I have three days of the new routine behind me, and I stand teetering on the fourth with a damn cold that came out of nowhere last night, a bolt of snotty, coughy, headachy cold that snuck up on me in-between the bus stop and the writing meeting. Boo.
But, hey, I’m here for my words on the draft, iTunes set to random, and contemplating the edit of the novel that’s my afternoon project.
Been a while since the critique session with local writing buddies, so on Monday I had pulled out their notes and transcribed them, with my own additions, read over an annotated PDF from one of them, as well as adding the notes I took during the critique session. And two things leapt out at me, one I had mostly forgotten and one that I’ve been avoiding.
1) Gunpowder! (Making things and plots go BOOM.)
This was a flash that hit me during the critique session. The world of Blood of Wolves is a pre-Steampunk era in an alternate world lifted/inspired by the 1600s. By that I mean that in the two hundred years or so, the world could develop into a steampunk one, but right now we have this world’s version of the Renaissance boiling away in the major cultural and economic centers but not having reached the edges of the empire where the story takes place. (Think gothic, snow-bound Keep.) Where the novel takes place, a final stand is being taken, and while I have most of the pieces in place, it occurs to me that if I had something like gunpowder involved, in a limited, “Holy crap, this will change everything,” sort of way, it would give the story a hell of a lot more umph. This will involve a hell of a lot more tinkering, which I’m loathe to do. But maybe not. Will take much noodling.
2) A Darling! Quick! Kill it before it gets away!
During the first draft, I wrote the opening scene trying to be coy about what was happening while at the same time ‘starting late’ in fiction terms. Then I realized that if this book was good enough to be picked up by a publisher, any prospective reader will, having read the back cover, know who these characters are and that there are werewolves running around. This smack to the head really changed how I thought about the scene and what ended up going in. (A real ‘Duh!’ moment, of which I have many.)
But then I worried that I was starting too late, without enough context to have the reader give a crap about why this girl was running through the woods apparently to save her skin. (She’s not.) I had this image for a scene, pretty dramatic in my mind’s eye, that could only take place before my opening chapter. And since I had already worried about not having enough context, off I went and wrote a new opening and my original opening became chapter two.
I think I have a darling. And I think it has to die.
Well, at least I have the gunpowder.