Sunday, March 16, 2014

Milestones

Hot shit, the first act is done, for a cool total of roughly 45,000 words. That's...more than I strictly intended. I was shooting for roughly 80,000 for the whole book. What I've got outlined for Act II is roughly twice the amount of things I covered in Act I. I suspect the next few drafts are going to be a drunken orgy of chapter combining, cold and ruthless trimming and some serious shit-kicking. Until then, I'm plowing through, just writing the story as it comes out and trying not to get hung up too much on pointless statistics like that. Yet.

Still, it ended strongly. Much more strongly than I thought it would be. The final chapter in that section is some of the best writing I've done in quite a while. It was one of those cases where I combined three separate chapters in my previous draft into one and, when I hit the final period, it just fell together. It was a feeling much like the one you get when you're folding your laundry, you pick up a shirt and shake it into place, all the wrinkles coming out almost by magic. In the rough-rough draft, it was almost a throwaway chapter, just some pointless trippy explication to get the reader through to the next section. Now, not so much.

There is one moment in particular I hadn't planned on becoming quite so central to Cam's character development. In the outline, it was half a sentence and I was seriously considering skipping that section and then getting on with the transition to Act II. Instead I blew it up into a paragraph and it turned itself into one of those moments which are half cathartic punchline, half significant character arc. I suspect if this damn thing ever gets published, it's one of the things people will talk about when they refer to the book: "Hey, guys, you remember the bit where Cam flips off the giant caterpillar and it eats him?"

It feels good to be through this section. I'm going to spend a couple of quality days re-outlining Act II before I dive in, make sure it does what I think it should do. Since much of it takes place during and a bit before the events in Act I due to a sudden outbreak of time-travel, I have to be kind of careful about continuity. Luckily, as a writer, you have the luxury of going back and changing things to make it look like you're a much careful planner and thinker than you really are. When you're God, you have a nigh-infinite ability to stack the deck in your universe.

Anyhow. Onwards and downwards. Not the most meaty blog update I've had in the last few weeks. Nary a word about coffee, no random bloviation about life, but it feels good to post about milestones. I think this week is another story week. I'll have to think about what to write. I feel pretty bad about stranding Bo and his new rat friend in the dungeons of the Taco Lord so I might get back to them, unless something more random comes to mind.

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