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Writing Progress: Week Ending December 10, 2011

December 11, 2011

This week was not as productive as I would’ve liked, but it wasn’t so bad:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 1,571 words

Grand Total: 1,571 words

Last week I finally put the long and ancient history of the world of the Book of M to bed – and this week I started an exciting new phase of the book development: the novel outline.  The fifteen hundred words I put down this week got me right up until the beginning of what I expect will be the tenth chapter (though that could change when I start the actual writing), and the introduction of the primary villain of the book.  At last, the villain has a name. 

The work this week has been really fun.  I’ve had a rough idea of what the first seven chapters would contain for a while, so putting this down on paper was fairly straight forward.  But then I had to start getting creative – where would things go and what would happen after that?  So I started thinking about what could make the situation worse for the characters, and some interesting things started happening as a result.  I’m really looking forward to turning this into actual prose.

I expect the book to be somewhere between 30 and 45 chapters long, so at this rate I’m between a third and a quarter done with the outline.  This week, I’ll need to step away from the outline just a little to focus on the characters introduced in this part of the book, and flesh them out a little more – particularly the villain.  Up until now, I haven’t really had a clear idea of who the villain really was, just an idea of what his title and role were.  But I feel that I need to know him better, as a character – what are his goals, his fears, and how he thinks – before I can really wrap my arms around the plot of the book, because what he does and how the protagonist reacts to it is what’s going to really drive the plot.

So that’s how my writing week went.  How was yours?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2011 9:17 pm

    I dunno… be careful about waiting so long to introduce your villian… I discussed it with my husband and he says it depends on the context of the book. As long as things are HAPPENING you can probably get away with waiting that long (unless the chapters are really short?).

    Good luck and great job! You’ll get on it!

    • December 12, 2011 9:46 am

      Well, I can’t really say at this stage how long the chapters will really be. Based on my target wordcount of 125,000 words give-or-take 25K and my target chapter count of 30 to 40 the chapters could be anywhere from 2,500 words to 5,000 words on average. I’m expecting them to be a little over 3,000 words on average, but I’m still not really sure whether that constitutes a short or a long chapter. However, I feel that the way I’ve plotted the book, so far, has plenty going on leading up to chapter 10. The main villain isn’t really responsible for nor involved in the events preceeding his appearance. But some big things happen to the main character that bring them in conflict with the villain – through a combination of the main character’s actions/decisions and those of other characters, and one plot contingency. I feel like there’s plenty of conflict driving the action so far. The struggle that I feel I face is transitioning from the conflict that drives the first 7-10 chapters into the larger conflict that drives the rest of the book (and integrating the two).

  2. December 11, 2011 10:29 pm

    Good to hear you’re enjoying yourself. (:
    I’ll also be doing some more pre-novel work in the next few days (I hope; need to get back on the stick with stockpiling future blog posts, first). I’d taken a break from outlining to write my Christmas short story (which is recently finished, yay! Looking forward to my scheduled day for posting it!), but I need to get back and clear up stuff like plot timing and character names/attributes, stuff like that. That’ll be fun; I’m itching to start the actual book, though!

  3. December 12, 2011 7:42 pm

    Ahh you’re getting closer! Finally to thinking on the actual story 🙂

    I’m on a break right now. It’s been so busy with Christmas prep and other things going on. I’ve got plans for the new year, but for now, I need to take a breather.

    • December 13, 2011 8:11 am

      Yep, it feels good to be at this stage. I’m excited for the direction things are going – even though most of the outline that I written so far is the part that I’ve had in my head for months now. For yourself… you’ve been firing on all-cylinders for what? Like, at least a year now, what with finishing one book and starting another. So you deserve the break.

  4. December 12, 2011 10:37 pm

    To me the question about the delayed appearance of the villain is whether he will be known before that (talked about, but not actually seen), or whether he will be entirely unknown before his first appearance. Those are very different scenarios, though each can work well. From what I’ve read Voldemort was much discussed (although not, I believe, named) for a long time in the Harry Potter books before he actually appeared. (Orson Welles said the ideal situation for any actor was not to appear until Act Two or Act Three, but to have your character talked about a lot in Act One. When you finally appear the audience will really think you’re amazing, because they’ve just heard you talked about for an hour — sort of like Bill in the Kill Bill movies).

    But the other way can be effective also. I remember something (I’m blanking on what it was) where the first villain was built up as being pretty imposing for the first third of the book (or movie), and then the real villain appeared and disposed of the first villain in about a minute. Making the real villain seem formidable indeed.

    My week was pretty good. I did the final rounds of edits on the mystery stories, put them all together in a Word file, added the illustrations, and sketched out the epilogue to the final story. There’s still some cleanup to do on the Word file, plus a couple more illustrations, and that’s about it.

    Plus, I got some writing done on a new project I thought of (just a few handwritten pages). I think this has some potential, though I have only a sketchy idea where it’s going.

    • December 13, 2011 8:57 am

      Well, in this case, the villain isn’t directly referred to, at least not within the context of the outline. (It’s possible he might be mentioned in conversation in the actual text of the story, but the outline doesn’t go into that level of detail.) That said, Chapter 10 is still within the first act/first third of the book (or, in many ways, the intro of the villain is sort of the turning point from Act 1 to Act 2), so it’s not a very highly delayed introduction. I’m not worried about it, though. It feels right for this story. As for yourself, it looks like you’re on top of things. That’s got to feel pretty good. 🙂

      • December 13, 2011 2:07 pm

        I’m all in favor of breaking the “rules” if it will get you to a better story. And a good villain is always an asset to any story.

        I’m in an odd place with the stories, since I still enjoy reading them, but I’m really sick of editing them. Nearly done with that for the moment, though.

        I look forward to reading the post you just linked to about prophecy as soon as I get to a computer. As you know, that’s a topic I have strong opinions about. 🙂

      • December 13, 2011 2:26 pm

        Heh. Well, it’s an interesting post that I think allows for a multiplicity of thoughts on the subject.

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