Writing and Geography

I’m having a bit of a challenge getting into the swing of things post-July, as you might have noticed. I have all of these WORDS! My first task was to deal with my pacing and pov issues and reorganize what I had written so far. Here’s what I did:

1. I made a timeline for my whole entire plot. It took a long time, but at least now I know what happens and when. I spent a lot of time calculating fake distances, as in “how far is it from fake Dresden to fake Vienna? Or from Salzburg to Frankfurt? Why can’t I go through Prague? And how long does it take to send a message between these places? Or travel on foot/horseback/wagon/as undernourished refugee?” Because it’s hard to get an army to march to your rescue when they are 60 days march away and your opponent is only ten. Granted, it’s a fake world, but I just can’t get over it. I need to know where stuff really is.

Screenshot 2014-08-03 04.27.02(2)

2. Based on the timeline, I wrote out the whole plot outline in narrative form. It was about 5000 words in the end, and I loved it. It all made sense. I could get to the end and it still made sense! And, free of so many different and restrictive povs, I can either not worry about it right now, or the problem solves itself, depending on what’s going on.

I also found some mistakes in what I’d already written. The battle in my prologue for instance, is totally backwards geographically. So now, I need to rewrite it with everyone in the right place. I had to draw myself another map to get it all right. This makes me wonder if publishing this in serial form is a good idea. In any case, a prologue might not be able to happen first because it commits me to all kinds of potential errors. Well, I’ll worry about that stuff later.

3. Next, based on that narrative, I set up my chapters in Scrivener. This is where it gets scary. I cut something like eight chapters and over SIXTY THOUSAND WORDS. That kind of hurt. I will probably still end up using some of those words eventually, but they will have to be rewritten. Never fear! I still have nearly 80,000 left and I am far from done. So far, I have 42 chapters mapped out, but there will probably be more, depending on how long I want my chapters to be. I’m thinking that 2-3,000 words is reasonable, but I have a few that are pushing 7K.

Screenshot 2014-08-12 10.31.20

There were some interesting developments in all of this. I had thought that Janna would play a much smaller role, but instead, she’s been resurrected to her November NaNoWriMo draft incarnation and now has a pretty big part to play, including her own pov for a good bit of the book. Unfortunately, I can’t use anything I wrote in November, because that version of the story ended where this one begins.

On the other hand, Arian, who had a major pov in my first run, has been cut out altogether until close to the halfway point. He might not even get his own pov ever, in this book, but I have big future plans for him, so he’ll be okay.

So now, I have an interesting mish-mash of chapters that only need editing, while others need partial or complete rewrites and still others that need to be started from scratch. I’ve been participating in a monthly Twitter writing challenge, which allows for all of the above. While I realize that editing is still progress, and I like to keep things cleaned up as I go, I also want to keep up on the forward momentum. So most days, I’ll definitely try to write at least 500 new words on top of anything else I do. After all, I’ve put all other projects on the back burner, so this is my job right now. The least I can do is spend a little time on it.

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