Part the Third

I’m sure you’ve all been dying to know how the novel’s going.

The answer to that is complicated. Have I been getting work done? Yes, almost every day. How many words do I have? 96,224 — which is not so much, given that I was at 86K back on the 7th. But this discrepancy comes about because I’m doing something different from usual.

As I’ve said before, I’m structuring this book so that it cuts back and forth between long sections skipping forward through the years I’m covering, and days of the Great Fire. So I wrote Part One, then Part Two, and so on, with the intent of going back to write the Fire days once I finished Part Four. This is more or less what I’m doing, but I realized that a) given the massive revision Part One needed and b) the advisability of making sure each part flowed properly into each day, when I got near the end of Part Four, I went back and started revising Part One. I’m 13K+ through that and making good progress; you would have to see it to believe just how much less it’s sucking now. (I’ve lost all perspective as to whether it’s good, but it’s definitely better.) When I finish that, I’ll write the first day, then revise Part Two and write the second day, and so on to the end.

I haven’t quite finished Part Four; it needs maybe one or two scenes, which I will have to get done before I write any Fire stuff. (The night I was supposed to tackle those, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with them, so I went back and started revising instead.)

Some of the revision has been polishing; some has been wholesale replacement of scenes. It helps that now I know, as I did not when I wrote this, that I don’t have to stay below 110K for the whole book. Antony’s got a series of three incredibly short scenes coming up, where I all too obviously am trying to keep my word-count in check, to the detriment of the story. So expansion of existing material is the third leg of this process, and possibly the most important; only a couple of scenes have been chucked out in their entirety.

I’ve become a moderately better writer over the years, but a substantially better reviser.


0 Responses to “Part the Third”

  1. sora_blue

    Is there a trick to writing non-linear like this or is it just what happens to work best for this manuscript?

    • Marie Brennan

      It is linear — in the sense of in-narrative chronology. As much as I wanted to start writing Fire stuff when I finished Part One, I knew I would have to wait on it until I’d written everything that occurred before that point. I’ve had a sense from the start of what would be happening during each day, so that it ties in at least a little with the parts they follow, but the most important thing for me is keeping everything chronological.

      If you mean the non-linear structure, it’s a “best for this manuscript” thing. End-loading all of the Fire stuff would deaden the reader; this way, I get to cut back and forth between politics and ‘splody.

      • sora_blue

        I did mean more the structure. I can read non-linear story structures, but I have a difficulty writing them or writing a liner story line in a non-linear way. (Like writing chapter 1, 2, 3…then jumping ahead to chapter 10.)

        • Marie Brennan

          I can’t do the latter of the things you name, and this is my first real attempt at the former. (The flashbacks in MNC were a slightly different ball game.) I’m not sure just why my brain was so insistent that AAL had to be done this way, but there you have it.

  2. akashiver

    Just to let you know – I picked up a copy of MNC for the plane to Toronto, and you got me hooked, damnit. I needed sleep, too!

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