Friday, May 19, 2006

Uffish thought

The mad dash to write Benfro book three continues apace. I am now halfway through chapter five, with a little over twenty thousand words done. Yesterday was a three kay day, but started with the deletion of about 1000 words from Wednesday, so only a 2k day in truth. Today is struggling to get even that done, and I am beginning to wonder whether I've made a mistake in my plan.

The Ballad of Sir Benfro is, as its name suggests, about Sir Benfro. I'm not giving too much away when I tell you that Sir Benfro is a dragon, and a large chunk of the story is written from his point of view. Other parts are narrated from the point of view of three other characters and their individual stories intertwine to make up the whole in what I hope is a pleasing manner.

Now the problem. For the first section of book three, there's a lot of stuff that two of these other characters, Queen Beulah and Inquisitor Melyn, have to do, but not much in the way of action for poor old Benfro and the fourth character, Errol Ramsbottom. In order to maintain some symmetry, I have to come up with things for the two of them, thrown together at the end of book two, to do until their main strand of the story can start.

Getting the timing right in multi-threaded narratives is always a pain in the arse. I ended up completely rewriting the second half of book two because things didn't square up properly. I can't very well leave Benfro and Errol out of the first hundred pages of the book and concentrate solely on Melyn and Beulah, that would upset the balance of things. But equally, I don't like too many passages that don't particularly advance the story.

There are things that Errol and Benfro can do that lay foundations for book four. And they are not easy allies to start with, so a lot of the early sections can be about them learning first to tolerate each other and then to build a sort of trust that may eventually become friendship. But a lot of those type of passages are rather dull, if not derivative and rather too predictable for my liking. As ever, I must show, not tell. Introspection and explanatory dialogue are the enemy. They must be purged.

So having burst out of the stocks at breakneck speed, I've now slowed a bit. I shall rest here by the jub jub tree and stand awhile in thought.

Then I shall go to the pub. It's Friday after all.


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

"It's Friday after all."

Like you need an excuse!

Congrats on getting so much done James.

May 19, 2006 3:20 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

That has to be some kind of commenting record, Sandra. The email of my post and the email of your comment both arrived at the same time.

Lurking around the blogs again?

May 19, 2006 3:22 pm  
Blogger Trace said...

I do think the pub is a cure all, in many cases.

May 19, 2006 3:58 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Ah, no James. Oddly enough, I was feeling guilty for being late today, again.

May 19, 2006 8:40 pm  
Blogger Dr. Lisa said...

YUM tayberries.

All this productivity on your part is making me feel lazy.

May 20, 2006 1:22 am  
Blogger JamesO said...

Sandra, so I am become your confessor; a foil for your guilt?

Lisa, it might seem productive, but how do you know I haven't just typed 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' 300 times?

May 20, 2006 6:26 am  
Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

This may sound a bit odd, but it might be nice to switch for the book. You always get these great sprawling fantasies that only come from the good guys' POV. Maybe it'd be interesting to have a book in the middle that goes the other way, with the baddies getting centre stage and the goodies being a bit more peripheral instead.

Just a thought.

Pub... God, I wish.

May 20, 2006 10:04 am  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Hey, you get a confessional, I'm there.

But with how much I'll divulge willingly, you can understand when I say that whatever I'd call a confession must be private.

May 20, 2006 11:45 pm  

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