I don’t want to be premature about this.
I don’t want to jump the gun.
But it is just possible– just within the realm of possibility– that I have (thank God) scored a breakthrough with Princess of Fire.
I previously made a deal with myself to make sure that I wrote at least 500 words a day on PoF before I succumbed to other temptations, such as World of Tanks. I must now tell the truth– in the last few weeks that deal has been honored at least as much in the breach as in the observance. There were days I couldn’t drag myself to my writing. I was more focused on Horse Tamer than Princess of Fire, and altogether too fixated on my personal victory rate in World of Tanks. My lack of overall progress is evident when you consider it took me two months to go from 84,000 words to 91,000.
But then…I wrote a section that served as a piece of connective tissue between two previously written segments– and then it occurred to me that I should move a certain event forward– and then other previously written sections began to fall into place, like blessedly self-organizing puzzle pieces, until suddenly I had connected thirty single-spaced pages into a single, reasonable coherent narrative, which has brought me to the point where I have actually begun writing the missing middle of the novel, the piece that has eluded me for seven months. Along with moving that critical plot point, I think I finally, finally figured out a structure on which to hang that middle– a day-by-day breakdown of the action which hopefully will build tension to the breaking point at the right moment. In retrospect it seems obvious, but I am a very slow person in many ways.
As a result, my production appears to be taking off; in about three days I’ve gone from 91,000 words to over 94,000. And the writing is suddenly fun again, which it hasn’t been in a long while.
Having said all that, I need to exercise some caution. First off, what I’m producing is typical first draft material, with plenty of details that will need to be ironed out later. I haven’t resolved every remaining plot issue, either. But I seem to once again be able to do something I have not been able to in seven months– write a passage, accept that it is imperfect, and move on. It’s not only liberating, it’s much closer to my normal writing process. After months of chasing my tail– or, to use a word I first learned from John Scalzi, ‘flailure’– I suddenly feel as if I am on track once more.
I have grown too cautious to issue any predictions of time-frames for a complete first draft (never mind publication), but my confidence that I will, eventually, finish this novel is seeping back.
More bulletins to follow….