Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Today I kill a man

Work on Shadow Trail is moving along briskly, I am happy to report. Camp NaNoWriMo has really helped me stay on task, so even though I'm behind in word count, I'm way ahead where I would have been otherwise. I'm up to 21,000 words total, although almost 6,000 of those words were written pre-June.

I have an outline, but I've added so much to the plot that I need to rewrite it. And I hadn't planned on this book being so fast-paced, so some of the chapters I had planned are going to be jettisoned starting today. For instance, according to the outline, the chapter I'm about to write should have had my main characters Marian and Jacob* hiking a few miles with a group of other refugees, with Marian getting increasingly worried about the noise they're making. Instead, in the New, Improved Outline, the chapter starts with the camp getting raided overnight and Marian and Jacob--who wisely camped well away from the others--discovering that everyone is gone. And I will probably have at least one person die.

And of course there will be a couple of people who escaped the capture, although I'm not sure what to do with them yet. But I'll figure it out.

This is a YA with light SF elements and a sweet romance between the two main characters, so with its pace being so fast I think I can wrap it all up in no more than 65,000 words. It would be wonderful if I could finish the whole thing by the end of June, because I've got another project, working title Wharf Rat, that I want to work on next. I started Wharf Rat a few weeks ago to see if I could write grimdark fantasy that's so popular these days. Well, I can't, but instead it's turning out funny as hell.

*Remember guy-who-looks-just-like-Alex? Who I said one day I would use his real name for a character? That's him.


Michael McClung said...

Sounds like you've got your writing mojo firmly in hand :)

Richard said...

Aw, shucks; I want a tome this time! Gimme gimme gimme a four-digit page count...

K.C. Shaw said...

Michael--Yeah, I've got the bit between my teeth and I'm running like hell. :)

Richard--I'll make Wharf Rat really long and complicated with many sequels, how's that? I'm also taking requests for plot points, if you've ever thought, "I wish an author would do that...."

Richard said...

Huh; I'm terrible at plot design--that's one of many, many reasons I don't write.

I can, though, give you a list of things I like as a reader:

- Happy endings. Sad endings are for suckers. The guy gets the girl and vice versa, or I don't buy the sequel.

- Disposable characters. If you don't toss away at least one of the hero's well-beloveds, how do you know there was really danger? (Just don't go the George R R Martin route and go killing all the heroes too.)

- Good wordplay. I hate "humorous situations"--that usually means just awkward implausibility and turns me off. But I love to see serious situations where the characters jab at each other.

- Clever heroes. I love it when the main character figures out the plan early and does something in chapter five that I didn't understand, but that comes to fruition in chapter 20 and leaves me in wonder.

- Clever villains. The bad guys should be just as capable of setting up multi-layered cruelties.

- Character development. Nothing sells me on a story so much as seeing a hero who has nasty characteristics at the beginning, and who fixes them by the end.

Plus, I'm a sucker for (a) trebuchets and (b) survival tales. Give me a castaway on an island trying to stave off murderous pirates by improvising weaponry out of palm trees, and I'm sold. :)

K.C. Shaw said...

I'm on it! I hate sad endings too, so I'd never write one if I didn't have a damn good reason (and a happy-ending sequel in the works).

I wish you'd write the castaways repelling pirates story, because I'd love to read it. I bet Nathaniel would write it. :)