Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekly Progress

Things have been quiet on ::Acquired Taste this past fortnight. In part this is because I had a couple of days illness last week--which meant missing two days' writing at a time when I was completely into the story; but mainly it's because the first draft of The Last Free City is going so quickly. I say "quickly" rather than "well", since I make no judgement as to quality at this stage. Most of it feels more perfunctory and disjointed than is normally the case for my first drafts (for I am at the "right first time" end of the spectrum in general).

This morning, though, I am at home awaiting a delivery, so I've had a good couple of hours this morning. I've written an 1,800-word scene and I'm very pleased with it. It's surely the best of the book so far: dramatic, consistent with character as already established, and with a pleasingly bathetic conclusion.

Word count now stands at 58,000. Two weeks ago I was at 34,000, so the wheels are turning, even if the car isn't necessarily going in the right direction. I've largely resisted re-reading what I've written so far, other than to check facts; if I don't re-read it, I can't be tempted to rewrite it...There will be all too much opportunity to do that later.

I now also have two potential endings in mind. This doesn't worry me--by the time I get there, one will be"righter" than the other. Maybe a third will be better still.

In the very unlikely event that anyone is interested in the "Action Stats", the proportions of the story are now:

The Last Free City
Action/Drama: 30% Intrigue: 28% Reflection: 19% Romance: 23%

Compared with the position a fortnight ago:

The Last Free City
Action/Drama: 25% Intrigue: 31% Reflection: 22% Romance: 22%

The story is clearly picking up the pace now. This could mean either:
  • as the protagonist's situation starts to unravel, more and more dramatic situations arise.
  • there is excess padding at the beginning while I establish in my own mind the story and its setting

Until I go back and read the whole thing, I can't tell. And at this stage, it doesn't really matter. In first draft, I think, you have to trust the process, and trust the story to hatch at the end of it all.

I am so engrossed in the story that almost forgotten that publication of The Dog of the North is only six weeks away!


Alis said...

Go you Tim! Sounds as if TLFC is coming on a treat - hope it continues in that vein to the end, whichever you decide on!

David Isaak said...

Wish I could figure out my percentages the way you do!

Tim Stretton said...

David, it's spurious accuracy from someone who's spent too much of his life playing with spreadsheets...

Alis - I now have a third potential ending. I've never been in this position before, so I'm intrigued to see how it pans out.

David Isaak said...

Oh, I'm an avid spreadsheeter. I dump all manner of info about my writing into spreadsheets. Words per page by chapter and average so far, and colored fonts to show who the POV character was in each finished chapter, etc.

I'm just too much of a ditherer to be able to decide whether something is "intrigue" or "action" or whatever. Or how many categories I need. The whole concept is just the kind of thing with which I can't be trusted.

Tim Stretton said...

I have to say the idea is fundamentally flawed...I have used such a wide definition of "Action" that it's almost meaningless. Had I split that category into "action" and "drama" I might be getting somewhere. (Do two people arguing over toast really count as "action"?)

David Isaak said...

You raise a good question (the one about the toast).

In a Kazuo Ishiguro novel, the answer would be a resounding yes. Or in Austen, for that matter.

Incidentally, on my recent pass thru London, they tentatively scheduled the presentation of the final report of my project for mid-September, so perhaps I'll get a chance to say Howdy.

Tim Stretton said...

Mid-September is potentially very good. Fingers crossed!