I’m at that point, it seems, with the first draft of Princess of Fire— the point at which I have begun to grasp what it will take to achieve a relatively coherent narrative– and it ain’t pretty. It’s also the point at which I have to just keep writing, no matter how much it nauseates me. That’s where the eyes and nose thingies come in.
Today I cleared 84,000 words on this novel. That probably sounds a lot more impressive than it is, because I have come to understand that this turkey has some serious problems.
When I originally conceived this story, I thought of it as basically a single-thread narrative revolving around Kathy as she faces a crisis. As I wrote the parts I already had in mind, however, it became clear that a single thread would not adequately support this story–
1. I needed to expand the narrative to include several viewpoint characters, particularly for events from which Kathy is far removed, but which powerfully affect her. This will involve tens of thousands of extra words, and the weaving together of multiple threads.
2. Many of the characters, both viewpoint and non-viewpoint, are not adequately fleshed out, and I need to revisit them and get to know them better.
3. There are major structural problems, particularly around a core timeline which needs to be the time-bomb ticking ever more loudly in the background. This timeline also involves some fairly technical material that might require some extensive (aagh!) exposition.
That’s a lot of issues with a novel that (estimating here) is about two-thirds drafted. To put it simply, I have a hell of a lot of work to do.
That’s the main reason I feel right now that I need to clap on a gas mask while writing Fire— I know full well I am putting down words that are going to have to be fixed later, and perhaps a little more than usual with a first draft. I do not want to stop and try and fix everything now, though– that is an invitation to picnic on quicksand.
It’s just the way it is– the easy stuff is over. Time to buckle down and slog.