Walking in the dark

I’m continuing to make progress on the Lunhina Trilogy, discovering the plot as I advance. While I am enjoying the process, I find it a lot harder to break into a new chapter. Without a clear plan forward, my confidence holds me back as I second guess the best place to start, the best info to drop, and the best place to end.

I think the reason for this is I know I could write the same chapter a dozen different ways… so how do I pick out the best one? I don’t want to keep rewriting the same chapters with different directions just to see, so I am relying on intuition. I suppose like anything else, this is something that will strengthen as I go. I’ll lean on feedback from my writers group to help me focus.

The other interesting thing I am finding is when I do finally lay out the plan for a chapter, it ends up becoming two or three when written. It seems that I overestimate how much I can get done in just a couple thousand words.  I am curious to see how all this pans out as it goes out for feedback, as it could be a sign I am laying words with a heavy hand, or it might just mean the organic nature of the character’s movement requires more time to complete.

Well, that was unexpected!

Lunhina: 10.8% Draft 1

I had my first genuine “wow, I didn’t expect that” moment while writing today.  It was quite extraordinary… something I have read in other authors, but did not quite believe.  How can a character really tell you, the author, what is going to happen?

Well, turns out they can. Without an outline, you really become the character as you write, and you live with them in the moment, documenting what occurs. I was doing this in a Kinius scene, and I arrived near the end of the scene where he is injured on a boat, understaffed, and running for home.

I knew I couldn’t end the scene there… something more needed to happen, something interesting or character building at least. It seemed to me the enemy needed to find them before I could close the chapter.

BUT, I don’t want them dead! I need these characters still. How can a Galley of a hundred men catch a longboat of five, and the five come out alive (more or less)?

I stared at the page for a while on that one, and then stalled a bit by writing Kinius as he squirms and thinks.  And then— BOOM. Idea. It came from his mind as I was playing it out, not my authorial-outlining mind.  I went with it, cleaned it a bit, and I like it!  This was not in my outline at all, but it worked great.