Wednesday, January 14, 2009

... into the unknown

After too many days of banging my head and two crashes resulting in lost work, the first section of Chapter 18 is finished. It picks up right where 17 left off, with James and Jyre, because (you should know this by now) I find cliffhangers to be a rather dull and cheap tactic. Chapt 17 sort of ended in one, so I decided the first thing I needed to do was continue that, rather than force the reader to spend several hours with another character before finally getting it. I don't know how anyone else feels about it, but I begin to resent some characters when an author chooses to switch to what they're up to at the very moment when the one we had been following for the last chapter has become extremely interesting.

Chapter 18 has the dubious honor of mirroring events that were cut from the original COT, only to end up (probably) being read far more than COT actually was. I am talking about the excerpt that was included in Thumper's Guide to the Strange and Unusual. I edited it out of the original because I felt that it contained too many direct and obvious references to the work of H.P.Lovecraft, a nod to the Cthulhu statue seen in the original mission, The Lost City. (The authors for James and Jyre were both fans.) I felt it appropriate to include in the rewrite because of its probably infamy as part of the guide, the fact that I've now read some Lovecraft and actually know what it's all about, and because it was one of the few parts of James and Jyre's adventure where something actually happens. Of course, don't expect it to go anything like it does as seen in the strange and unusual guide.

The Ultima Underworld references, on the other hand, I did without.

Friday, January 9, 2009

... can I write something new, now?

After two heavily edited sections, one totally new one, and two new segues, I think this last back of revisions is actually done. This one was a bit unusual... before all of the revisions were to bring the older chapters up to date with the facts, and quality of the later chapters. In this case it was to outright change the way something happened, and introduce some totally new ideas that (while they don't come out of left field, it's still an organic progression) I decided I wanted to introduce earlier in the story.

I'm really tired.

Oh yeah, and with these revisions, the story actually broke 400,000 words. Scary.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

... more revisions, meh

I haven't been able to get much work done this week, and I don't think that's going to change, due to some family affairs. I intend to take a hiatus from civilization after this, which should let me entrench myself in some thiefy atmosphere and a writing mood. I hope.

As I mentioned in the last post, the side effect of outlining the final chapters has been more revisions. Again, it has to do with Sheam (go figure?) but this time it's because I need to change a small aspect about what happens at the end of Chapter 16, which was shoehorned from the start, seemed forced during the revision, and in retrospect while planning the next chapters, simply doesn't work. On the other hand I am taking this opportunity to do more work on the chapter in general, as benefited from a new understanding of where the story is going, as only finally writing it down in an orderly fashion can generate. It won't be a huge change or an addition, just a bit of a smoother transition into new territory we need to get into, and a chance to visit with a character who was mentioned and described in great detail, but I realised was impossible to meet without having him make an appearance sometime before chapter 18. He's much more pertinent to COT2, but I've decided that making a big deal about something (or someone) only to never hear about it again is probably a bad idea - especially if it's just a setup for something in COT2.

Also, and embarrassingly, I've finally corrected all the times where I mistakenly called Othello "Oberon". I can see how that would be confusing.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

... going back to go forward

As I was deciding what to put into the final chapters today I wound up adding two new sections to previous chapters. I hadn't wanted to do more revision, but I found that there were some things that needed to be in (not events, but character development type scenes) which I did not want to put into the final chapters - they needed to be dealt with much earlier in the story. The end result was a new rather long Sheam section in Chapter 12, and a new segue before chapter 14. Sometimes you need to go back in order to go forward.

Blah blah blah.

... concerning finishing

While the actual writing of the end of the story is still many weeks away, I am trying to outline the concluding chapters, which means that I have a pretty good idea of how the story is going to end (one would only hope, right?). The pole about multiple endings is drawing to a close, with most people interested in separate, personal endings for the six characters, though not necessarily symmetrical endings. Of course, the plan is to not actually tell anyone what the plan is for the ending.

I started up a new poll, concerning what is to come. Since COT2 is what inspired the rewrite to begin with, it seems logical to assume that COT2 is in the cards. Of course, as long as I am not getting paid for this, nothing is set in stone - but it's still worth thinking about. Basically, it comes down to this. Even if I never write a COT2, the "lives" of the characters and the world they live in will go on after the final chapter of COT is set in stone. The plot for COT2 has been decided for years, and though it's changed dramatically because of the rewrite (as was the point of the rewrite to do so) in essence it's there. The one thing I haven't decided yet is how heavy-handed to be with that thought. Personally I can't stand it when the last thing an author does (this goes for scriptwriters too) is tack on a cliffhanger to let everyone know that Part 2 is on the way. That's worse than simply not ending it at all. Horrible. So don't worry - I am not going to do that. So I am avoiding the two extremes of a non-ending / tacked-on-cliffhanger versus the complete-closure / everyone-dies / the-epilogue-tells-us-how-each-character-lives-the-rest-of-their-lives thing. Where the ending will fall in the middle of that is yet to be seen, and something that blog-readers are invited to comment on.

Friday, January 2, 2009

... need non-taffers

I'd like to finally get some feedback on the story from people who have never even heard of Thief. Optimally though, I'd like for them to not know me, either. Chances are if you're reading this, you either know me or know Thief, but maybe you know someone who knows neither, but they love to read fantasy and don't mind doing it at the computer. Anyone?

... segue to segues

One thing I didn't do while doing the revision was completing all the segues, the inter-chapter mini-sections which tell things from the point of view of a mini-character observing a minor character (there are some exceptions, where segues are told from sub-principal characters!) in order to flesh out plot elements which would otherwise be completely hidden from the reader (since we're tied to the observations of the principals).

They're not easy, because they have to...
  • Be told in around 300 - 1000 words.
  • Involve a snippet of story that isn't involved in the plot-flow around it.
  • Deal with and rely on characters the reader may never have met (and will never).
  • Still need to fit in with the framework and tone of the chapters around it.
  • Actually provide some relivant information.

So even though they're short, writing the segues was just as hard as writing chapters. Crazy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

... the breakdown

Want some pie? 'Course you do!

The numbers are all 'words' (according to MSWord2007) and the pie chart shows what percentage of the story is told from which character's point of view (excluding the segues) with the bar chart showing the chapter lengths. The only surprising thing is that Lytha, Jyre, and Ghost are all so evenly divided.

Chapter length looks slightly top-heavy, with the earlier chapters tending to be longer and the later ones tending to be shorter. Again, I think this can be attributed to the 'world building' done early in the story that isn't as abundant later. As you can also see, a good number of the segues (red bars, shown as ... in the chapter list) haven't been written yet.