Friday, March 27, 2015

Ubermadchen Winter 2014-15 Progress Report

Kufstein Fortress (src)

Recorded for the period from early December 2014 to yesterday.

Words: about 37000. Time elapsed (story): 2 weeks. Time elapsed (real): 4 months. Something about these numbers do not seem to line up. This is a lot of words for not a lot of movement.

Innsbruck was a tough section.

I spent two solid months fighting through Innsbruck, from late November to the very start of February. Versailles did not take this long. When I revise, this will be a section to condense heavily. But some aspects made this section more difficult to go through quickly than others: I had a lot more plot threads to juggle than in previous sections, a lot of emotional groundwork to lay for difficult decisions. A lot of angst. A lot of sound and fire.

Of course, that does not excuse the slogging pace of the post-Innsbruck section. It actually started off fairly fast-paced, with a chase scene that got them right into the thick of things and off the beaten track (literally), but then I took three days to get to a scene that I wanted to be amazing (and it was) and shortly after that I dropped into a lot of worldbuilding business that I put off when I was plotting. Now, though, I'm cutting that short and going back to actual writing. But this section is a lot of conversations and information transfer, and I'm not good at that kind of subtle stuff.

So the writing is moving, but it's challenging because it's not action-oriented. I have to slow down and try to get things in the neighborhood of right, while remembering that this is a first draft and whatever I get wrong I can fix.

Ubermadchen, the novel, is taking a lot longer to come together than I would have expected. Over a year now, and over 170000 words with a lot of big important plot stuff to go. Heck, I stopped writing the Josefina strand of the plot in January and that adds a lot to the meaning of the story, though the way things are going I'll work it in as an infodump when the girls are catching up in the first draft and see if I really want to expand it and lose the single-main-POV aspect that I have never been able to maintain in long works.

This quarter was rough but I think I've been even worse about writing in my off time. Maybe because the temptation to lose discipline is stronger now that I don't have psets and readings keeping me on the straight and narrow.

But I can always plan to do better; and this quarter I have done a lot better than last. The logbook helps. I'm starting to realize that all along I have greatly underestimated shame as a motivator for self-improvement.

The girls are growing up, becoming more self-reliant and independent, and because I'm struggling with that myself the writing can be difficult. I am trying to become a real person, as are they, and neither the struggle nor the depiction of it is particularly easy. But we are trying our best.

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Laura Palmer - Bastille

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