So, I've been AWOL since the end of NaNoWriMo because of the holidays, planning my best friend's wedding, looking for work, etc. To be honest, I haven't done a ton of writing, but I refuse to beat myself up about this; instead, I'm making more of an effort to get back into the habit of writing every day, even if it's only a little. Today I got some writing done on my lunch break (more of HELLHOUND), and I've been thinking very seriously about taking some time out to do notecarding for the entirety of The Mark of Flight, including the revisions I have planned.
Revisions to The Mark of Flight have been on my mind a lot lately. After rewriting it almost in its entirety, I have been able to identify some of the major flaws: the action doesn't start soon enough; the main players aren't introduced quickly enough; and Arianna wasn't sympathetic enough at the beginning, despite being a flawed character with room to make a journey. Well, the changes I've decided to make are both frightening and exciting--kind of like skydiving (which I would never do), or learning to do trapeze (which I would love to do [enter me researching trapeze classes in NC here. Hello, Asheville.).
Rather than starting Arianna out in the castle, longing to break free of her comfort zone and do something to prove herself, I'm going to start her out bound and gagged in a hidden compartment at the bottom of a wagon, cursing her kingdom, her captor, and herself. Starting her out in a tough situation, where she's got to do some fast thinking to save herself. Immediately after that, I have Bay's regular opening scene where he meets Shiro. All three characters can be introduced in the first chapter or two, and the action is starting right away with a clear bad guy and a clear objective on the part of the main characters.
I'm keeping Alukale's prologue, and continuing to feed bits of info about him throughout. I actually had a breakthrough about him lately, which was very exciting and opened up a lot of interesting possibilities for tension. And despair. Huzzah, despair!
My writing goals for the year are thus:
Finish the rough draft of HELLHOUND.
Revise the beginning of THE MARK OF FLIGHT and begin querying.
Finish the rough draft of "Steam Kids" (must notecard the ending)
Notecard books II and III of The Markmasters Trilogy.
An overall goal is to become more competent with the plot-point/word-count ratio. Notecards have helped me to trim down the wake-up-get-coffee-find-keys-go-to-work-ACTION, but I still have trouble figuring out where the best starting place is. As close to the action as possible, I know...but I still find myself starting at coffee-keys-work-ACTION. In another sense, I'd like to be able to convey a single plot-point in fewer words.
For example--at the moment, I'm writing a scene where Helena is at a Halloween party and loses control of her magic, after which she gets accosted by a drunk guy and decides to leave. Well, the next scene is her walking home and coming upon some boys accosting Howard, and she is forced to shift into Hound form or watch him be beaten near to death. Well, another scene has interposed itself between these two--a scene in which Rainy rescues Helena from the party and takes her home to clean up. That connecting scene seems necessary as I'm writing it, and it gives a bit more necessary background...but is it *actually* necessary? It does sort of impede the action.
I'd like to be able to discern between necessary connecting scenes and unnecessary ones, scenes that are unnecessary in general. I found the same sort of block with Steam Kids, although I think some solid outlining of the ending is in order if I'm going to finish that one. I feel confident that notecards will take care of it.
And if I finish that? I will probably do a combination of things, including notecarding ACT OF MIRRORS (which is going to be mammoth) and continuing book II of The Markmasters Trilogy. Book II seems so far away now. I can barely remember what I wrote. Time for a quick re-read…