Exposition

Okay, I’m stuck, so I’m making another post so that I can write while I’m … doing something. I’m just not sure what that something ought to be yet.

Here’s an itinerary:

  • I have a plan for draft 2 in terms of structure, at least up to the halfway mark in the story
  • I have a boatload of notes, from myself and from other people, that are drawing my attention to things about my characters and the way that they interact with one another, and just their characterisation in general, that I really want to explore.
  • I have 21 days to find a way of combining these two aspects of the project into a coherent whole.

I mean I don’t have to do that; I can just focus on structure for draft 2 and then after I’m happy with the skeleton I can then lay the more nuanced stuff re characters on top of that. But having said that, there is nothing to structure without nutting out how these characters relate to one another, because this story is about the characters, specifically how they all relate to the main character and contribute to her story.

So I guess, actually, it’s not two halves. It’s just looking at the same, singular subject from two different perspectives.

I have to know Tallulah’s story before I work out anybody else’s, but her story is made up of other people.

So okay. Central conflicts. Which is not to say that Tallulah has a conflict with every single character, as in an antagonistic relationship, but even choosing which movie to watch counts as a conflict. Today I need to nut out the core of each relationship that she has with each of the characters. I suppose this is also the point where I find out whether certain characters get to stay or not.

X(

X'(

What I’m starting to realise now is that a brief summary is only going to be so helpful in my planning for draft 2, because I can’t really paint this story in broad strokes. I mean I can, in terms of the central plot, but plot is not really the means by which this story conveys itself. There is a plot, certainly, and in my mind at least it gets followed all throughout the story, but so much of that direction comes from the characters, little interactions and the nature of different relationships, not all of which I’ve really explored as much as I’d like. In fact hardly any of them I’ve explored to a point where I’m actually happy with what’s going on. Good ideas, and happily ideas that seem to resonate with other people than just myself, again thanks to my beta readers for that, but ideas are only a beginning …

Yes. All right. It’s decided. A character day today. Today being halfway over already, but that’s fine. This is going to take longer than just one day.

I guess this is also where I really test my process – dumping a massive roughshod draft over the span of hundreds of pages and then picking out the choicest yield, and finding through some mystical undertaking as of yet unbeknownst to me how most poetically to string together a sequence of disparate notions into a story that runs together as I feel a story should.

And saying that, I am once again reminded that despite how long it’s taken to get to this point in terms of completing this story, this has all only been me taking the first step, and only now, after a year and a half of writing this thing, am I finally transferring my weight onto the other foot in order to maintain forward momentum. But at least I have momentum to maintain. This is easily the longest-lived personal writing project I’ve ever undertaken, in terms of working on it consistently. I haven’t really taken a break from it that lasted longer than a month. Not to memory anyway.

And there’s still so much work left to start, let alone finish.

A lot of work in not a lot of time. I want to get draft 3 out by the end of this year. I have no idea how this process works or what I can expect in terms of how I’ll find myself allocating my time to its different aspects, but it ‘means’ that I have 3 months per draft to play with. 3 months is enough to write my 124k-word draft, working with a daily word-quota of 2k.

I won’t be actually doing very much writing for this next bit, though. It’s more about moving things around so that they fit together and better form a sequence of events that conveys a story. So I can’t measure in words written per day, because that’s pointless. And I’m not going to scrap it all and start over from scratch, because I’ve got some good collections of words that don’t deserve such an unceremonious dismissal.

Draft 3, I imagine, is going to be more writing-focused than anything, re-introducing whatever nuances that I found in draft 1 and will not be making my main focus in draft 2, making the whole thing feel more alive.

3 months for each of these halves, which are not really halves. 6 months to somehow divvy up all of this work yet to be done or even planned for in order to come to the end of draft 3 by December 31st.

That’s scary.

It’ll be even scarier once I put this all on a wall planner, or whatever my chosen accountability-holding device is this time around.

But you know what?

Right now, I kinda like scary.

Makes the whole situation feel more real. And if it’s really happening, then I really have to do it.

Scary is good.

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