I decided, while I’m working out some of the bits of a set of related short stories that I’m going to try to make a little progress on what would technically be the next novel project, so, yes, that means I’m once again working on two novels at once. Well, technically three, and not so much again as still. I’m also doing the conversion of A Matter of Honor, a novel-length fanfic coming over from audio drama scripts. But the two primary projects are both original novels.
Big Hair Day: I started struggling about two thirds of the way through the first chapter. Up to that point, it had gone very well, but, for a chapter I’d tagged for 2500 words, I’d said everything I wanted to say in 16 or 1700. For some reason, I resented that, so try to push it. I’m probably going to manage to force it to 2000, but I really shouldn’t. If I do, one of the notes when I do the read through is will probably be something the effect of, “Holy crap, this is too damn long. Cut, cut, cut.”
I decided to try to make some initial progress on Fallen Heroes, having a different issue with the first chapter. In this case, opening with what is essentially an introspective, it seemed natural in the middle of that to start borrowing a piece of things from what was going to be chapter 3. And I tried to resist doing that for some reason. Oh no, will that screw up my outline, you ask? Sure, whatever.
The message to myself in both cases is essentially the same, although I didn’t manage to come up with it until I’d actually set the computer to do the transcriptions: do what is right for the story.
In one case, it shouldn’t matter what you think the length of something will be, don’t get hung up on the length it turns out to be. Just because you plot of the 2500 doesn’t matter if it’s 15 or 35, or takes a quick veer into left field for something that for whatever reason is incredibly important to the current POV character, and I got 6000 word instead of two thousand and three extra scenes. Do what is right the story. If it is natural or something you thought was going to be later that’s now happening sooner, fine, let it happen. The outline is not a guarantee.
And, considering how these two projects have started, I don’t feel like I should be giving advice at the moment. But, as long as the story is going in the general direction you want it to, keep writing. When the scene is done, go to the next scene, and don’t worry about your projections. Those are just there as placeholders.
Life is filled with lessons, and the writing life is no different. Sometimes, those lessons need to be relearned. So be it.
For now, I have stories to tell and I need to get my fingers on the keyboard.
If you have a story to tell, you should be doing that.
Be well, everyone.by