I posted Chapter 6 of Nordic Diner today, and while I was formatting it, the idea truck hit me on its way to rewrite town.
I need to scrap the next twelve chapters that I have already written. They are crap. Well, not actually. I like a lot of the stuff that happens in those chapters. There are some pretty funny one liners, a great character named Minotaur (who is neither horned nor lives in a maze), and Kurt being stealthy, cryptic, and deadly. It all flowed easily while I was writing it; it moved the story along. There was action, exposition, and character development. It all needs to go.
This is, perhaps, the worst part of writing. Here I have something that I liked writing, I enjoy reading, and it has all sorts of little tidbits of information that I can’t wait for the reader to know. Unfortunately, what I need is to cut the fat off this story. More action, fewer character introductions. More emotional connection with the main characters, less world building. Sometimes less is more, and that is true here. I have time later, in some other short story(ies), to show you all the fabulous world I have imagined down to the tiniest detail. This is not the time or place.
Usually, when I edit, it is with a scalpel. I carefully remove this, replace with that. This section is severed here and reattached there. Most of what goes onto a page in the first mad sprint of writing stays in one way or another. It has been the case, at least for me and maybe for other authors as well, that every story has one moment where precision editing isn’t enough. Removing a wart isn’t enough. I have to amputate to save the body. It is for the best, and it will make the end product better. I am sure of that.
It still sucks.
Today I posted the last chapter of Barghest, Part I. This story is designed in a serial format, so although Chapter 20: Choice does leave some questions unanswered, it also brings to a close this portion of the story. Part I was centered around a four month period in Sergeant Clara Maker’s life. Other chapters were focused on Malak and what transpired to bring him into the same battle Maker is fighting. I also interspersed a few, brief, interludes that were intended to give you a glimpse into the universe outside of those two characters. I wanted to at least indicate that there is a much larger political and cultural background to this story than just what Maker and Malak experience first hand. Hopefully, these chapters that are written at various points in the timeline came together in a way that pulls this story to a close and still leaves you wanting more.
I have already started writing Part II, and I am excited to share it with you. There will be a brief wait of a week or two before the next chapter goes up, and I hope you take the opportunity to leave comments on how you felt about Part I – the good, the bad, and the confusing. Let me know what you want to see in Part II, and what you think might happen. I have loved writing Barghest, and I want to continue on this journey with you. Read Chapter 20, and don’t forget to comment!
Queen. David Bowie. Does it get any better? This has been the theme for my writing for the past two weeks. Comments on recent chapters of Barghest led me to make some changes. As I’ve said before, I write a few chapters ahead of where I post to allow for editing. In this case, that has worked out really well because it has allowed me to consider the questions posed by readers and decided if and how to address them. It required a complete rewrite of the final chapter, but I think the results are worth it. And Chapter 19 went up on time, despite my last minute changes.
However, that means I was rewriting the last chapter of Part I while working on Chapter 2 for Part II of Barghest. I also needed to edit the most recent Nordic Diner post before it could be released today. (“She said ‘news’ with reverent, breathy emphasis – placing it in the same category as front row tickets to the Rolling Stones, a spiritual experience in Tibet, and multiple orgasms.”) It felt for a few days like carpal tunnel might be in my future – as my day job writing grants got a little hectic as well.
Although I was sweating bullets for a while with deadlines looming, I would do it again. Oftentimes, I write better under pressure. I have to finish it. I can’t wait to find the perfect word or research exactly how large a knife a special forces soldier might carry. That is when the ideas really flow – when I have to get something down so that I can move on to another project. Or, even better, when I don’t want to work on one thing so I force myself to write on another. Of course, it all needs edited, and that is where the thesaurus and fact checking will come into play. Still, I feel good about what I have produced. And isn’t that the point?
Well, that, and to become independently wealthy. I’ll do that next week.
I have posted the next chapter of Barghest – Evening Constitutional. This one features Malak and his Legion team, and it is bringing us up to the close of this first part of Barghest.
I was about halfway through writing this storyline when I realized that Barghest needed to be split into parts. As is often the way when I write, I have to get into a story before I have a broad idea of where I am going with it. I know that many authors do not work this way; some of my favorites to read plan out their plot in exacting detail – even down to each scene and accompanying narrative section. I have tried that, and so far it hasn’t worked well for me. Perhaps if I dedicated more large blocks of time to planning, research, and writing – instead of doing them all at the same time in thirty minute increments…
What Barghest is shaping into is a serialized novel in 4-5 parts, each part being approximately 20 chapters. As long as I can continue the pace of posting one chapter per week, it looks like another 62-82 weeks before I am finished. That puts us at around September of 2017 to be done. Although it sounds like a long time for a reader, that is incredibly quick for me to write, edit, and post. I am looking forward to the challenge – and to hearing your comments on Barghest.
I am on vacation this week. I took it as an opportunity to write, do some website and social media housekeeping, and write. Notice I put “write” twice. That is a lot of writing. To prove to you that I haven’t just been sitting by the pool (although there has been some of that), I posted a new chapter of Barghest on Tuesday, #tuesdayserial. Things are heating up for Sergeant Maker, and the promise she made to her team that everyone will go home is turning out to be difficult to keep. I also posted the first three, revised, chapters of my NaNoWriMo project, Nordic Diner. That project is set in the present, and has strong elements of fantasy and magic. I have been working on it quite a bit during this little break, and I have high hopes to be able to keep up the pace. Of course, you know what they say about wishes and dreams. Share your thoughts about Barghest or Nordic Diner in the comments. I would love to hear from you, and a little encouragement goes a long way!