Writing Progress: Week Ending April 7, 2012

It was not a bad week, wordcount wise:

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 401 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 2,468 words

Grand Total: 2,869 words

This week I very nearly wrapped up the second chapter of “Book of M”.  The second chapter has been a lot of fun to write, so far.  It’s significantly more action-packed than the first chapter.  When I mentioned this to Dear Wife, she asked “shouldn’t your first chapter be just as exciting, to get the reader hooked?”  Well, yes, Dear Wife is right about getting the reader hooked.  Doing that is pretty important to setting the right tone for the story.  (I’ll note that as yet Dear Wife has only my word to go on; she hasn’t had the opportunity to read the first chapter.)  In fact, this is a worry of mine.

But I’ve resolved to let the reader feedback tell me whether this is in fact a problem.  I’m much to close to the moment, and I right now can only trust my own intuition.

My intuition has taken a strange direction on this particular issue.  What I’m now writing as Chapter 2, when I first started thinking about this book several years ago, I had originally envisioned as the prologue.  Chronologically speaking, Chapter 2 takes place before Chapter 1.  But it takes as its focus not the main character – that is, not my primary protagonist, Isa, – but the story’s “co-protagonist”, a young man who joins Isa on her journey and whose story intertwines with her own.  What I have now as Chapter 2 is, basically, the co-protagonist’s backstory (which intersects with some of the significant backstory of the world).  But the plot of the novel itself really begins when Isa and her co-protagonist first meet.  And so I made that the focus of the first chapter.  It felt right to start the story from Isa’s point-of-view, and to start by showing this initial meeting – because how Isa reacts to that meeting will inform her actions going forward.

Plus, I wanted to establish Isa’s character, and start hinting at some of her own backstory that is relevant to her immediate situation and motivates her to act the way she does.

That’s a lot of non-specific blather, I suppose.  Enough for one day.  Suffice to say: I feel like this is the right choice, artistically.  I hope that readers react to it well, and that they are interested in my protagonist and her plight as suggested in Chapter 1 sufficiently that they are motivated to keep reading her story, independent of the more action-oriented introduction of her co-conspirator in the story.  But until the story is ready for readers, I won’t know the answer for sure, either way.

Anyway, I’m excited to soon be finishing Chapter 2, and from there to return back to Isa and unfold her story a little further.  She’ll be spending the next several scenes away from her co-protagonist – from here on I haven’t really mapped the scenes solidly to chapters yet – and I’m eager to reveal the dirty details of her world.

So how about you?  What are you working on right now?  What challenges are you struggling with?  How was your week in writing?