“Aha!”, Revisited

So today I’m a little exhausted because I was up late last night playing D&D (yes, I’m a party animal) and a little sore because I finally went back to the gym. And it’s the last week of school before the holidays, which is always batcrap insane and everyone is tired and grumpy and wants it to be over. But screw all of that, because I did a ton of writing over the weekend that I feel good about.

Ever since I brainstormed my current novel WIP on the Archivos Podcast, I’ve been making my way slowly through a heavy draft 2 rewrite, and keeping in mind one of the final pieces of advice I got while recording: take it slow. It’s tough to keep that in mind when I get on a roll writing a scene, and sometimes I miss moments where I could drop hints about character arcs and foreshadow elements of my world and don’t notice them until I go back to edit. This weekend I reached what I think is the end of Act One (I don’t really structure novels that way, but keep the format in mind) and started making my way painstakingly to the end of the chapter. That careful progression let me realize the perfect moment for my main character, street performer Mavrin Leed, to have a brief but crucial realization about the way the world works, and how that enforces the idea that he made a huge mistake in his youth. And the way that he goes about pondering his realization I’m really proud of, and I don’t think I would have come up with it if I hadn’t paced myself.

This entire novel has been an exercise in learning new things about my process. I’ve been incorporating new elements of discovery writing into my drafting, with admittedly mixed results. I’ve started charting character arcs on big sheets of paper and scribbling more notes by hand, and keeping track of references I make so I remember to bring them up again later. There’s a lot of history between my characters, and so I actually have a note called “Open Threads” where I mention where and when I allude to some past event or element of the world’s magic (which is sort of mysterious) and then check it off once I answer that question. That way I won’t leave my reader hanging unless I intend to.

It’s been a fascinating process, and I’m having a blast with this novel. The extra time I have available during the break is going to let me get ahead quite a bit (I hope) so expect a lot more excited commentary from yours truly, as I hopefully hit a lot more “aha” moments. Or hit a wall and start beating my head against it. That might happen.

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