Monday, October 27, 2003

Writing Update

The current word count is just over 67,000, which in terms of a mass-market paperback is roughly between 140 and 180 pages. The story is moving into the second act, and the problem now is that I have a lot of balls in the air here; I have to keep stopping and reminding myself of things like, "You haven't shown this character in four chapters, and we really need to know what he's up to before the next big battle scene because, you know, he sets that up."

I don't revise as I go, unless it's to go back and stick something in to foreshadow something that's going on right now -- the old rule being that if you have a gun going off in the third act, you'd better have that gun on the mantelpiece in the first act. (The greatest example of that rule in action I've ever encountered is the film The Shawshank Redemption, in which director Frank Darabont has every major plot device right out in the open in the film's first half-hour, and you don't even realize it until the end.) I haven't had to do as much of this lately, but in the early going of this particular book I had to a lot of "plot retrofitting". You might think that outlines might solve this problem, but I don't use outlines. Outlines are for the weak. Heh!

(Of course, it could well be that outlines are essential and that writers who don't use them are the kinds of whackos who ride motorcycles without helmets after drinking nine beers in thirty minutes....but we won't plumb those depths right now.)

Anyhoo, onward and upward!

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