The weekend before last, I had to clean up after an ill-timed snowstorm. It reduced my writing productivity and I got frustrated at the loss. I had to reminded myself that I don’t control the weather… and that reworking A Contract in Azure and Indigo isn’t a race. This weekend, I was setting up three platforms with 28 days of authorly social media. Once again, I had to reminded myself of something in my frustration. This time it was that the media stuff is a necessary chore for an indie author. And that mine continues to serve me well despite the hassle.
What I did get done with the time I had was to complete the finishing touches to chapter one. I then proceeded to do a full revamp of two and got a few pages of edits into chapter three. I’m working my way through revisions in sequence, so I haven’t started writing the new chapter four yet.
The changes in chapters two and three focused on different goals than one did. Both are areas highlighted by my editor.
First is the presentation of the story’s antagonist introduced at the start of chapter two. He’s the crux of the conflict and action from that moment until the end of chapter three. There wouldn’t be a story without this asshole, so he’s important.
Editor Lauren felt that his characterization was inconsistent. He goes from cold and threatening to hot and shouting in circles. That’s an opinion I’ve heard from others too. My intent was to present him as mercurial in temperament. But it keeps coming across as inconsistent. So— as that portrayal isn’t essential to the story— I revised his personality.
I picked the cold end of the spectrum and dialed-back his “hot” reactions to make him much more consistent. This is sometimes as simple as swapping his exclamation points for periods. I also tweaked his dialogue so that he doesn’t use contractions. Doing that added a nice aristocratic chill and ego to his speech. It’s a departure from my first takes on this jerk, but my hope is that he’ll get more boos being less cartoonish.
Another goal is to introduce friendly conflict between the main and secondary protagonists.
The secondary is a loyal Samwise Gamgee type. While differing to the main is a sign of his respect and trust in her, it happens a lot. It happens to the point that things are a bit too smooth. If they had to navigate different opinions, I could showcase both protagonists better.
So, I’ve introduced more friction between the pair. In doing this in chapter two, I dialed-up the secondary’s hostility to the antagonist. This frustrates the main protagonist, who must mediate between the two. Later, the secondary tries to talk the main out of a plan he has strong doubts about, and fears will be the death of her. She needs to convince him to go along.
Both of those new interactions seem to play well. They strengthen the characterization of the secondary in the opening chapters. The changes don’t weaken the main, but as she already has a lot of focus the boost to her is small. Moreover, the added antagonist tension will intensify the end of the third chapter. It’ll pay off even more down the road in chapter five… I’ve tossed in Chekhov’s hatchet, and I’m not afraid to use it! ;-)
On other topics, some of you may have already noticed some differences here on the blog this week.
Over the weekend’s media setup, I implemented some changes I’ve been thinking about for a while. The biggest one is that I’m cutting back my monthly posts here from 48 to 28. Setting up 48 individual blog posts takes a lot of time. Cutting that number almost in half salvages that time so I can reclaim it for my writing again.
These cuts manifest in stopping the Aethereal Musings posts I run weekday mornings. My microfictions will still appear on the blog. The weekend serials will continue as is, but the rest will appear in single post on Wednesdays. Those of you that remember my Mid-Week Muses will find these compilations similar.
All my microfiction is also going to be presented as text only from here on out, too. The picture vignette’s that started here and evolved into my “Blackboards” are leaving. I’ve been setting up the daily microfiction here as text and picture-text for more than a year. The picture vignettes flourish elsewhere, but I’ve come to realize they’re redundant here. They only double my production time.
Have a great week everyone, and keep writing!
~Jason H. Abbott