Week 5 Round-Up

Urg…this week was a total bitch. By Tuesday I’d convinced myself the entire story was fatally flawed and needed a complete overhaul before going any further. By Thursday I’d  planned  an  entire shift of genre and by Friday I’d abandoned that and decided to quit writing altogether in favour of the much more pleasurable past time of smacking myself in the face with a shovel.

Saturday I gave myself a reality check and returned to writing the scene that had initialy caused my crisis of confidence on Monday. Once I sat down to it things started to flow OK, and I ended the weekend with 2400 words and an angle on two more viewpoint characters. The moto of this story is: you have to write through problems, not think your way around them.

Viewpoint is both the strength and the weakness of the story so far. In each scene I’m doing well at staying limited third person VP. I’ve spent most of the last two years working on this style as opposed to my more established first person limited, and I do at last seem to be getting the hang of it. It has much less latitude for clever tricks than first person, but being clever is a poor substitute for being good, and third person forces you to really think out each character, their relationships and motivations. For me that’s really the heart of the craft, and I’m very happy that my writing is becoming more and more focused on it.

But VP is also a weakness. So far I’ve introduced six viewpoint characters. That’s not an unmanageable number but I would be happier with reducing that to three or four. Its indicative of my general indecision about the story structure I’m aiming for as well – whether this is a true blockbuster epic, or if will condense down to a shorter, more complex structure. At the moment I think I can afford to turn out scenes and get the story told in rough form before nailing this stuff down, so I hope I don’t crash into any insurmountable barriers on the way.

I also have a very major practical issue. The heart of the story has always been the Mimas – a group of wandering actors / adventurers. In previous versions of the story I have sketched out the members of the Mimas but this time around I’ve only really tackled two members, and their stories take them off at a tangent from the main group. I’m now not sure if the Mimas are playing a useful role, or even if I can make make them work at all within the story as its evolving. At the same time they seem quite essential to the plot. I think I’ll make tackling them one way or the other this weeks goal.

I’ve also gone through the 10k barrier this week. Thats good but the mental milestone I have at the moment is 30k, which will be the longest text I’ve written to date. When I get there I’ll be throwing some kind of small party, so keep your diaries free for 7 – 8 weeks from today!

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

2 thoughts on “Week 5 Round-Up

  1. Good for you! its always great when you relise that you have really broken through a barrier, wether it be in th emind or on paper! You’ll be wondering around with a satisfied smile on your face for weeks!



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