It has been a productive week on the manuscript-work-in-progress front. I have managed to put pen to paper on most days with 2100 words down – not as many words as I would have like but anything is better than nothing. In Steampunk Novel Work in progress, I admitted that I had not started at the first chapter but at the second (?) chapter when our intrepid heroes arrive in a new land, courtesy of a state-of-the-art dirigible.
Here I paused. This is one problem with what I call the ‘vomit‘ of writing. Write it all down for a first draft. Fix it later. I know where my characters are going, just not always exactly how they will get there. It is akin to a stream of consciousness – but to a vague planned outline. Some writers prefer a detailed plot, detailing everything chapter by chapter. I have tried detailed plotting . I failed. That is not to say that I don’t plan things out. I just can’t fill in all the blanks at the early stage. (This also means more work later with editing. It is the way my brain works.)
My ideas start with a premise – what if? (This usually involves an alternate history) Then the background story arc reveals itself – the big picture. Next comes the characters – for now I have a Victorian woman, with a mysterious background (don’t they all?) and an ace up her sleeve, and a Professor who is part of a secret society and his own agenda. Queen Victoria plays her part, engineering several plot points. I had vague ideas of motivation and backgrounds but it was all still a little airy-fairy as to how it would all come together.
That is where bouncing ideas off others is a very useful tool. Perfect timing – a meeting of my speculative fiction writers’ group – Spec Fic Chic. I discussed the basics of my plot and character ideas so far. After a few hours of constructive conversation, I had solidified the motivations for many of the characters, sorted out a few loose ends and cemented some facts that will effect the story. Such are the wonders and usefulness of a writers group.
Armed with renewed confidence and purpose, I sat down to write this morning. I had an idea burning in my brain. It needed to get out! So I changed gears, went further forward in the story timeline. 1400 words later, the main characters have now completed their audience with Her Majesty and some character history has been revealed.
Total so far: 3500 words and a working title (spoilers!). Lots of ideas and a lot of enthusiasm. Now I just have to keep up the momentum.
More on a Steampunk Manuscript .