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21 September 2006 @ 04:16 pm
writing is hard.  
Working on TQB. I'm only (only) at about 75K, which isn't as far as I hoped I'd be by now (I was having fond thoughts of 90K by the end of the week. Hah.). I'm finding myself going back over the manuscript, trying to see how to add the support structure I feel the story needs without feeling like I'm jarring things too badly. The truth, of course, is that it's unlikely that anybody but me will think it's being jarred, and likely once I get it worked in there even I won't think it's too clunky.

The basic problem is that I'm working with two simultaneous storylines, one political on a continental scale and one political on an individual scale. The individual scale is where the primary story is being told, and the main character doesn't have easy access to details on the continental scale. She has a specific task to accomplish, and the things going on outside of that are, while relevant to the world, not especially important to *her* right then (or, rather, they are important, but only in long term story effect as they ultimately shape where she's going).

The further I get into the book, the less comfortable I am with focusing on the individual story without that external structure; I feel like I'm not providing enough context for why her world is working the way it is, and I seem to have reached the stage where that's enough of a problem to make me unable/unwilling to write forward until I've gotten more of the continent-wide politics dealt with.

I'm struggling with a couple of ideas on how to deal with this. One is to just flat-out switch to scenes going on in another part of the world, and ... ngh. I haven't yet been able to convince myself to do that. The other I'd been thinking of, and knappenp also just suggested it, is to use letters, which ... might work. (Don't tell me it's contrived. I know that. But it's a contrivity (am I making up words?) that I'd be more comfortable with, maybe.) I'm thinking of the FREEDOM & NECESSITY structure, where, according to Trent, they moved in and out of the letters a couple times - told a sequence of events in the letter, then stepped out of the letter, then back in (I haven't read F&N in so long I couldn't really remember how they'd dealt with it). That ... might work.

This writing thing is hard, man.

Also, given that I'm at 75K and at the moment expecting to work another several K into the story before I really head forward again, and that my editor wants this book to come in around 125K (which will take a miracle), I'm actually fairly certain at this point that my synopsis for TQB is going to in fact be the story for both THE QUEEN'S BASTARD and THE PRETENDER'S CROWN and which would in fact make the title for TPC work really nicely. O, The Irony.

*puffy cheeks* Ok. If I can make this letters idea work, and there's some setup for that in the book already, I think I'll be happy.

This shared-with-the-world brainstorming post brought to you by the letters TQB and the number 11. (Oh, hey, there we are. I'm at chapter 11, and I always figure that's the make or break chapter in a book (think about it). This is why I have to go back and Make it. :))
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Current Music: bon jovi: story of my life
S. L. Grayshadowhwk on September 21st, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC)
It's in the water, man.
R. Scott Shanks, Jr.mnarra on September 21st, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
Hrm. I read a book written along the lines of TQB - Single Experience & Changing World Scene - that worked because there were two characters to follow; the Single Experience character and a Mover & Shaker. The M&S showed the changes in framework that were changing the political weather for the SE character. Would that require enormous rewriting?

I'd think so. Luck with the letters.
kitmizkit on September 21st, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)
The problem is the SEC is basically the M&S. It's just that the detail work of her life leads up to sudden huge Moving and Shaking.
R. Scott Shanks, Jr.mnarra on September 21st, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC)
Maybe you could sacrifice a goat on the keyboard? I've heard that works....
Tripspace_parasite on September 21st, 2006 04:10 pm (UTC)
The noun form of "contrive" is "contrivance".
kitmizkit on September 21st, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
I couldn't figure out how to spell that. Thanks. :)
sammywolsammywol on September 21st, 2006 04:41 pm (UTC)
Don't envy you trying to resolve that little problem - although I did love Freedom and Necessity! One of the most interestingly structured pieces of fiction I have ever covered in a class is Racoona Sheldon's (James Tiptree Jnr. / Alice Sheldon) short story "The Screwfly Solution". It is told through a myriad of voices and media but one of the most effective parts I think is where a woman is talking to her mother (or rather replaying the conversation later) who is living in another part of the world where men are starting to systematically kill women. It layers her mother's report with what the woman has seen on the news and layers that with her feelings about her family. It is a hell of a piece of work technically!