Thursday, May 7, 2009

... on theft, and, technique

One thing that constantly bothers me about both the plot to CoSaS and to COT is that for something with Thief in the title, my characters don't do very much actual stealing. I always wonder how to reconcile this, and always come back to the idea of writing about one of the six principals actually trying to steal something not only doesn't work well with the plot, but is seems like it would be lazy writing. It seems like it would be throwing this deeper into fanficcyness and come off as gamey.

As some of you know, I alternate in my writing style between writing "chapters" and writing "the story". When I write "chapters" I have a particular chunk of the big plot I focus on and it is composed in a mini-arc according to a given theme. When I am writing "the story" there is no mini-arc, just events which play out as they must, without me composing them into a neat chapter-like package that will span 20-25 thousand words. As a result, these tend to go on much longer, sometimes to nearly 40 thousand words, because without the clear arc or theme, I don't know when to stop! What usually happens is that after it's all written, I will edit the content into chapters and then come back in a revision and edit it even more into mini-arcs. Those who were reading the blog months ago may remember when I revised some chapters that didn't seem to work by splitting them into two chapters, maybe at the expense of chronological storytelling. I have a feeling that chapters 19 and 20 are going to be like this. After completing the outline for 19, which was going to focus on James, Sheam, and Ghost, I realised that I had far more in it than will probably fit into one chapter, and that if I went that far ahead with each of those characters, then it will have been too long since we've seen Nightfall and Jyre (Lytha is with Ghost so it doesn't hurt her as much). The solution? Work on The Story, not on A Chapter, and edit it into Chapters later.

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