Friday, June 21, 2013

Orsolya

It's been a few months since I last talked about my current WIP, Orsolya, in a post of its own. Progress has there been. Problems there remain (I'm actually somewhat in a slump right now. Hopefully this survey of where I am in the story will help shake me loose).

Some stats:

Time elapsed (real): 3 months
Time elapsed (story): 4 months
Chapters finished: 2
Words written: 30000+
Distance covered: c. 700 miles

Setting:

Landscape c. Chapter 2, beginning:
(source)
Landscape c. Chapter 2, end:
(source)
Chapter 3 has a few more towns. Imagine this:
(source)
Added to this:
(source)
The Lion Country is what happens if you put North Africa in the Great Plains. Don't forget a sprinkling of magic.

Chapter 4 (which I am writing now) takes place in what would happen if Poland was actually Illinois and other states bordering the Great Lakes. Plus magic, which changes everything.

Besen, a v. important town, is kind of like 19th century Krakow:
(source)
Added, perhaps, to Minnesota.

Techniques: when I have a scene or part of a scene fully planned out, with all nuances decided, I write a series of short sentences describing the action of the scene and then, the next time I write, simply go through and expand each sentence with more details. This works best on action scenes where there's little introspection or dialogue.

Every once in a while, when I feel stale, I'll take a Friday off to write snippets in a completely different style and setting (usually contemporary).

Macro: Orsolya is part of the GW-UO storyline (GW is the world, UO=Unwise Ones=the semi-contemporary setting in which I have most of my characters). This occasionally causes problems.

In Chapter 4, which I'm writing now, Orsolya and Nikodim meet up with a lot of the characters associated with Besen. I've written lots of stories about these people and know them pretty well. Readers of those other works will know right away who Thaddeus, Andreas, and Vin are, and their importance in the second half of the story (spoiler!) will make sense.

But if a reader starts with Orsolya's story (and yes, I'm assuming that this is going to be published someday) then these characters seem to come out of the blue. Orsolya is meant to be able to stand alone as a novel, and the plot focuses on her character arc, so I can't put in too much background information on these lads just yet. Still - there has to be some way to handle this intersection of storylines.

What I'll probably end up doing: go back and put in more references to Orsolya's family. When Orsolya and Nik meet Vin, he's in a pretty important position already so I'll just have to watch that his past doesn't predominate. I'll exploit the Thaddeus scenes that will start appearing early in the second half to develop him and Andreas before they get thrown into action. And so on.

Summary of Findings: A little bit of travel journal flavor is not bad when the world you're describing is vastly different from the real one.

Allies as well as enemies can show up unexpectedly.

In a first draft, unless you have a deep gut feeling of something being wrong, it's usually better to blaze on through than worry about technique. If you do get a deep gut feeling of something being wrong, however - where you jump out of bed at 0200 to write down the way things should have gone down - act!

Make stuff go wrong. It keeps long journeys from being too dull.

Bonus:

It's the fourth Soul Eater ending. Mock not - it suits the writing.

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