Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
I added 3,200 words to the new chapter seven of Vivian’s Last Cigarette over the weekend, getting its total word-count to 7,300 as of 11pm Sunday. I’d hoped to finish the chapter by then… but alas… I once again came up short.
However, I didn’t come up short by much! Maybe only by 500 words, and certainly by less than a thousand as I wrap-up the action. In fact, it was a very productive weekend where I reached 160% of my word-count goal!
On the fun side, my Saturday evening was spent participating in a podcast/video discussion on the life and works of Edgar Rice Burroughs with my author friend Bryan Aiello. It was another good session for his Mirage series, like the one we did for J.R.R. Tolkien, and something I look forward to sharing with my blog readers in the days to come.
On the decidedly more annoying side of the spectrum, having started my Sunday writing on crisp and quiet morning, just before 8am a mass baptism of all things started in the park just behind my house. The park has a river and facilities for public swimming along with a big field frequently filled with kids and adults enjoying it. People in the park have never been a noise issue for us.
But these guys. Oh boy. They had hired a Cristian-rock band for live musical accompaniment. And of course they made sure to turn it up to eleven so that the whole neighborhood got to listen to their party.
A party that started before 8am on a Sunday, and would last for half the day.
While riffs and drumbeats repeatedly interrupted my own music, vibrating my desk as if they were preforming on my porch, I had a vision attempting to write: I saw orcish Viv trying to sleep off a late night crashed on a couch and unable to do so as her bloodshot eyes opened to these sappy lyrics. I’m pretty sure that what would have happened next would involve her stomping down there to dunk some heads in the river firsthand… in her capacity as a deacon of the Church of the Blessed Fist, of course.
Huh. That actually sounds like a good bit for a sequel. I’ve jotted that down now. ;-)
So yeah, writing on Sunday was less than ideal until the early afternoon. But then, BOOM… I made up all the lost time and then some, although I can’t shake the feeling that without the interruption I would have finished the new chapter seven by generating just a little more wordcount.
And about that new chapter…
The whole draft would have likely finished somewhere near 8,000 words. However, my definition of a chapter is one that includes it being able to be read comfortably in a single sitting, and 7,000 words or more is my cutoff benchmark for meeting that. Therefore, I’ve decided to split it into two chapters for ease of reading.
As one big chapter, there was already a major shift in the action at the 3,500 word mark, so it was a very easy and natural division to make. The existing rhythm of the prose worked seamlessly into becoming a chapter break.
This means that I’ve already finished the new 3,500 word seventh chapter, Truckin’. And the new eighth chapter, Touch of Grey —comprised of the other half of the draft— is close to done and looking to end in the 4,500 word range.
(Why yes, there is a Grateful Dead naming convention with the chapter subtitles on these two. It’ll be pretty clear as to why when you read them.)
The new eighth contains the big climax to the second story arc and several surprises. Out of fear of spoilers, I won’t go into a lot of details about what happens. But I will say that I got to write some brisk little action, and some great dialogue I was happy with.
I also laughed out loud many times like a jolly pantser, having fun and seeing what humor I could sprout within my fairly neat garden of story.
For those that are curious, I’m not full-blown pantser. Like most writers, I don’t fall at the end of either extreme of the pantser — plotter spectrum. However, I’ll freely admit that my style is much closer to the pantser side. I do plot and outline; mostly conceiving and refining scenes, characters and the like in my head along while stringing them together to form a consistent narrative.
But what I commit down to paper before starting a new piece of fiction is usually just a handful of pages of jumbled notes, and maybe a brief outline of plot milestones and storytelling progression. My decades spent trapped in worldbuilding dungeons have taught me the harsh lesson that I can easily become lost in research, planning, plotting and outlining indefinitely.
Meticulous outlining and plotting will actually hinder my ability to write far more than it helps by keeping me from starting on the actual story itself. So I quite consciously keep it to a minimum. Discovering this style has worked out well for me and I’m happy and productive with it. But as with anything creative, your millage may vary.
I’m looking forward to returning to editing Viv’s and putting it’s new chapter writing on the back burner for a while. I’ve got plenty of critique feedback to act upon and new drafts to craft. And I’m eager to get the new first act —which at this point feels like it will be chapters one to nine— tooled-up and into an overall fifth draft so I can send it along to the next reader in the critique chain.
As was the case last update, there has been no movement on my other projects of Cretaceous Queen and Far from Acheron this week. All my fiction writing has been devoted to the novel. However, with only a little left to wrap-up on the new chapter eight, and the long Labor Day weekend coming up, I suspect I’ll have some editing done on them quite soon. They are stories I really want to share here on the blog! :-)
I’m also planning to write a new short story this September: A weird fiction tribute mixing the works of H.P. Lovecraft and R.E. Howard. I’ve had an idea for months, and my intent is to share it with the Fantasy Writers subreddit as part of a writing challenge I’m overseeing.
Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!