"For the sake of humanity, join in Bitterwood's revolt." - Kirkus Reviews

Sunday, March 2, 2008

B3 is planted - 12651

The brief break I took from writing about dragons since finishing work on Dragonforge is over. I had intended to start writing the third Dragonage book (code named B3, short for Bitterwood 3, since I haven't settled on a title) in mid-February. Instead, I wrote a short story the first two weeks of February, then proceeded to contract the flu. So, instead of writing the last two weekends, I've laid around contemplating my bedroom ceiling. Luckily, my strength returned this week and B3 is now rolling forward. Moments ago I finished typing up the third chapter, and I'm now at 12,651 words--roughly 1/10th my target word count. My goal is to finish a first draft by the end of May. This is a pretty ambititious goal, given the scope of the story I have in mind. Dragonforge came in 20k words longer than I planned, and I can see how this book could easily run longer.

I always feel a mix of excitement and dread any time I undertake a new novel. Excitement because I enjoy writing; there's a definite magic as characters come to life and the plot lines start to fall into place. The dread comes from a variety of factors--creatively, there's always the chance you can get into the middle of a book and discover that one of your characters is stillborn. You thought he or she was going to be so cool, but now you're sick of them. They never grew beyond the stage of a little word doll that you can move around on the page and pose however you like, but somehow the spark of life never animated them. Also creatively, sometimes the plot that emerges is so tangled that you despair of ever straightening out all the threads. This happened to me on Dragonforge--the final book came out fine, with all the threads weaving together into a wonderful tapestry. But there was a point when I was about 15 chapters in where I just couldn't see how on earth I was going to get all my characters together for the climax after I'd spent the first half of the book spreading them out to the far ends of my little dragon world. I also had the problem that some plot threads were unfolding very quickly, far too quickly to stay in synch with the others. For the second draft, I had to sit down and write out every scene in the book on over a hundred notecards, then arrange them all in a logical sequence and figure out how to slow down the too fast plotlines and speed up the pokier ones so that everything meshed.

But, in the end, the joys always seem to triumph over the dreads. The seeds I've planted this week will eventually grow into an actual story and I'll be able to sit back and admire it and all will be right with the world. And then, after a month or two, I'll forget how tough it all was and start another book. And thus the great wheel of life turns.....

No comments: