It’s time for another update on my current work in progress. Unsurprisingly, last week was not as productive as the previous week, though surprisingly it wasn’t due to any of the usual suspects negatively impacting my freedom to write. The time I was able to devote my WIP wasn’t significantly less, but I only have a single chapter to show for it. What hindered my progress in the end were two time-consuming bumps in the road; the first was minor, therefore easy to resolve, while the second proved to be a major problem that took much longer for me to figure out.
With regard to the initial bump in the road road, I don’t recall what brought it to my awareness, but it suddenly dawned on me that I was leaving out certain details from my narrative because of a subconscious assumption that everyone who subsequently reads the finished book will have read its predecessor, The Exercise Of Vital Powers. While it’s not completely unreasonable to expect readers to commence reading a book series from the first instalment, I do realise there are people who (for whatever reason) are more than happy to start with the most recently published book instead. The dilemma this threw up cost me some time as I ended up debating whether I should continue you writing with no regard for new readers (effectively saying too bad if you’re lost and don’t understand what’s going on), or if I should alter my approach to address the needs of the uninitiated.
I quickly determined that it was in my best interest to (as much as is feasible given it’s a sequel) tell the story in such a way that the book is able to stand on it’s own; this would mean it’s no longer essential for anyone to have read the previous book first. Once that decision was made, though I didn’t rewrite anything that was already written, for everything subsequent to that I’ve kept in mind the need to include the kind of details I was previosly leaving out. And when I get around to working on the second draft of the story I will insert whatever currently missing details are needful to ensuring that those who haven’t read The Exercise Of Vital Powers won’t feel lost.
The second bump in the road derailed me for almost three whole days. A scene between my two main characters frustratingly refused to come together. No matter how many times I wrote and rewrote the scene, it just wasn’t working and I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Eventually, my characters decided to come to my aid by pointing out what should have been obvious to me; I was writing both of them out of character. While attempting to write the scene, I was so focussed on the outcome the scene needed to achieve I completely lost sight of my characterisation. Both Kayden and Fay were acting and reacting to the situation in a way that simply didn’t make sense in light of their established personalities (this was especially true for Kayden), and their dialogue wasn’t believable since it wasn’t consistent with who they are. And as Kayden “kindly” mentioned to me, she would never say the crap I had written, and certainly not in the manner depicted.
In the end, getting over this bump in the road required me to trust my characters. Rather than trying to force the scene to reach a predetermined destination, I decided to come at the scene again with no thought about the final outcome and see what happens. Thankfully, letting Kayden and Fay do what comes naturally resulted in a finished scene that not only works even better than I had envisaged, it also achieved the outcome I wanted in a believable way without compromising either character. And given the importance of the scene at this early stage in the story, I am very pleased with myself (though I imagine Kayden feels she deserves most, if not all credit).
So that wraps up another weekly update. Though I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, things are shaping up okay so I’m relatively satisfied. I’ve more or less completed the “Exposition” stage of the story, and just started to make my way into the “Inciting Incident” stage which will set up the book’s central plot. Hopefully it won’t be long before I reach the “Rising Action” stage which I’m looking forward to writing.
Thanks for reading,