September (not quite) Daily writing 21

Yesterday I procrastinated and did not write. I did maths puzzles instead. Also crochet (I have finished a second baby blanket, but for sewing in the ends which is the least fun part of crochet, and it looks really good and I’m very happy with it and soon I will start another one using green and purple.)

Anyway. So part of the reason I procrastinated the writing yesterday is that this is where the bit that I got stuck with last time starts. It’s the “Fiarra is a servant” section. The underdeveloped middle. Still a long way from the next climactic major plot point, but having run out of the steam that came from the last one. It’s in danger of being downright boring if I don’t do it right. So I need to work out how to do it right, and that’s never quite as much fun as actually writing it. That’s the hard work part of writing (well, that and the bit where I do it every single day.)

The thing is, I don’t want it to feel like filler. It can’t be The Great Divide, to use an analogy to Avatar: The Last Airbender. It can’t be the bit that a potential stage adaptation (as sourced from such individuals as a particularly knowledgable cabbage merchant) goes “Meh, let’s skip it” at.

There are important things I will need to introduce in this section of the story. Fiarra has a lot to learn about Laik, Prentor, the Governor, the town of Port Barrent, and what’s being built there. In this section, between where I am now and the next major plot point (the Escape), Fiarra’s relationships with various other characters are going to change dramatically – most notably, her relationships with Laik and with Deego. She’s going to build new relationships and find old ones. She’s going to take risks to find out about people and places.

But all that is still pretty vague in my head. How am I going to show the changing relationships? What is Fiarra going to learn, and how, and under what circumstances? What clues will she miss? What plans will she make? How will she make those plans – when will the ideas come to her and how will she develop them through to a fully formed plan ready to be put into practice?

I guess it starts with the old plan: find friends, rescue friends, go a long way away. That’s still plan A, but to put it into action Fiarra now needs a lot more. And she’s learned from her mistake: she’s not going to rush in unprepared again.

When I have a big project I need to work on, I struggle, initially, to know where to start. There always seems like so many different things to do, and it’s hard to prioritise them and easy to do the little easy things first. For Fiarra “escape” is a pretty big undertaking, especially if she is doing it all by herself. So her first action would be to find out where her friends are and try to speak with them – get their ideas, their knowledge and their support. But I think, upon finding out what they have to say, she’d be disappointed. Siril would say it’s better to be a slave in the laundry than in the mine. Teyt would advise against looking for trouble, and suggest waiting for an opportunity to present itself instead of taking risks. Corun would be all for making the most of what they’ve got – with an opinion that mirror’s Teyt’s, though perhaps a different idea of what kind of opportunities he might grasp. Deego is a little more hotheaded, more inclined to fight, but he’d side with the others in the end – Teyt in particular, whom he hero-worships.

I guess that covers the medium term. But the short term. Today’s writing, if I ever get to it. I honestly don’t know. I guess a tour of Laik’s rooms, but it just sounds so incredibly dull and I don’t particularly care, and if I don’t care, would a reader care? It doesn’t seem likely. But I’ve got to get past this to get to the fun parts. So how can I make a tour of Laik’s rooms and Laik explaining to Fiarra what her duties will be more exciting? I suppose some commentary from Fiarra, silently taking in what she sees and hears, thinking about how she can use that information in petty ways to make things more difficult for Laik. She’d think of ways she can do her tasks in a way that makes Laik annoyed – the task is done, as ordered, but not to her satisfaction. In the old version of the story (and this hurt me to write), Fiarra tore pages from the most thumbed book on Laik’s bookshelf, screwed them up and hid them: a way to disrupt Laik’s enjoyment in a small but impactful way. I had plans for this to come back and bite Fiarra later that I never got to write; well, now I can write it.

I guess I’d better have a go at this scene and not waste any more time writing about writing.

Starting 20:53.

Stopping 21:37. 894 words. Not so much with the spiteful commentary, mostly just description and a little dialogue. And it was dull, as predicted. But that’s over now and I can move on tomorrow and make it more interesting when I come back to edit.

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