Saturday, May 03, 2008

The State of the Sausage

As of today, I am about 180K words into The Affairs of Dragons. At present I expect to write another 20K words before I reach the end of this segment of the series; but I am a notoriously bad estimator, so it will be interesting to see how many more words I actually write.

A quick anatomical sketch of the beast: this is a fantasy novel set on more-or-less-present-day Earth. There are two PoV characters (one male, one female) and two really significant secondary characters, both of whom are male. (Naturally there are other characters as well...) Each of the primary PoVs is presented in 1st. After years of writing close-3rd, in fact beginning this novel in close-3rd, I suddenly realized that I simply must write the female PoV (Lesle) in 1st. Why? That was how she started talking on this draft. In short order I realized I must also render the male protag (Deaclan) in the same PoV, because to do otherwise would be to suggest that his thread is less important than hers, which it definitely is not. Both are necessary. So, yes: this thing I'm doing, this multi-first, which looks like a Stupid Writer Trick: it's not a gimmick. It just happened this time. Now I find it difficult to imagine writing anything but first for characters with whom I'm intimately connected, but I've been through this sort of thing before: that is just how I feel while I'm working on this project. Other PoVs will become possible again.

The novel is essentially a complete draft up to this point: I write straight through, and never knowingly skip a scene. The muse pulls the rug out from under me too frequently for me to get away with that. (This is not to say that writing out-of-order is bad, of course: many people do that, and do it well. It just doesn't work for me.) There are, however, a few scenes I forgot to write in the first third of the book, because I forgot about a sub-thread I had planned until my writing partners asked me what in the world had happened to it. (*Hand-forehead.* This is why we have writing partners.) And there is also one scene just a couple chapters behind the place where I'm working--which I never wrote because I just couldn't make up my mind whether to include it. (It doesn't matter for this book, but it will matter for the next two, so I've decided to put it in.) At any rate, there will be forward motion for another chapter or so, and then I will have to go back and fill in that last omitted scene before I can write the next one involving that secondary character. The same scenario will occur later, when I get to the point where that neglected subplot comes back into play.

When last I had a productive day in the study (and it's been too many days since that happened, as it has been an intense week) I was in the middle of a rather long scene. So my first task is to finish that: it's likely to take a couple days. Let's go find out...

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