WIP-it Wednesday: January 11th, 2017

Getting back to work…

Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!

I finally got back to working on Vivian’s Last Cigarette! The last chapter is started, and although I didn’t get a ton written, I did add a solid twelve-hundred words.

Those words comprised a tricky opening scene that introduces three characters in the last chapter of the book. Perhaps introduced is too strong a word… They’ve actually all been mentioned a good number of times since the opening of the story, and their absence has been a key plot point.

But still, this is the reader’s first chance to meet the trio firsthand rather than in the spoken recollections of others. Although I didn’t plan for it to play out as such, I think that many may construct views of them based off of assumptions. Some might be surprised at how they actually are, and I’m really pleased at that idea!

It’s made me appreciate how great it can be to have characters that exist in the story largely within the dialogue of other characters. My narrative style is kind of third-person limited-limited in Vivian’s Last… But Viv and Gronk speak a lot about their families and others in conversation. That’s allowed for some biased narration to slip in on their part, coloring those characters and their actions through the teen’s respective filters.

I’ve worked in some surprises when the characters are finally introduced in the flesh. It’s similar to the feeling you might get meeting someone in person after being told a lot of stories about them by a friend. There can be a disconnect as you merge the legend and the reality. For one character in particular… perhaps the least mentioned… Viv has been very harsh on her despite never meeting them and knowing her through what little Gronk has said. This has everything to do with Viv’s hang-ups rather than reality, and I think that the readers (and Viv) will be surprised when they actually meet Mel in person. :-)

Another aspect of giving an absent character presence in my story has been letting the tale unfold amid their personal space and possessions. Within the trio that joins the book in person only in its final chapter, this is exclusively true of Ann: A petite lady also know as Gronk’s mom.

Close to two-thirds of the book unfolds in and around the house she shares with her teenaged son. Hints and aspects of Ann are everywhere. From her decorating sense, to how she stocks a kitchen, to the personal affects we get a glimpse off. Aside from Gronk’s room, the house is a constant reminder of her… and the importance her absence is to the unfolding story.

For those reasons, when she finally makes her appearance I think many readers will be tickled to see what she’s actually like!

Everything that’s revealed is built upon what’s already been hinted, so there are no shockers. But what I’ve enjoyed in crafting Ann is that she’s a character that is plainly Gronk’s mother. Not by a physical resemblance… since Gronk has become an orc and Ann is still very much human… but in the way that her personality and quirks have influenced and shaped him.

I’m pretty happy with the way the last chapter is kicking off. I think the new characters are introduced and established quick and clean. The location of the scene and it’s relation to the story before that point should be easy to discern. And finally the unfolding action not only shows many character facets that should interest the reader, but also a glimpse of the wider world outside the main focus of the story.

I really wish I had more time to write this weekend. My Saturday was fairly consumed with launching and answering questions about major changes to how were run the writing contests on the FantasyWriters subreddit I moderate. Although we’ve been working on the changes for many months, getting it ready for the public has been one of the tasks keeping me from getting back to the novel I’ve mentioned in the last few weeks.

Now it’s done, and done well. With that behind me, Sunday felt so good with getting back to Vivian’s Last.

With time opening up, I’m thinking about starting a new short story to work on weekdays while focusing on the novel on the weekends. Specifically, it’s an Exerverse idea from the fall of 2015 that I might flesh-out to share on my blog and elsewhere. It’s been far too long since played around in that setting!

Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!

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