I am now at 48,000-plus words on Princess of Fire, and well positioned to reach my self-imposed goal of 50,000 words by end of day– assuming the very low-key celebration I’ve been invited to this evening doesn’t get in the way. I am not a drinker (Southern Baptist Sunday School does have an effect on people), so inebriation will be no excuse.
This little literary surge has been instructive, in a number of ways. With some extra effort I have managed about 2000 words a day most days, a very fast pace for me. Once day I hit 3000 words, which is unheard of (it also left me in pain. I need a better chair). As a demonstration of what I can do when I put my mind to it, it has been encouraging.
More importantly, though, in the process of writing as fast as possible, I realized that my conception of Fire may have issues. As I originally conceived it, the action focuses mostly on Kathy, having to act as a leader in a crisis– but her actions are often dependent on events far away, to which she is essentially a spectator. And so far that has had the unfortunate result that I am doing a lot of telling, and not showing– e.g., Kathy listening to broadcasts of remote disasters. You can only do that so many times before the reader starts to wonder if they’re reading about the actual protagonist.
The solution is probably to spread the narrative of what is actually a series of interlinked disasters, military and natural, out across several viewpoint characters, not just Kathy. I’ve done this before and I have confidence (egad, did I just use that word in reference to myself?) I can make it work, but it will entail major changes in the structure of the novel and the character set. But the really interesting point is that it was the process of actually writing the novel that revealed the flaw in my conception. That’s a lesson to take to heart.
Fortunately, though, all these changes are a problem for the second draft. On with the first. 🙂