October 27, 2014

Progress? Yes indeed!

It has been while since I have updated on my adventures of writing. I am now 242 pages in, almost 79,000 words. I have been dedicating nearly equal time to both the first and second portion (I reluctantly call it portion but it will probably end up being something like 2 separate books). This means that though I am essentially writing Book 1 and Book 2 at the same time, I am somewhere close to the half way mark. If I had taken it one book at a time I might be done with # 1 by now. I'm not. But I could have been.
You may be wondering why I would do this. When one book is difficult enough to finish, why elect to do two at the same time. The answer is quite simple. I initially intended to write a single book following the rise and fall of a political (and religious / cultural) faction and the tension between ideologies which, though portrayed as being connected to religion, actually extend deep into the cultures ... a competition between progress and tradition, tolerance and prejudice. This is of course the practical reason why it began initially. I came to realize that, with as complex of a story as I was trying to tell, it would work better slowed down. But this is not the only reason ... after all ... it could just be a massive 800 pages. I don't particularly enjoy so-called "organic" writing only because I am constantly working all directions, going back and forth, adding in a scene early on to set up for something I have decided to do later.

I have things planned quite generally, but I prefer to write from the middle out. Since my middle has now shifted and split, I am still adjusting but when I get an idea for the second or even third portion of the tale, how can I resist from moving forward and jotting down a few scenes here and there?
I try to alternate between editing a chunk and writing one. I am trying to let go of the urge to go back and correct for grammar and beautiful language, looking instead at the story arcs, character development, ensuring there is a healthy dose of prose in and between scenes and such. I think my family is ready for me to be done and some days I feel the same myself. But overall, I enjoy it, filling page after page with words that create powerful images, interesting characters. Perhaps the most satisfying is being able to see your thoughts come to life on paper. I still have a long ways to go but it is very reassuring to see the length increasing, word by word, paragraph at a time.