Saturday, February 1, 2014

WIP Marathon Final Check-In

Last check-in: Stuck on chapter 8 (~23,300 words)

Currently: Figured out how to fix chapter 8. (For those who were wondering, I did include the fight scene.) Finished chapter 8 (5886 words). Finished editing the first scene of chapter 9 (2795 words). Right now, I'm about 400 words into editing the second scene. (current word count = 30,800 words)

My goal for the entire marathon was to revise/rewrite 7-8 chapters. I've rewritten 6.5 chapters and wrote at least half a chapter's worth of new scenes for the last draft, so I'll take that as meeting my goal.

WIP issues this week:

1. Earlier on, I was having issues making my current scene medically accurate, which is really important, because a) the course of the novel depends on who is and isn't dying in this scene, and b) I'm going to be a doctor, so if I make a serious medical error in this novel, it will haunt me for the rest of my life. This week, I finally figured out a solution: normal saline. (+10 points for chemistry pun) (And no, that isn't a spoiler.)

2. My philosophy with writing is "character first." I cannot make my plot go in a certain direction if my characters won't take it there. And sometimes my characters make decisions that don't exactly contribute to the overall plot. See below.

Most novels:
-Holy shit, a crisis happened! Impulsive group of teenagers to the rescue!

My novel:
-Holy shit, a crisis happened! Unfortunately, most of these teenagers do not have powers that are useful in battle, nor do any of them have real-world fighting experience, so the responsible adults in the story are going to send a carefully-selected group of fellow adults to take care of the problem.
-Aaaand, I guess this means I (the author) should figure out who these adults are, and what powers they have.
-And now that I've introduced and partially-developed these adult characters, I can't just throw them away at the end of the scene. I guess I should find other opportunities for them to pop up in the story.
-Oh, hey, and maybe some of them can actually become part of the plot!

The stuff mentioned above is something I've been gradually figuring out for the last few years. In many ways, this interweaving of additional characters has allowed me to tie up loose plot threads and fill out the overarching story. However, this week I've been tackling a character, who, while unique and important in her own right, contributes very minimally to this particular novel (though I think she might become more relevant in a sequel), so I had to make a decision. Do I get rid of her, or do I find a way to make her more important (or at least give her more of a presence) in the overall story?

Ultimately, I found a way to include her in a future scene. Will she be a major plot-shaping presence in this novel? No, but maybe in a future novel she will be. But she definitely won't be a throwaway character either. (Though I suppose cutting her isn't out of the question. I don't want to make any official decisions until I hear what CPs think and/or until I start outlining the sequel.)

What I learned this week in writing: see above

What distracted me this week while writing: I had a major clinical skills test (in which I get tested on my ability to perform a full physical exam, even though I only learned some of those techniques months ago). I'll find out next week whether I passed it or not. Also, I finished The Bitter Kingdom (book 3 in the Fire and Thorns trilogy) which was amazing.

Plans after WIP Marathon: WIP Marathon has definitely been helpful, so I'll be participating in the monthly check-ins. My goal for the March 1st check-in is to have all of Part One finished. (Part One will probably end up having 15 chapters, but most of those scenes have already been written.) My overall goal is to finish the novel by the end of the year.

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