Word Count: 35,060
And now I’m in the doldrums.
The problem isn’t the story — it’s chugging along quite merrily, in fact. Up until now, the issue has been time. My social engagements, exercise, and work had effectively slimmed down my remaining free time to just enough to keep on pace. On Sunday, I slipped a day behind, and through some determination (and something I’ll mention below) rebounded back to par. Luckily, the past few days have been much less intense.
So, what’s changed since last week?
The story’s become an ensemble piece. I originally envisioned The Coral Gate with a single narrative thread: Lily, discovering a stone arch in the woods, learns to summon creatures and discovers it’s actually a portal to two separate worlds. But when I fleshed out the outline before NaNoWriMo, I added supporting characters: Ben, the scientist at C-32 who also finds the arch; Noah, Lily’s reporter father, who writes more stories about how strange creatures are appearing around the town they live in; and Annie, an unexpected house guest for Lily and her family, who has ties to her two brothers.
I didn’t realize that I was writing an ensemble story until I noticed how much Star Trek: Deep Space Nine I was watching after my writing sessions. That show also has a large ensemble cast (the emissary storyline with Sisko dropped quickly after season 1), is also about a portal (which runs on technobabble and angelic aliens), and includes characters of varying species, ethnicities and sexualities.
Once I saw the connections, my story began to morph. I started writing far more POVs than I intended. For comparison, my novel Those Who Favor Fire uses only 6 POVs, and one takes up 50% of the book. I’ve used at least that many so far into The Coral Gate, and I’m over a third of the way done with it. One chapter is nothing but reactions from every character present at a significant magical event; the next, which I’m currently writing, is a segmented story told by four different characters, constructing a flashback to a pivotal moment from a few years before the events in the book.
There’s a good chance I’ll cut some or all of that in revision. But it’s important to help me establish who these people are, because I know now that they’re all going to be important in the climax.
The way things are going, I’ll probably be writing that climax after New Year’s. After I hit 50K, I’ll take a few days to re-evaluate some of my narrative choices, then regroup and chug along at 1K per day until I’m done. I could get to 50K this weekend if I wanted; I have all day Friday off, as well as Saturday and Sunday. I probably won’t, but it’s an interesting thought.
So, some news. I’ve decided to move to a part-time position at my current job. I’ll be starting my new schedule on January 1st. I’ve given the notion a lot of thought this year; I had planned on waiting to see if I could land a book contract first, but after realizing that my time was far more precious than I realized, I decided to jump the gun a bit. I’ll be working roughly half the hours I do now for a little over half the pay. I’ll survive on a spartan budget indefinitely, and in return I’ll get more time to write, revise, critique, and read. I really miss reading. My plodding pace getting through a collection of stories by Damon Knight is driving me insane, but I don’t have any further time to devote to that this month. (Except if I stop watching as much Deep Space Nine, perhaps.) Regardless, my budding writing career is becoming much more important, and I need the time to devote to it.
Now, about getting that first sale. . .