As promised, now that I’ve crossed the 10k word mark in my new draft of The Steel Armada, I’m back to discuss my progress.
The biggest takeaway for me so far is that rewriting is much, much harder than I expected. Not for the lack of words or ideas, because there’s no shortage of that. But, there’s so much sudden freedom and so many options for how I want to tell this story that I sometimes find myself uncertain how best to proceed.
This last week in particular I made a point to really hash out what it is I want to accomplish with this story. What story do I want to tell? Is my main character the best character to accomplish that? And so on and so forth.
The new manuscript is just shy of 15k words and it’s been a very illuminating process. I have completely re-imagined the world, and I like it much better. It makes more sense to me and to the characters, and feels so much more alive than my previous attempt. I’ve added a ton of technology, establishing my main character’s interests and what her every day life looks like.
There’s much more life on the page. The world exists beyond my main character, there’s movement in the background. There’s technology, food, religion, an economy. There’s so much more happening and it’s really just the beginning. I’m still exploring this world I’m creating, and though I’m sure not every detail will make it to the page (as they shouldn’t), it can’t hurt for me to know them.
Characters are much better developed. This is probably because I already knew them to some extent from the last draft, but they all feel much more real to me even in so few pages. I also like them all more in their current roles and settings. I’ve also created new characters. Some of them are critical to the story as it is now, and some of them aren’t, so there’s some work to be done in that area, but that’s okay. It makes sense that there would be characters in the world that might not make it into the final version of the book. As the world grows, so will the number of characters that come to life.
Which leads me to:
I have to figure out what the heck is going on in this book. By changing the world I effectively killed my original plot. That was a scary moment, let me tell you. Nothing like writing a book and literally have NO IDEA where its’s going.
But, I trusted the characters to take me where I needed to go. I wrote my way through until I came upon a story. It’s not as grandiose as the original plot, not so grand and ambitious. But, much closer to the types of stories I tell in my short fiction.
Which led me down an even scarier rabbit hole: Am I still writing a novel?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. I’m leaning toward a novella, at the moment, but have decided to ultimately take Madhu’s advice and put the concern on the back burner for now. Her words were, “Write the story, worry about the length when it’s done.” That’s some damn good advice, so I’m going with it. For now, I’m writing Val’s story, whatever that turns out to be.
(I just happen to think it’s going to be a novella)
Another big concern is that I’m going to have a lot of excess words. This is such an exploratory process, with rampant world building and characters popping into my mind like freaking daisies. Not all of it will make it to the final version, which means there will be a lot of editing in my future, all over again.
But, that’s all right. Ultimately, I want this story to be the best possible version of itself. That was my goal for this year, Finish The Steel Armada. So, I just need to buckle down and figure out what that means. And to do that I just have to keep writing. The story will come, the editing will happen and eventually I can put Val’s story behind me and move on to whatever comes next.
- added 9,798 words since last Check-In
- decided on story themes and general plot
- outlined three chapters ahead
- considerable world-building and character development
- lots of fun new tech
- came up with some quality alternate title ideas
I need to write another 2k words by Thursday night to make my writing goals for the month, which will put me over the 15,500 word mark. Which means I’ll be back in a few weeks with my third check in, once I cross the 20k word threshold!
Hopefully another 7k words will offer some clarity in direction and let me set my sights on the ending of this story.
Until then Blogland,