Where does the time go? I can’t believe the weeks have stacked up to seven high already. A friend told me last night that I should be proud for sticking with my daily routine for as long as I have. As obvious as it may seem, it was a nice little reminder. I should be proud (and I am). It was also a nice reminder that others, especially those I love, can and do feel proud for me for what I’m doing (which is something you can easily forget). I may be poorer but I honestly couldn’t be happier.
This week was all about Chapter 7. It’s set in Narrative 1, and introduces several important characters. You may think Chapter 7 may be a little late to be introducing them, but I don’t think so. Remember, Everborne is multi-narrative; it’s a story with an ensemble cast of interchangeable character perspectives. It’s a story not just about a couple of individuals, nor even a group of them. It’s not even set in a single world but multiple.
My decision to introduce them this late on helps build suspense from the first chapter. Instead of telling the story chronologically, showing a character go from A to B, I’ve shaped the chapters so he appears at B, where he has to, along with the reader, work out how he’s gotten there, without knowing where A even is. It not only builds mystery for his own story but allows me to shape intrigue for other characters that are connected. This is designed to have the reader questioning what’s going on (in a good way) and to build their intrigue. Well, that’s idea, at least.
This makes Chapter 7 long. It serves as a three-in-one chapter, as it jumps between the present and the past via flashbacks, though unlike Chapter 6 did: that chapter is unique in its own right. Despite the length, I’m trying to maintain pace. So far, I think it’s working, as there’s enough guessing to be done in the present and the past sections; hopefully by the time the reader reaches the end of one section they’re groaning not to leave, wanting to continue as they are. I don’t intend them to groan for long, however: I want the next section to sweep them away, just as the previous one did. Again, that’s the idea.
Here’s Week 7’s breakdown:
|Week 7||Word Total||Daily Words|
|17 Oct 2016||53,792||1,528|
|18 Oct 2016||55,246||1,454|
|19 Oct 2016||57,484||2,238|
|20 Oct 2016||59,072||1,588|
|21 Oct 2016||61,385||2,313|
|Overall Total||Week’s Total|
As you can see, the days varied in word counts, but they all averaged out to around 1,800 words a day, which is about what I want. (My minimum target is 1,500 a day, so this is actually excellent; if I maintain this, I’m going to be a very happy Tom.)
Monday and Tuesday typed by without much comment. I found Tuesday a bit slow as I was introducing a new character; the first time I write a character I’m still figuring out their voice, so this is natural. (I also spent the morning answering a character questionnaire.) I continued with that character on Wednesday and found the pace quickened. Not only was I more sure of them after a whole previous day of figuring them out, but I’d reached a point of the story I was especially excited to tell.
I produced an acceptable amount of words on Thursday, and was tempted to push into the 2,000 area—it always feels good when I do. Instead, I stopped a couple of hours earlier than usual and filled out another character questionnaire, otherwise I’d only be writing for writing’s sake. What I wrote on Thursday wasn’t bad but something didn’t feel quite right.
I decided to continue with the past narrative on Friday, as opposed to finishing off what I’d begun on Thursday. I soon realised that, although Thursday’s writing wasn’t bad, it may need to go. I’m now thinking telling the events from a different perspective would be much better. Thinking about it for a bit longer is only going to help, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. In the meantime I’ll finish the past narratives first, as opposed to switching between the two. This worked well for Chapter 6, so let’s hope it works well here.
Friday was a great day. Finishing on it made the whole week even better. It was one of those days that really made me believe in myself and what I am doing.
It was my first time writing Rohan (yes, his name is a nod to The Lord of the Rings but it’s pronounced “Rowan”), a very complicated but fun character: he’s as funny as he is pitiable as he is angry. I want the majority of my characters to be normal-yet-unique. Rohan is one of these. What makes him unique means he has one of the most deliberately structured voices so far. (I won’t say why, as I don’t want to give anything away.) This forced me to change my style a bit but also reminded me to re-think how other characters are going to distinguish themselves from each other.
I know that when I edit I will be able to layer in characters’ voices more successfully; that’s why it’s always nice to revisit a character for their following chapter, as I find that the more you write them the more you get to know them (I’m-sounding-like-a-fruit-loop-alert!) and the more their voice builds. I also feel more confident when I know a character’s voice better. Still, I made a separate document called Defining Characteristics where I can keep track of character’s idiolect (speech habits).
I’m excited to begin my last week of October. My running total is 61,385 words. By the end of the month I want to be somewhere roughly between 68,000 and 73,000 words. I’m confident I’ll be able to do that; the closer to the upper-end the happier I’ll be. Though as long as I’m sandwiched between those numbers, that’s all that really matters.
I’ll continue with Rohan tomorrow, and I expect Chapter 7 could take me up until Friday. As long as I do it right, I don’t mind.