11th July 2020
Some drafts feel like hurdles where you’re struggling to get the story, character motivation and prose over some obstacle in order for everything to tie up and work.
This draft feels more like a jigsaw puzzle where everything feels like it is slotting into place.
I don’t have enough skill and experience to truly know if this is a good sign or not. It feels good, but as a writer you always worry that you’re overlooking something, and the fact that it feels easy is because you’re not working correctly.
But I’m making good progress. Honestly, I wish I was faster, but that feeling is always countered by a worry that I’m not going deep enough.
It’s interesting that the big action scenes seem to slow me down. I don’t know if its because they are some of the oldest prose from previous drafts or that action scenes are particularly complicated. But I do find that progress is a lot slower than , say, a dialogue scene.
A big thing about this draft is the protagonists emotional character arc. In this draft it should progress and contrast against the antagonists own arc. The anatagonists’ arc isn’t as emotional and so that’s mainly just moving pieces around, but the protagonist is all about his state of mind. That impacts everything he does, every decision he makes.
In theory it should be difficult, in practise it’s proving pretty easy. I think that’s because there’s plot structure behind all this on which it’s easy to lay this emotional arc over. I have a tendency to move the emotional arc on a little too soon. X happens and the result of it should be that the character decides to do Y. In reality I tend to have the character consider Y and then become more resolute when X happens.
The thing I’ve not yet figured out – in a world of story where it’s all smoke and mirrors and book dialogue is nothing like a transcript – whilst the latter might be more realistic, does it make sense that the book is more the former?
The emotional changes when they do happen, do feel logical though, which is good. I was doing a chapter last night where I was able to keep a paragraph of self-reflection as it slotted in perfectly with the decision the character had just made. It felt like a jigsaw puzzle piece that just fell into place.
Of course, a novel is a big sprawling thing and you need to keep your eye on so many things. It sometimes feels more like spinning plates than completing a jigsaw puzzle. It’s so easy, in fixing or enhancing one thing, that you open some plot hole or character motivation. I’m not sure if this is the same with other writers but even when things are going well, there’s a worry “what am I missing?”
Perhaps I should just take the fact it’s going well as a good sign, worry a little less for now, and just plough on.
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