Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Over the Hill (NaNo Related)

So we've finally passed the halfway point for NaNoWriMo and I am finally caught back up to that ever-demanding daily goal line (I fell behind last week).

This is the point where many people typically lose focus as to how to advance the plot or lose steam or interest all together.  For me though the story is just now picking up.  This is a good thing and a bad thing.

On the good side: I don't have to worry about where the story is going.  With some pleasant divergence from previous plot points, the main characters have finally encountered the Kai'us' and things are steamrolling along as everyone gets to know everyone else and their motives.  A character they thought was dead will be returning soon and more secrets will be revealed.  Juicy stuff awaits!

On the bad side: I need to slam the reader with TONS of information about this alien culture so they know just what's going on and why without it bogging down the plot flow or boring the reader.  There's a lot of subtle work on my part to slip in useful information without the reader really noticing.  It often means going back as I remember a particular little piece of information that needs to go in a certain place and making "quiet" little tweaks here and there.

The natives also speak their own language and though I have previous glossaries to borrow from, I'm always reconstructing their grammar on the fly and so a fair amount of thought needs to go into every word spoken in the Kai'us language.  That slows me down a little.  I suppose I could just plow through and put in English placeholders or simple gibberish and just clean it up later, but I can't write like that.  Their language is part of their identity and for me a simple turn of phrase or euphemism can subtly change the feel of a whole scene.  How we speak is how we think and vise versa, so hammering out how these beings verbally communicate gives me (and therefore the reader) a subconscious insight into how their minds work and allows for a connection to happen that's so crucial to good story telling.

Maybe I'm over-thinking it and making more work for myself, but it is quite satisfying!

Given where I am in the story compared to what's still left to tell, it looks like I'll probably be crossing that finish line with plenty more story waiting, but that's okay; I've got the hardest part written (the beginning).

The interesting thing with is rewrite is the change in pacing.  In previous versions the characters get days, sometimes weeks before the next big thing happens to them.  In this version they're not afforded a moments peace (yes, I'm apparently turning into a sadistic writer mwahahahaha!)

Right when they catch their footing, think they've got their situation stabilized and they can settle in to a new "normal", the bottom drops out again and they have to figure out how to stay alive all over again.  It's kind of mean to the characters, but makes for some great, heart-pounding reading!

So here's to an amazing second half!

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