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

Three Katherines of Allingdale: Another week of donkey-work.  Analysing and amending the Lord Evil arc; annotating old scenes for revision in light of it; writing the outlines for the first set of new ones; and finally coming up with a rough geography of the north-eastern counties and foreign nations which is plausibly consistent across the whole tale.

Still to do: rinse and repeat for the Puffin-Genius arc; ditto for the Matter of Fairfields; ditto for the Big Bad/the Untold Tale.  Then a consistency-check per major character, a correction-scheme for all major blunders so far noted, and the big straight-through rewrite before final polishing.

(sigh)

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: Finished the big donkey-work project I need to begin my actual revision - namely, compiling a complete list of all 122 first-draft scenes, with the contents of each summarized in a sentence or short paragraph.  Armed with this map, I'm ready to begin some actual revision at last, starting with the major structural and logical issues, and working down to successively finer levels of detail.

The 'Prelude to Revision' posts will be continued as and when I can, as commentary alongside the revision as it progresses.  Just now, the sense of what I need to do is coming to me faster than I can articulate the whys and wherefores of it.

My first job is to go back through the Rising and the Embassy plotlines, and cause them to:

a) Make political and character sense, from the beginning, in the light of everything I learned before the end; and

b) Respect a consistent geography and calendar.

This is the hardest and iffiest job, since it involves proving the story's internal logic good, and must therefore be achieved first.


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

Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: Sorted out the Big Bad plotline, which turned out to make more sense than I was afraid it did: only a few tweaks here.  The main edit is going to have to be for presentation.  The first appearance of the Big Bad is maybe not the grossest in terms of sheer power, but it is unfortunately still the most terrifying.  Second most terrifying, would be fine.  I need to polish the final confrontation some more, until the Devil is glaring out of its mirror.  I'm not saying it's flat, but there have been a lot of peaks in this book, and this one  has to make a fitting finale.

I'm coming to the end of this plotline survey now.  I'm not ready to tackle the top-level issues once and for all, so it's back to the geography (boo!) and post-draft research issues for the donkey-work.

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: Finished reviewing the plotline I'd been avoiding - the tale of the Young Duke, and his better and worse counsellors. Ngh. This may be the one in need of most work.

Not hard to see why - of all the elements in the tale, this one had the worst wellspring: neither a lively part of the original vision, nor a spontaneous outgrowth of the story's unfolding, but a rather passive and cartoony set of antagonists in the original plot, designed more to be important in their circumstances than in themselves. That changed rapidly from the moment the Duke himself burst onto the stage, but the changes are somewhat late-grafted and inconsistent, as I flailed around to make the matter come alive without completely disrupting the logic of the story. So now I'm going to have to go back and retro-fit the lords of Northdales as I came to know them, with the way they are on their first appearance.

Lordly behaviours, the diplomatic dance, and questions of malice and mammon. )
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: Worked on geography and finished notes on the Witchy Wizardy subplot. Overall sense is that it needs a deal of work - but that work done, it could smooth off some of the other plotlines and ideas as neatly as sandpaper.

This large plotline is the most organically grown of all, having been completely unimagined in the story's origin, and by degrees become central to it. It centres around the three pure magic-specialists in the younger generation: Flashy Elder Brother, the virtuoso wizard; and Bonecold Refugee and her friend whom we might call Knife-Rede, the inexperienced witches. The subplot coalesced around a datadump excuse; the need to win two nonmagical tricks in order for Kate to challenge the Dull Tower; and an intended romantic tie-off at the ending, which has now grown implicit and ambiguous. Much was revealed in the telling, as its three central characters came out of the shadows and spoke to me.

Avoiding magus ex machina )

Finally, I've sorted out a bunch of details and raised a few more questions about Bonecold Refugee (by far the most pivotal character of the three, as things turned out), and the relationship between the various known approaches to the Art Magic in the Kateverse. One thing I should certainly have picked up without waiting for the revision for it to smack me between the eyes: Bonecold has the training and the turn of mind to be a most formidable witch - in many ways she is like a Katy Elflocks who got smacked with the predictable reality instead of the fairy-tale - but she doesn't really think in witchy terms more than she can help.* I think her true vocation is wizardry, even though she doesn't know or do any, at least in the main course of the tale.

Wherein it is seen that even the author can miss even the most blatant incluing threaded throughout their own text. Repeatedly. Extensively. D'oh!

* ETA: "turn of mind to be a most formidable witch... doesn't really think in witchy terms" appears to make no sense. What I was trying to say is that she has a mind that can wrangle witchy magical concepts and entities very well - but the directions she takes them in, given any choice in the matter, aren't very witchy at all. Gah, that was clumsy of me!
caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: Set in order the long and involved story of that most infuriating of my main characters, Prince Lucas the Proud alias Luke Lackland. He begins as an Entitlement Monster, ends as a Selflessness Monster, and it really isn't clear that anything much has changed about him except his fairer appreciation of his place in the world.

Noodling around a great heroic noodle. )

His strange genius for finding heroism by dodging any thoughts or choices that might lead away from it... could explain quite a bit about my Prince Charming manqué. If I come back to his mid-Rising decisions with that in mind, I hope I can get some sense out of them in the rewrite!

caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (golden kate)
Made sense of and wrote up the Elvish court's various agendas throughout Three Katherines, inasfar as I am ever going to make sense of people who are wont to treat time, space, logic, and basic arithmetic as despicable little bourgeois conventions, dahling.

This involved a severely reduced ration of sleep on my part, and the re-reading of the bits I'd signally skipped on my survey re-read, because I knew already what they did for the plot and what a rough ride they'd give me.

One thing I thought I'd remembered correctly, and hadn't, was the sheer amount of discord emanating from the Palace of Blue Flames in general, and the raving virulence of one of its voices in particular. That voice now seems to be introducing a theme which surfaces again and again in less horrid, often inverted, but equally terrible forms throughout Killer-Kate: in the desperate council at Fairfields; in the Young Duke's intoxicating vision of having all his cakes and eating them too; and in the Widow's apocalyptic reading of what the Langdale Rising has done, before the whole theme is resolved in the grand ending. Also, it's heavily prefigured by Kate and Luke's insane ambitions way back in Katy Elflocks.

Little of this was on purpose, and half of it I didn't consciously notice till I revisited the Elvish plot last night. It's a good theme and a central one, but I'm beginning to think I might do well to lighten up on the detailed hammering home it gets every time it surfaces in the exploratory draft. Something to watch, there.

I'm horribly tempted to think of this as the Elfmarch, Fuck Yeah! theme. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
caper_est: The grey wolf in the red gloaming. (three katherines of allingdale)
I caught one! Right at the beginning of Katy Elflocks, before I knew or thought I'd need to care about the details of the wider kingdom, I had Luke's father give him his ridiculously destructive magic sword as a parting gift - and it is explicitly the case that the old king has borne it into battle and knows what it's like, albeit clearly he doesn't think it's that useful a treasure for a modern monarch. But in the light of the way the worldbuilding subsequently develops, this is slightly more out of context than Henry VII's handing over his invincible Excalibur to his frisky younger son Hal.  I shall have to revisit this, one way or another.

Went through the Puffin Superior's plotline before bedtime. Huge amounts of detail there which will never make the story, but give me a better handle on and a better set of questions about that enigmatical and seriously pivotal character in the latter chapters of Kate. Since I didn't foresee her in Katy, and used her Sisterhood only as a background detail in another context, that's going to be one important place for me to work on foreshadowing and incluing in the earlier story. Also, major worldbuilding chore: finally sorting out to my own reasonable satisfaction how the wider local religion works, both officially and in practice. That turns out to be another matter on which my ideas have changed considerably during the telling.

From last night's belated birthday treat, the memory of a large and luscious Chez Gérard steak followed by pear in red wine syrup is still suffusing me with feelings of tenderness and bounty towards the wide world.


caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland: Set down thirty years of the Royal Court's agenda in the remote and boondocky Northdales, and the dales-folk's frequently underwhelmed response thereto.   As I mentioned here, this is all important for the shape of the tale, but not particularly obtrusive.

Raised a few questions, received no big surprises, caught no big howlers.

Off on a belated birthday outing with my brother and sister-out-law now, so probably no more work today.


caper_est: caper_est, the billy goat (Default)
Donkey posts are going to do for various forms of donkeywork what wordcount posts did for first drafting, i.e. maintain a sense of progress on my part during a long slogging phase, whilst offering a tag by which readers can easily filter out unwanted wibbling if it all gets too much.

Today I wrote my summary-from-memory of one of the main character plotlines, namely Kate's thirty-year arc from the end of Katy Elflocks onwards. Encouragingly, it hangs together better - with respect to this drama of the final winter - than I expected. Maybe I won't need to cut out quite as many false starts and errant shoots from it as I feared.

I still have those top-level considerations to get back to, but I need to let Tolkien & Co. go on stewing for a bit longer. Meanwhile, on with the reviews of what's actually there, and research into things I don't really know enough about and kind of skimped on for the sake of getting the story out while it was hot, and worldbuilding consistency/inconsistency dumps, and other such stuff that I'm going to have to do whatever other decisions I make.

I would so love to have reached actual rewriting territory by Christmas!


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