Wow, it's been a month since I updated this blog! Shame on me. I normally post more frequently, but sometimes I guess I'm just not in the blogging mood.
I did complete the transition sequence that marked the mid-point of JACK & JILL. I revised the way the new pivotal character was introduced and things worked much better. I kept at it with tenacity and perseverance and all that sort of thing and did accomplish what I set out to do. However, once I moved into the second half of the story, I realized that I needed to set it aside for a while to let it gestate some more. I have the basic sequence of events and the basic story: the entire first draft spells it out plus the notes I wrote before and while working on that draft. However, thematically, I still sense loose ends. Already the "dream time" I'm allowing this story has helped me see some important connections between the three major characters, stuff I hadn't seen before and which I will draw out. This means a change, but only a minor tweak, yet with a significant shift in their relationships and the meaning of key events. I don't have to change the whole story, just a few details, and suddenly the big things that will happen later on take on a much deeper meaning. So, it is clear from this alone that the extra "dream time" is needed. There is more to learn still about how this plays out, the potential impact on the characters and all that sort of thing.
I also see that while this story does get rather dark, it's the nature of the story based on the few key parameters of the story. It's like a racehorse coming out of the starting gate, but from the way the gate is angled, there is only one way for the horse to run -- not on the brightly lit track, but down some dirt road that leads off into a dangerous, dark, cloudy, mysterious place. The story has to go there based on the primary tenets that define the story, and they come from the rhyme the story is based on. It all springs from the source, and unfolds as it needs to. I regret that it turns out to be a dark story, since I'm not particularly fond of dark stories or the suffering I endure in writing them, but I do feel the ending is positive enough for me to continue working on this project. Also, and most importantly, I've grown rather attached to these characters and their world and really do not want to set them or it aside. I feel this is a worthwhile novel and one I should keep at until I finish it. I have too much respect for the characters not to see it through!
So, while JACK & JILL is benefiting from a little additional "dream time" to help me keep the second half on track during the rewrite, I have shifted focus to my other WIP, the one that was moving along quite nicely until I interrupted it to write JACK & JILL back in November. That story, of course, is the first JASPER story. It has a title, but I won't share it with you since it's ultra-cool and I don't want to give it away. The main character is a boy-mage named Jasper. It's set in an entirely new world (meaning, separate from the worlds of my other stories). It's written with a sense of humor, although not specifically for laughs (at least, most of the time -- sometimes I admit there is a more direct effort at amusement over plot progression).
My recent progress on the JASPER novel has brought the word count from 28k, where it was after some editing and a little slicing, up to around 55k, in the past couple of weeks. That's pretty good progress, considering I've also gone through the newer chapters and done some editing as well, which takes time but shores up the progress. I was at the mid-point in that story, and labored on it as well some time ago, but now I am up to the next major transition point, the change from Act II to Act III. I am still in that sequence now, and as the plot has thickened unexpectedly I am having to do some work to make sure I don't let things get over-complicated (a recurring issue for me, since I tend to take things that could be simple and make them more complicated than they need to be). I'm going back now and uncomplicating things a bit, then I'll continue on with the rest of this sequence. I won't set a specific deadline but the first draft should be finished in another week or two, and then I'll do the editing and it'll be DONE.
I love that word, and hope to use it more often in the coming months.
One other note to share: I've almost finished extensive note-writing on a new novel, an original story of my own creation but whose creation was inspired by the reading of several other writers' work (see below). I guess reading their work inspired me to get creative, and when I did I came up with an interesting new story of my own. As that story developed over the past several weeks, it changed significantly. I've written over a hundred pages of notes for it, and will write many more in the coming week or two as I complete the planning. I won't share the title, since it's rather a nice one and I don't want to give it away, but I'll refer to it as . . . well, uh . . . CHASM since there are some giant gaping chasms in it, but it's not about chasms specifically, although they might serve as a symbol for the gulfs that separate people within the story. Yes, a mighty fine metaphor for social divisions. It features four major characters who share a series of adventures together. The story is allegorical, a fictional representation of some of the struggles that some of us will recognize readily and identify with from everyday life. I won't hint at what struggles, or anything else. I'll save that for a later time, but I feel the planning work on CHASM is by far my best to date. I'm learning and growing by leaps and bounds, and see that time and time again.
By the way, if you scroll down a little you'll see a posting just a few away where I mention reading excerpts from other writers' work that was posted online, both published and unpublished writers, including sample chapters of published novels and unpublished nanovels, etc. One of the writers I mentioned has just posted a comment, letting me know he is now sharing short stories on his LiveJournal site. If you get a chance, please check out his work -- I'm quite impressed by his progress over the past few years and see a lot of potential for this guy's writing career. His novel excerpts can be found here, and the one in particular that inspired me is here.
Separately, and sadly, I must note the passing of one of my dear relatives. I commented that three of my relatives had been hospitalized back in December. Two of them are much better now, but one of them has recently passed away after suffering a major stroke. This was one of my aunts, who had major health problems last year and into this year, from which she recovered, only to suffer a stroke on the day she was to be released after months of hospitalization and rehabilitation. I will always remember the times I visited with her and her family when I was little, and my visits to see her in these past months. May she rest in peace!