caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)

Or weird quantum-mechanical state of chapter, as the case may be.

Further work on the Fairfields arc of Killer-Kate has revealed that it needs to be tautened up by, 'ere we go again, adding another chapter.  I have a fairly strong vision of this already, including the makings of a climactic scene I like a lot.  As a bonus to resolving most of the problems set out in the previous post, it gives me a free chance to bring back the Big Bad plotline to the front of the reader's mind again, without adding yet more fruitless talk and speculation.  Which makes it a pretty rich vision.

What makes it an embarrassingly rich vision is that I have two of it.  There's a pre-Wassail version, provisionally titled Hunt and Holt, and a post-Wassail one I've dubbed The Holt and the Haunt.  The former is slightly more focused on Luke and the mortal opposition, the latter on Katy and the Big Bad.  The dynamics of the surrounding chapters will depend a lot on which one I choose.  Post-Wassail is looking better in several ways.  But I can't choose one for certain, except in the act of deciding how the whole Fairfields arc is going to end up.  Which can't be decided for certain until the whole-book critical review is finished, so that I'll know what I need to plant in the Fields and what I ought to grub up.  Meantime, the chapter exists in a cloud of uncollapsed contradictions, and is going to stay that way for at least the next week or two, as I plug on criticizing the first draft all the way to its end.

Has anybody else had similar experiences?  I seem to have spent quite a lot of time with this book, holding contradictory plot ideas in tension until the stronger one crystallizes into truth.  This is just a blatant case.  It's somewhat mind-bending and occasionally exhausting; and until I'm done I'm not going to know whether it's just inefficient and indecisive, or a necessary part of telling this tale honestly.

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: A breakthrough!  I've finally teased apart the threads of the infamous Four Agenda Pile-Up at Garcastle.  Lord Evil now has something to do that is... worthy... of him; Relatively Okay Genius's masterstroke, disentangled with few changes from the former muddle, shows up as much more shocking and brilliant; and there is lively and desperate action to replace the worst passages of talking heads and ominous introspections.  The cost of all this is another chapter in the middle, provisionally dubbed Hell-Stalk.  That's the third, now.  Even at an optimistic estimate, I'm going to have to allow a month for this trio.  Depending on how the rest of the revision goes, the Easter deadline may still be attainable.

Coming to the end of the political critique now.  By this weekend, I want to have the revised structure it implies up and running.  The simpler critique of the Big Bad's thread, and the unpredictable process of trying to integrate Kate with Katy around Kit's pivotal untold story, will then conclude the structural issues, and set me free for the big new sections and deletions.  This will surely take me up to the beginning of March, when I can start the detail edits; after which, beta-reading, final polish, and submission I guess in mid-spring.

Quiet worldbuilding and fantasy for Chocolate and the Gods continues to lighten these sloggy hours, though it's not yet ready to be told directly.  Chocolate qua chocolate begins to seem an unexpectedly minor detail of its flavour.

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 3,500 words.  The climactic showdown with the Big Bad finished, and with it the last full chapter.  Now there's nothing left of the first draft but a moderately long epilogue.

Bunny = happy!


caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 1,300 words, the end of the chapter, and the characters steeled for their run-up to the Big Bad.  The intent of this final scene, and how it sets up the Monster Ultimate Showdown, only showed itself to me two weeks ago.  This is now a lot tenser, and preceded by a lot more bitter in the sweet, than my long-held vision of it allowed.  Here's the price of making the Ultimate Showdown the Monster One after all - yet I think it opens more space for last night's brief access of tenderness and warmth, too.  Yes, I like the way this is going.

Only the final action chapter and an epilogue left, now.  This prospect remains rather dazing to me, after two years of active work, and a previous year with the ideas stewing around a few thousand words of beginning.

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 1,600 words.  A big dump of the treaty, as the truthful yet bigly bullshit tale goes out to the lords and commons of Alland.  It's well seen that there were two of the best lawyers and two of the best diplomats for a week's ride around, at that Conference!

To the reader it should be obviously both true and bullshitty, but the thrust of it still obscure.  That is because said thrust has not yet been driven through its target, and we all love us some nice surprises.  I shall probably dramatize this dump into a short chapter of its own in the redraft, to balance the recent short chapter which is apt to disappear totally as an entity; but that day is not this day.

One final scene, and as domestically liminal as the first, before this megachapter is done with.


caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 1,500 words, finishing the Young Duke's viewpoint, cutting his trio of scenelets off into a short chapter of its own, and beginning a pure Chapter of Showdown which is now told entirely from Golden Kate's perspective.  In her first scene, all has been very literally darkest before dawn; but dawn is what we have come to.

Decided who exactly is going to be present for the Conference, and why.

It's today...


caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 1,700 words, and the end of the chapter.  The Young Duke receives his answer, and by-and-by departs to create an extra bonus scene elsewhere, because there is no way he would not.  This is a much better set-up for the ferocious chapter that follows, than the one I had before.  I actually winced at the parallel which occurred to him and me in the very last paragraph.

He has even more reasons to be unreasonable with Kate & Co. than the ones that were always obvious.  Reasons other than being related to Kate and more than a bit like her, too.  Though that's a pretty big reason, or at least a pretty good explanation, right out of the gate.

Now I'm back to "two chapters and an epilogue" remaining of the first draft, again.  Finally, I come to the second of my three climactic showdowns - the military/revolutionary one in Langdale, the political/family one here, and beyond that...

The Big Bad! 


caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 1,460 words, and just got up to the climactic and final bit of the chapter.

Most of this is going to have to go into incluing in previous sections, be moved back into previous episodes, or just deleted and left for implication.  I can't do that in this first draft, or I'll forget half of what I was trying to imply.  The Bonfire Arc is definitely taking a turn I hadn't planned for.  That's new, eh?

Also, my nerves are piano-wires, my muscles feel fresh off the barbecue, and I am mucous as any slug.  There's a simile I shan't be working into any folksongs any time soon!

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 50 words gathering in reactions from a fevered sleepless night, before I noticed I'd mislaid my keys and had to drop everything to find them.  Two jobs for me in this new chapter: firstly, looking things around from every aspect, especially those of the people who are Not Important, so that my main characters are striding around amongst things which are really happening.  The Night Without Stars, and what people felt and glimpsed after it, has been a big shock to the system.  Big, and excessively confusing.

Secondly, to pare what is told down to what the Young Duke is truly doing and feeling about it.  If one chapter of this tale is as much his own as he assumes all the rest is - why, this would be the one.

And he is going to find himself a hard and raging opponent, in this deadly earnest bout of shadow-boxing.

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 1,640 words, and the end of the Chapter of Puffins.  We have already seen Katy's great stroke in a previous chapter as miraculous and redemptive, and here now we get to see it from the angle where it looks about as redemptive as a big byakhee beanfeast.

I was chased out of my dreams by killer crocodiles at three in the morning in order to finish this.  No lie.  I hope that the lady responsible is now satisfied!

caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)

My wretched Windows installation at home has crashed spectacularly, and my breaks at work are apt to be short and sweet, as the Autumn Term is now taking off in earnest.  So there won't be a lot of news from me until I've fixed things up again.

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: Pulled together the shape of the current chapter, and of course there turns out to be bloody well two of it.  Shorter ones, admittedly.  I'm now going to cut it on the edge of the Night Without Stars.

Ciao now!
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Stone and cloud from the Schilthorn

Just back from a week's goofing off in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. Mountains such as the Ogre, the Monk, and the Virgin I never saw before, nor their high glaciers and the streams that tumble from them. It is also something strange to see hills feathered by great stands of conifers, each rising up to a third or half of the hill's own height. As for the most formidable meals, the mountains are plainly necessary in order to walk them off.

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: The Family Fight chapter has not so much split, as required me to step back in time and write another chapter from the Young Duke's viewpoint in Alland, simultaneous with all the late shenanigans in Langdale. Better far than trying to infodump it into Kate's big return scene, whose flow I now follow a lot better. The Duke can here emerge as the man I began to develop in the middle chapters, rather than the vain and callow boy of my vaguer original vision three years back. The tragedy he teeters on the verge of is just as wrong-headedly catastrophic as it was then, but much less stupid and more interesting.

He will need his runup for that, though; and the Puffin Superior, moving onto the board at last, gets to establish herself in some serious action before her fateful collision with Kate. And so the last of my important characters walks on stage.

Also I composed a folk ballad, Two Fair Maids of Alland, which has been earworming me all holiday and which I can at last record and drive out again. This one I can't post any time soon anywhere, because despite its wild inaccuracies it contains a major spoiler for the Family Fight.

A more friendly family meet-up for me now, and more travels immediately afterwards.  Then a summer which should see the... resolution... of the mortal struggles in Allingdale, and then only one last full-on chapter to go back to work on: the climactic showdown with the Big Bad, and its epilogue.  I'm working on the assumption that the first draft should be done and dusted by October, and the intense revision phase finished by the end of the year.

This is quite consistent with the pace so far.  It is also a very strange feeling indeed.

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: 740 words, and the end of the chapter after all, with a leaping of unlooked-for joy and a braving of new menace.

Now I really shall be out of touch, and out of scribbling, for a week or so.

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