In Which Our Heroine Finds Herself Kidnapped

Project Title: The Mistress of Frosthaven
Genre: YA – Dark Fantasy
Words Today: 1,535
Running Total: 61,315
Scrap Draft: (V1.0 = 31,142), V2.0 = 12,478

One hundred days, and 60k+ words. We’re making progress. Slow, annoying progress, but progress none the less. Managed to take some time earlier in the day to start tracing the development of the villain, step by step, through the pre-story past. I haven’t quite finished, but already it’s opened some clear doors and certainly some insight into who she is and why she’s doing what she’s doing, which I think will help as I draw nearer to the confrontations that will inevitably come.

Did something tonight I haven’t in a long, long time. I made a complete and total jump from the “plan” and went rogue. I have no idea if this diversion is something I’ll keep, but it is generally in line with what I was hoping would happen, just sooner than I expected. And if nothing else, it allows me to dig into a character I haven’t been able to see too clearly up until now. An enemy turned ally.

I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to have to do some major, major world-building in the second draft, too, along with fixing all the other horrific problems, but I’M NOT THINKING ABOUT THAT NOW! I’m pleased with today’s work, at any rate, and rather energized. It’s given me some momentum I was desperately lacking at the beginning of the session when I was retracing steps I didn’t feel like retracing. So that’s something.

One hundred days, and 60k words. Not too shabby.

In Which Our Heroine Makes a Plan

Project Title: The Mistress of Frosthaven
Genre: YA – Dark Fantasy
Words Today: 1,006
Running Total: 59,780
Scrap Draft: (V1.0 = 31,142), V2.0 = 12,225

Almost a hundred days in, and almost at 60k. Should break both tomorrow! How neat and tidy that seems. Definitely a slower night tonight. Hitting the point where–once again!–I need to scrape together some kind of summary draft to telescope out what’s coming in the next few chapters. I’ve hit the end of my pre-weaving so far (at least, the parts that still hold water), so sooner or later I’m going to need to sit down and hammer out a refreshed plan of action. I’ve got some things on the mind that should be even better than the last pre-envisioning, so I’m excited about that, though I hate having to scrap yet another fairly detailed outline. But it is what it is. The outline never survives the process of putting words on the page, am I right?

In Which Our Heroine is Confronted by a Predator

Project Title: The Mistress of Frosthaven
Genre: YA – Dark Fantasy
Words Today: 1,307
Running Total: 58,774
Scrap Draft: (V1.0 = 31,142), V2.0 = 12,225

Tonight was…surprisingly great. I mean, not a huge word count, but the Zone was afoot in a major way. The scene just…unfolded. The character voices were crystal clear, the narrative was active, complex, and interwoven, and the complications introduced should really fuel the forward drive into End Act II, and I’m leaving the text really excited to dig into the coming complications. A good, solid day’s work.

In Which Our Heroine Loses Some Allies

Project Title: The Mistress of Frosthaven
Genre: YA – Dark Fantasy
Words Today: 1,628
Running Total: 57,467
Scrap Draft: (V1.0 = 31,142), V2.0 = 12,225

OH THE HOLES! THE HOLES! They’re starting to wear on me now, though at least I still managed to move forward today, and didn’t have too bad of a time too, given the three days away from it. But the holes in character motivation, the holes in character relationship development, the holes in background, and the holes in character complexity are starting to chaff a bit. I realize these are all things I can (and will have to) fix in Draft Two, but I hate that they’re there, hiding in the hills of words and snickering to themselves about how wretchedly deep they’re going to be entrenched by the time I get around to fixing them. *sigh* But I keep reminding myself that writing is rewriting, more often than not, and trying not to buy into the idea that if the story is written well in the first place, I wouldn’t have to change much of anything aside from details (which might be true for some writers, but very unlikely for me). And I’m also resisting the urge to simply scream BUT IT’S A SHALLOW WRECK WITH NO HOPE AND NO SOUL! because there are some parts I do like, and overall, I’m actually a little pleased that it’s still coming together despite its flaws. I can feel the organic momentum building towards End Act II, towards that fatalistic moment when THINGS MUST BE DONE, but it seems that EVERYTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. Still, I really, really hate that I’m not 100% inside the heads of my characters right now. They’re still true to form, still acting of their own volition, but I know I’m going to have to go back and clarify a lot and complicate a lot and ugh. But I simply repeat my mantra for this segment: I’M NOT GOING TO WORRY ABOUT IT FOR NOW. And move on.

In Which Our Heroine Gains a Clue and Regains Allies

Project Title: The Mistress of Frosthaven
Genre: YA – Dark Fantasy
Words Today: 1,276
Running Total: 55,839
Scrap Draft: (V1.0 = 31,142), V2.0 = 12,225

Good progress today. So far, the extended outline holds, though I know once I get my heroine back to town, things are absolutely going to get shaken up a bit, and it may need to be completely revised…again… But all in all, it’s moving forward without being too painful. I’m annoyed that I’m not so completely comfortable with the characters in hand to simply know how they’d be and react, and that’s going to be a definite Draft 2 edit pass. I still long for the simplicity of writing the good ol’ fan fiction that–of course, in hindsight–seems to have just fallen into place without any effort at all. (Even though I know the last third was a nightmare to get right, and painful to get through, and things never just fell into place, even with 140k of solid work to support its climax…) I’m 100% aware that that project was a different story, written at a different time, under different expectations. I never had to worry about publishing that one, because I knew where it was going, and that it would never need to be revised, because it was purely for my own entertainment. I’m trying to channel a little of that philosophy into this one, but it is harder, knowing that I will absolutely have to come back to it to fix it up, and knowing that I do want this to be a book I both finish (to some semblance of The Best I Can Do) and perhaps even submit someday. Also, I’m writing it a hell of a lot faster than I wrote the fan fiction (which more often than not went upwards of 8-12 months between chapters, written on the odd weekend between other projects, which it why it took ten years to finish…) So inherently, it’s not going to be as completely charged with urgency, because as much as I’d like to conjure up the kind of urgency I felt every time I sat down after those 8-12 months, brimming with ideas and hyper-charged to get them on paper, I simply can’t sustain that kind of energy for day-to-day work. But then, I’ll also have a rough draft done in less than six months, rather than ten years, so that’s something.

And it’s not that far off from how I felt while writing the fan fiction. It’s much, much closer to the joy and excitement I’ve been trying to find in writing for the past year or so, and that is a triumph in and of itself. So I’ll keep plugging forward, and keep working up the energy to do it day in and day out, and hopefully in the end, I’ll have a draft that isn’t so wretched I can’t look it in the face….

Also, I’d love to say I’ll write tomorrow, but the husband has a three day weekend, and I’m going to take one, too. We don’t get them that often, and I don’t want to be feeling guilty for going out and enjoying life for a while. It’s fiction’s fodder, right? :)

See you Monday!

In Which Our Hero Meets the Mistress

Project Title: The Mistress of Frosthaven
Genre: YA – Dark Fantasy
Words Today: 1,086
Running Total: 54,563
Scrap Draft: (V1.0 = 31,142), V2.0 = 12,225

Clever mathematicians will notice that the “Words Today” and “Running Total” don’t quite add up from yesterday, but I salvaged about 1,500 words from the scrap draft (and they’ve been subtracted from that total for now). Glad to finally stitch together some much needed scenes that had come up too early before. They fit so much better here, though I’m glossing over a lot I know I’m going to have to drill down into in the second draft, but I’M NOT GOING TO THINK ABOUT THAT NOW. (This is quickly becoming my second-half mantra…)

P.S.–My dear husband got this one stuck in my head yesterday, and it STILL PERSISTS, so…if I may be so cheeky: You’re Welcome.

In Which Our Hero Loses a Confidante

Project Title: The Mistress of Frosthaven
Genre: YA – Dark Fantasy
Words Today: 1,887
Running Total: 51,965
Scrap Draft: (V1.0 = 31,142), V2.0 = 13,766

Made very solid progress tonight. It was one of those breezy nights that, while the prose may be a bit iffy on the quality, the words just kind of flooded out. It wasn’t quite a “Zone” night, but it was pretty close, all things considered. I feel like I can sense the gathering tension of the plot as it begins to pick up speed on the downward swing towards End Act II, which I’m hoping will mean it’ll gain a little inertia I can ride to that point with a tiny bit less suffering than the first half gave me. But time will tell, won’t it?