Daily update on first draft of sci-fi novel THE WORLD BEYOND EELS
Writing a lovely garden party.
Feeling very good about Act IV, which is nearing its end. Things are finally coming together; themes and symbols, intentional and otherwise, are meshing wonderfully. A few more chapters and we can begin the sprint to the end. I know it's not quite as close as it feels, but still...
The scheme that will carry the rest of the plot has been hatched. This was the biggest stumbling block in the rough draft, so I'm glad I was able to make it work--it makes a lot more sense this time around. Onward to the next chapter, which uses my favorite POV character, a playboy scion who's in way over his head, quite intentionally.
When I was first outlining this story, I had no plans for Cornelius to fall in love, but, well, he did. And good for him! It fits his arc and helps get him where he needs to be. Other than that, this chapter is just more getting-the-gang-together work, which must be done, but I can't wait until they're all finally rocketing toward the climax.
Finally got all the pieces in place for Hideki to want, and be able, to invite himself on the voyage. Now I just have to describe his pitch and their acceptance, plus have some plot happen in the background, and it's on to the next chapter. Still feeling great about the state of the project.
Late start tonight; getting ready to move soon. Went well, though. Finally getting into the darker parts of the story. Cornelius's amateur attempts at spying are finally catching up to him. He's about to try and cut his way out of some zip-ties, which will bloody his wrists quite a bit--but he knows how to deal with that, since he's got practice.
Spent all day moving stuff, but did manage to squeeze in some writing. Finished the zip-tie scene. Poor bloodied Cornelius. This is a very exciting sequence to write, though, and important to the plot, and Corny is taking it in stride. Excited to wrap up the rest of the chapter tomorrow (1000 words?), which I just did a beat sheet for.
Spent all day doing the actual moving part, but am very happy I finished this scene. Cornelius has been burned by his handler and been told to get rid of his phone. I'm proud of the detail that he feels a twinge of guilt before tossing it into a storm drain, because he sees the NO DUMPING--DRAINS TO BAY notice.
Closed out the Cornelius-gets-in-real-trouble chapter. This chapter was surprisingly easy to write, so, yay. Wordier than I would have liked... half because it had to be, half because that's what editing is for. Two chapters left in this act, one is very small. Next up: the small one, where Pearly hires a smuggler!
One chapter in one sitting. A small one, obviously, but it didn't really make sense to stop in the middle. Might have to be expanded later--it's pretty peppy, but reader feedback tends to indicate that I rush peppiness. But that's what the next draft is for. Onward!
We've now hired a smuggler and gotten almost the whole gang together... we just need Cornelius to stow away in the next chapter.
Started the final chapter of Act IV. Afterwards, I was worried I'd spent so long working today for so few words. But then I remembered that this chapter was ill-defined on the outline, so I had to rough it out first, which is not captured in the topline figure. So that's good.
Cornelius is well and truly in love now, which is cute, and they are gonna have to find a way to smuggle him onto a ship, so he can get out of town without alerting Homeland Security...
This is going to sound dumb, but my shower was broken for the last two days, which coincided with two days of kinda meh writing. It was fixed a couple hours ago, and as soon as I got in, I figured out what I'd been doing wrong, and how to move forward. In this case that meant switching the order of a few scenes. It makes much more sense now. Next up, the back half of this chapter, which is more exciting spy stuff.
Low, yes, but I also wrote out a 600-word treatment of the final act and filled in the scene cards, so I'll allow it. I figured out some cool ways to sow distrust in the gang, right off the bat, so I'm excited to get to that. Today's bit was mostly setting the scene. I think I mentioned they're on a boat now?
+698/+924 (two days)
Having fun with this new act. Different setting, different fault lines, great sense of urgency. Spending lots of time describing the boat, which is fun, but it's a bit of a guilty pleasure, since in my head it subtracts from time I could spend "telling the story", though of course that's not how things actually work.
Cut the last chapter short since it had run out of steam. Switching to Hideki POV to better establish his drama with Pearly, and also what he's even doing there, which the reader will probably be wondering. Mildly annoyed that this will stretch out the MS by another 500-1k words but what a silly thing to be annoyed by.
Finished the unexpected Hideki chapter. Still not wowed by the chemistry between him and Pearly. I should probably sketch out how I want this sequence to play.
(As I wrote this just now I thought of a good quick fix, to this end, and went back and added it--so now we're at +882 for the day.)
I'll still need to sketch it out, but the battle lines are very clear now. Guess this little diary thing I'm doing can be useful, yay!
+812/620 (last two days)
Did that sketch and outlined the character conflicts. Led to some interesting plot changes. So that's exciting. Will lead to an interesting POV experiment... anyway a lot of these words were backfill to set that up.
We've now just finished cruising by one of the important plot points for a crucial background character, which I'll need to flesh out in the next draft. Onward to a character arc climax!
Bit of a slog getting through this chapter. I'd been dreading writing it because I didn't know how to make it especially interesting. Oh this main character is finally getting to do the thing she wants to do, great, but where's the drama? Obvious in retrospect--make it not everything she hoped it would be, is this really what she wanted?--and then make something go disastrously wrong.
I didn't end up making something go disastrously wrong. It's enough that getting what she wanted didn't solve her problems. Her success paves the way for Hideki's failure, which I wrote out yesterday, and now he's locked in the brig. Which sucks for him but is great to write and, hopefully, read. He'll have a major revelation this chapter, which will help him grow as a person, so woot for Hideki.
The thrilling conclusion starts now, basically. A lot of action from here on out. Yay!
+5778 since last update
My prose has turned very tell-don't-show-y in this home stretch. I don't really care about this guideline--I'd like to think I have a good sense of what it means--but it's worth noting. Boring-to-me happenings are required to get all the characters in place so I just brutally summarize them. If anything I should be doing this elsewhere too.
Into the very final stretch, now. Half the characters have completed their inner arcs. Two big fight scenes coming up--woohoo!
+9014 since last update
Fight scenes were fun. I decided that the protags would be mostly passive, based on John Rogers's advice to never give civilian main characters a gun. Resolved a major character conflict while the two in question were hiding. The fight sequence has an explosive finale, and I'm wrapping up the exposition afterwards. Climax is mostly done--all that remains is the denouement where we learn what's actually been going on this whole time.
A small, intentional community for poets, authors, and every kind of writer.