July 2017 Archive

Progress Report July ’17

In line with my restated commitment to do progress reports every couple of months, here comes another…

Work continues on the very rough first draft of the second book in my new trilogy, and I must confess that, for now, it continues apace. Good word, apace, I should use it more in conversation. For the overall plan with these books you can look back to the last report in May. I’ve finished the second part (of three), planned out and started on the third.  That means I’ve written and loosely revised some 70,000 words of (roughly) readable material in two months.  There’s a lot more to writing than sheer number of words, of course, but it’s not a bad measure of progress when you’re drafting, and that is about as fast as I’ve ever written. In fact you’ve got to go back to finishing off Last Argument of Kings, when I was crashing through some scenes I’d been thinking about for a long time and was really keen to write, to get anywhere close.  Can’t count on that level of productivity over the long, long haul, of course, but I shall feel guardedly pleased about it for now.

Still, the speed shows a little bit.  This is the very middle of the trilogy and there’s something of a sense of setting the board for big events to come.  There’s a bit of blandness and repetition – a lot of lengthy conversations that crank the plot along but don’t do enough for character, and could do with happening in more dynamic circumstances rather than just, you know, A ROOM.  Get outside, people.  Visit a goddamn factory while you’re talking.  Or be surprised by dragons or something.  Of the seven central characters there are three that already work pretty good, two that are fine but a little bland, and two that need a fair bit of work.  As is often the case with me, these are the two that really drive the plot along and also develop most during the story.  The whole thing just needs a lot more arresting detail and, well, edge.  That’s nothing to panic about, though, even if I do like a good panic, the whole idea of this big draft approach is to get a firm idea of where I’m going so I can decide exactly what I need the characters to be, and how I want them to develop, over the course of the trilogy.  Personality can be introduced later, a lot of it in the detail of the writing, and not just to the central cast but to secondary characters, the settings and the events.

So, a long way to go, but good progress over the last couple of months.  Onward…

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