Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
Work on Vivian’s Last Cigarette continues. It crossed the milestone of twenty-thousand words to officially become my first full-fledged novella on Friday! :-) W00T!
Its exact word-count as of this morning is in flux, however. As the story entered novella territory, I became growingly displeased with the structure, pace and direction of the two most recent chapters (six and seven). I separated them out and started an overhaul Friday night… making cuts, revising tone, and reworking their sequence of events. This entailed a lot of new writing and rewriting to thread it all together while listening to 1980s era Iron Maiden and Savatage. With that process still going on today, it’s impossible to say where the story is at lengthwise… Not that a word-count would reflect the efforts of my editing anyways.
Additionally I had a busy weekend where I caught-up with friends, while Monday was spent catching up with other projects and laying supplemental groundwork for this one. The three day break was good for Vivian’s Last Cigarette though. It enabled me to think about and work through some plot points causing me trouble in this troublesome stretch of the tale.
I’m at that tricky part in a love story where my protagonists have a growing trust and mounting curiosity in one another before the crisis point. I can’t take things too far or fast, or it will weaken the crisis. But I also can’t string it along too much or the pace will drag. It’s a balancing act, and sometimes the only way to stay on that tightrope is with revision and hindsight to adjust the flow.
Add to that a major curveball revelation I’m about to toss at the reader, and I’ve got my hands full! ;-) That said, it’s moving again. And I’m happy with the direction. :-)
I mentioned Iron Maiden and Savatage earlier, and I am absolutely serious when I say that they have made excellent listening while I work on this piece. Vivian’s Last Cigarette features a lot of references to music, and listening to the same tracks that my characters are puts me right there with them. Viv is into punk and metal, and her musical tastes are her soundtrack and expression. This seeps into much of the work, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of referencing music and/or conveying its feel without stepping over copyright boundaries and quoting lyrics. The theme even extends to my chapter titles, where they are mostly inspired by song and band names.
Music is also a common ground that Gronk and Viv walk onto as their relationship starts to deepen. And as it is an important part of Viv’s character, it’s a great way to show a little more about her as well…
(Warning: NSFW language and first draft snippets ahead!)
From Chapter Six…