Distractions aside, it's been a while since I've been able to sit down and churn out 10,000 words in one day, which I did quite often while writing my previous books. No, it's not because I've lost my muse or am suffering from writer's block or anything like that. The story is pretty well outlined in my head, and I know how it ends and what has to happen to get there. But for some reason, I keep finding myself stuck on little plot points that prevent me from proceeding until I can work them out. Like, one character is going to convince another character to do something, but I haven't figured out a plausible reason why the second character would be convinced to do this thing. Or Event A happens before Event B, and I'd really like Event B to happen before Event C, except it doesn't make sense for Event C not to happen right after Event A (before Event B).
I know I'll work it all out eventually – I did have the same problems with my previous books, though perhaps not quite as often – and that's one reason why I generally write the whole thing, rather than posting a chapter at a time, because I know there are some vague/sketchy parts scattered throughout the story right now, which I will go back and fix once a light bulb goes off in my head and I realize, “Aha! That's how Character A will convince Character B to do this Really Stupid Thing.” And then I'll need to go back and lay the groundwork for that, just like once I know something important is going to happen in Chapter 15, I can go back and add some foreshadowing in Chapters 5 and 9, etc.
But I admit, I'm also letting the imaginary critics in my head get to me more. I knew after AQATTC, I had a small following waiting for the sequel, but now I have more people waiting for AQATDR, and I've had a lot more feedback on both books. The general consensus seems to be that Book Two was better than Book One. (I'd tend to agree.) Every series has a high point and a nadir, though. The perfect series is one in which every book is better than the last, but few writers achieve that. (Rowling certainly didn't. :/) I generally have a pretty thick skin (I've been flamed on DLP, remember? ;)), but I hate the idea of Book Three being a let-down. I actually feel sorry for Rowling, now, despite the fact that I have gleefully participated in the dissection of Deathly Hallows.
(Honestly, I didn't hate DH – overall, I still consider it an entertaining read, and there were some parts that I really liked – but there were an awful lot of crap plot devices and character abuses that really annoyed me.)
A Tangential Rant: If I Were Rowling, My Lawyers Would Be Fearsome Hellbeasts Who Feed On the Flesh of Fanfic Authors
You know what also makes me sympathize with Rowling? Someone telling me that they were kind of hoping Alexandra and Maximilian would “hook up.” Yes, even after finding out that they were brother and sister. :P C'mon, that's just wrong.
Okay, seriously (and fan who wrote that, I am not picking on you, so read this rant as being mostly tongue in cheek – I wasn't actually offended by your comment), I'm not particularly judgmental. I'm one of those “consenting adults can do whatever and it's not my business (but I don't necessarily want to hear about it)” sorts. But, you know, I hate violating characters just because you think they're hot and want to imagine them screwing each other. Incest, even adult incest, usually results from some seriously dysfunctional family dynamics. It's not “hot” or “romantic.”
If I were a published author and AQ had a huge fandom, I know sooner or later I'd discover someone writing Alexandra, Julia, and Max having a threesome, and I'd be seized with an irrational desire to sic my lawyers on the hapless 14-year-old who thought that was a good idea.
I wouldn't actually do it – but I'd want to.
AQATDR Progress Report
Well, I am having that multiplying-chapters problem again, where I start writing thinking that Three Important Events will happen in this chapter, and it ends up being two or three chapters instead.
I'm at 76,000 words which... I don't know, I'm not great at estimating these things. I think I'm about 30% to 40% through the story. Right now, my feeling is that AQATDR will be longer than AQATTC, but not quite as long as AQATLB. But we'll see how much padding inserts itself before I'm done. I am still aiming to finish by the end of the year, but really, don't hold me to that. I will feel a little guilty if I make you all wait longer than you were expecting, but I don't want to push myself to finish by some arbitrary deadline at the expense of being happy with the final draft.
I am thinking it would be nice to have someone to run the rough-rough draft by, though. I do have a beta, but I'm waiting until I'm closer to the end until I start having it officially betaed, because there are too many plot points that are still rough enough that I know large parts of earlier chapters will probably be significantly revised before I'm done.
The three things I am concerned about are:
1. My usual concerns about plot holes. AQATDR has even more intricate machinations going on than in AQATLB, with a lot of characters who are up to something that won't be revealed until the end (or, in some cases, until another book). And a lot of it involves...umm, magic. And stuff. There is a lot of potential for gaping plot holes, here. So I want to make it airtight.
2. Adolescence. There's a lot of it in this book. It's not the most important part, but I just can't write about teenage characters without them acting like teenagers. And I know some people like teen melodrama and romance and such, and others just want to get to the magic and the American wizarding politics and whatever Abraham Thorn is up to. Well, I like writing about kids being kids, and frankly, that provides most of the much-needed comedy relief in this book. But I don't want to totally bore those whose eyes roll back in their heads at the adolescent drama. I'll have to get my beta's opinion on whether there is too much or not.
3. And related to point 2: Alexandra is kind of bitchy. Look, she's thirteen, and she's still dealing with what happened in Book Two. (And the fact that she's not dealing with it very well will be a major factor in Book Three.) So, I'll be honest, people who thought Alexandra was kind of bitchy and annoying in the first two books are not going to change their minds after reading this one. Now, of course she will (I hope) redeem herself, and she's not unrelentingly bitchy and unpleasant. (At least I hope she isn't.) But I'll be asking my beta to particularly let me know if Alexandra comes across as too emo, too unsympathetic, or just generally unlikeable.
Okay, feel free to comment, criticize, or just feed my ego. I'm a dork: I like reviews, and I like comments on my LJ posts, too.
Now, back to
ETA: Holy crap, LJ sucks! I was smart enough to write this post outside my browser this time, but what a pain just to get all the tags and images and such to format correctly!