preparing to write chapter 4.2
Posted by jeanne
it took forever to finish getting 4.1 ready to post, and now i find myself in the beginning of the same process with the next part of chapter 4. it seems i’ll be doing this every time. i start with a simple outline, then put it into all-caps in order to have a heading, and pull up all relevant material from the earlier build of my document. research, prior tries as outline, random points i wanted to make, character studies.
at this point, when i see how much material i have, what looked like a simple paragraph description becomes ten pages of notes. here’s the paragraph i wrote this afternoon.
they’re having a discussion about the npcs, and snake comes in and derails it. we find out where snake has been, ostensibly, and where he lives etc, but don’t hear the good stuff and know there’s more than we’re hearing. snake starts criticizing as he’s brought up to speed, then has really negative things to say that has them all doubting themselves separately. he never confronts them en masse, like that guy at work, he always professes care and sensitivity when confronted. they discuss types of players and cheats, powers, animation and engine, funding and business, and finally start rearranging the remedial levels.
each sentence represents a batch of research and plot points etc, so it stretches out fast. and now my task is to reword and condense it, and then combine sections, and condense it, and then fill it full of dialog and narrative, and condense it. if i’m lucky it’ll be short, but 4.1 turned out to be six pages. it doesn’t sound like much, but these are single spaced pages, so we’re actually talking about a dozen pages, twenty pages of book. shortcut – how many words? 3600. and this tiny drop in the bucket took me twelve days.
which brings me to the problem of nanowrimo. as you may see on the right, i’ve done this annual writing challenge for the past 5 years, and will be doing it again. it’s a great excuse to write something if you’ve been putting it off, and a great excuse to really get down to it if you regularly write. i recommend it to all my literary friends. 50,000 words in a month, 1600 a day or some other miserable small number. if you can write 1600 words a day. some days i write no more than a couple of paragraphs. you’ve seen the small posts i do some days, and sometimes there are days and days between posts, during which i’m only moving things around and not really writing anything much, or writing it only to erase it later. do erased words count toward the 50,000? since the rules are rather loose, and since the object is just to write, not to finish or produce or polish or anything other than write, i’ve had years where i had to take all my writing for the month in order to get a representative total. i’ve always gone over 50,000 words, but sometimes it’s other work, and sometimes it’s other posts. one year i counted handwritten pages of my memoirs, which won’t be published any time soon. but it was writing, and concerted, so i counted it. one year i wrote 70,000 words of my novel and continued after november was over. last year i finished my novel in the middle of the month and immediately started working on this story. anyway. it’s more than likely that i will have to take all my writing into account this year, since the process is so slow. so all of these posts will count toward my total, my bumbling steps, everything. and that’s what’s great about nanowrimo. some participants aren’t even working an outline, some without even a story idea, just to be writing. i love it.
on the other hand, i could skip all this intensive research amalgamation and distillation, and turn to writing the game proper. the game itself only occurs starting with chapter 17, in the 2nd part of the story. the game chapters don’t suffer from the same research burden that the realworld chapters carry, but they do include nathan’s family and the outside world they are exposed to thru their tv set. so the game chapters are not exactly cut off from the rest of the development. so i could theoretically focus on writing the game itself, and then tie everything in later, after i’ve put the game aside to go back to woeful chapter 4 and move on from there.
i’m not sure, it’ll take some thought before i decide to do that, because i’m doing okay with the process i’m working now. even tho it’s infuriatingly frustrating doing it this way, i get the satisfaction of posting a finished chapter every so often.