Friday, July 18, 2014

The glorious failure

The Lucas Series story is done. 12 chapters, 23,000 and change words. I had a plot, and characters, but the plot decided to die in chapter 3 when one character objected to being cursed even minutely in the strongest terms and certain plot threads felt too closely tied in tone and nature to Roadside Attractions at the End of the World, a novel I first wrote in 2007 (and revised in 2009). Some of it was the nature of a magic involving cursing, some a character I excised from the draft. Which also removed most of the role for a major character. And so the story fell apart entirely despite efforts to shore up and fix the plot.

The characters worked, though the story became less dark than it should have; some characters never got a chance to shine at all, and eventually I mean to rectify that. Point of order: I wrote 23,000 words in 18 days. To some, that might seem like a lot but the first 7K were on the first day: everything after became a bit of a slog, for many reasons, enough that only 2 of the 12 chapters will survive semi-intact in the next version.

Things to fix:
  • This story wanted to be a novel. I knew I didn’t have the time to give a novel treatment what it deserved. A first draft is basically the writer telling themselves how the story works, and I knew this wouldn’t even be that at this point.
  • It needs to be told from multiple POVs: Taylor needs a POV chapter (at least one) since he’s too damn shy otherwise. Also, with a longer timeframe Rico could show up and having to explain to your boyfriend exactly why you have a friend he doesn’t know, a magician and a ten year old kid staying at their condo will be a scene that practically writes itself.
  • Kells and Eric both got shafted, plot and story wise. They need bigger roles and a lot more time in the story. Also, Lucas’ family needs to be involved.
  • I need to work out the actual feel of a magic based on cursing a lot better, and have Lucas use it more often as well as having it use him. This is magic in the horrible evil witch sense of things and the story should be made dark and ugly because of it.
  • The story is character-based. My idea of doing such a story with a friend and publishing it online won’t work too well with such a story; I’m not a person who writes in chapters by nature, and the beats required for a serial story don’t fit my writing style for such stories; will need to re-think the approach toward one. 

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