part of the story begins. With the prologue. It’s fine that he ends up where he does (though as one reader, Ken, rightly said, he needs to do more. I’ve been through that topic before).

The problem with the Detective showing up in Seattle again was that Seattle’s big thread was still in the process of being established, and as the one with the closest thing to a protagonist it has, it needed to do things with its own pace.

Though I’ve never been big on those big grid timelines you see all the famous authors use, turns out that when you have three threads running across multiple places with intersecting moments, you kinda need to know exactly when everything happens.

The real takeaway from this process though, is that to refresh my memory I’ve had to skim the story. In doing so, I’ve been struck by how often certain sentences ring out as something that I know will make it through this draft untouched, possibly even the next. Yes I’ve killed some darling sentences, some of the most wonderfully crafted ones (well, maybe not that great) just because they didn’t fit where I was going with it, but that’s okay.

I’ve also gotten past one of my major perfection-seeking habits when it comes to revision (drafts are fine now, though that took years to unlearn too). Maybe, amidst all the side projects and other things I’m doing, I’ll get this one through to a complete second draft. The story is still the same, though the plot might have shifted, but all of it is heading in the right direction.

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