Hip-hopping about here tonight. Earlier this afternoon, I broke out the old-fashioned paper and pen and wrote a bit for the chapter I’ve been working on. Then since this evening, I’ve been working on and off on a later part in the scene.
I mentioned before how I thought this chapter would be easy to write. And then reality kicked in, i.e. I got to experience once again how there’s a big difference between imagining a scene in your head and actually bringing it to life on paper.
And there’s tonight’s reality. As you might imagine, if you spend a significant amount of time over a period of years picturing a scene over and over in your mind, you’re bound to come up with a load of ideas for it that get recorded down in a litany of notes. That’s all well and good, and the notes are nice to reference. As to all my ideas for this scene, though, well, turns out I’ve scrapped most of them.
This is a mild surprise. I’d expected to use at least some of these ideas, but going through them and thinking about how they’d work in the scene, I find they’d mostly be unnecessary and distracting. So, the scene actually looks like it will be a fairly short one at maybe 2.5-3 pages (bearing in mind that this book is a tome).
Another thing I realized – It hadn’t occurred to me before, but this book really has two separate climaxes (with the current scene-in-progress being the second climax). It’s strange, but it makes sense and it works (says the plot-obsessed author).
In other news, I had to smile at a letter I received the other day. It was from one of my new sister-in-law’s sisters. She’s been reading Quest for Freedom and writes, in part:
“I understand now why you like to ask questions when your family meets with mine about our relationships within the family, because your story is all about people. The adventure of the medieval setting makes it exciting but the heart of the story is the brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, lovers, etc.”
Bang! That’s spot on. Of course authors tend to be obsessed with characterization in general and their own characters in particular, but we’d each, I say, have a certain cast we favor. With romance, for example, you typically get the classic love triangle (which my dad wholeheartedly encourages me to avoid because he wants it all to work out happily. ;)) Or some authors focus more on the mentor-student relationship or friends.
For me, I like writing about families. Imperfect, delightfully fun, realistic families where the siblings argue, the youngest child’s an attention seeker, the oldest child feels stressed and overburdened (because he’s an eldest child), the parents quarrel with each other, a brother teases his sister mercilessly (and she wants to pitch him from the house), a son says his father’s an old bore even as he secretly yearns for the old man’s affection and approval…
That’s family life, and it’s a great, fun riot, an endless source of material for storytelling. (The good, sweet, and loving, too, not just the bad or crazy. ;))
2:10AM. Oh dear, that’s late and I’m nowhere ready to settle to sleep. Well, there are worse things. At least there’s no getting up early today.