Progress: 12,113 words, One Chapter (First draft)
Ok. Technically I took 9 months away from this project. “Day 324” is a bit misleading, but for proper record I think it best to track straight from start date to end date. The important bit here is that work is being renewed for my second novel, Ghost City.
Before returning to draft 2 of Father’s Creed, I successfully finished an outline for Ghost City. On second reading of the outline, I still like how the story unfolds. As I began to write, however, I was troubled. The words weren’t pouring out. My mind wouldn’t stay with the scene. My character dialogue felt coerced.
At first this worried me. I thought I wasn’t ready to write a new story. I thought something was wrong. Then I stepped back to realize that my anxiety was all part of the process. I didn’t fully know the characters yet or their environment, but I’ve written enough now to understand myself. Despite all the prep, and all the guidance to create in-depth character profiles and understanding of the world prior to entering it, I write more like a paleontologist.
To know the world and its people, I have to chip at the rock, discard the rubble, and gently brush away the unwanted. To see what lies beneath the daunting mass of earth, I just have to dig in. It’s how I wrote my first novel, and it’s how I’m writing my WIP (my story used for my various writing exercises). Digging in is how I will confidently approach this novel, knowing that every word takes me forward with surer footing.
Getting into the characters’ heads takes time, but they are taking shape now. As I strip them down to the basic motivations and timeless relationship desires and hurdles, they reveal themselves. They show me their many faces.
The world building is slow as well, but each scenario for my characters is an opportunity for them to teach me. They lead me on a tour: The Typical Day for Folks of Future Detroit. They tell me what it’s like to live with ghosts and altered reality, automated vehicles whose GPS is damaged by the particle dome encircling their city. They reveal their fears and false securities of life under Trusk Inc’s umbrella. They tell me about hopes and loves they cling to, and the struggle of faith and truth within the constraints of their reality.
As a writer, I enter these foreign worlds as any stranger might: alone and afraid, yet excited and hopeful. If I stay long enough, I’ll find my way and make a few friends, but to get there I must be courageous and determined, and maybe a little bit crazy.
My original deadline for the first draft of Ghost City was May 1, but that ain’t happenin’. I am going to push hard on this project, and with a boost from NaNoWriMo, it’s possible I could be done by Christmas, but my Father’s Creed beta readers will have given me feedback before then. I’ll likely intermingle final editing of that novel with writing this one, which may alter deadlines, but there’s no point in worrying about it now. That’s not the future I’m dealing with at the moment.
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