I’m feeling accomplished. Even though it was the holiday week, I was able to edit chapters seventeen and eighteen, “The Sun Felt Wonderful” and “Rescue.” While they were mostly edits of existing writing—to bring them up to my current standards—I also connected chapter seventeen to the additions in chapter sixteen, added more battle details and included a new scene with the new bad guys I introduced earlier in this draft of the book.
The most challenging thing right now is keeping track of the new parts of the story arcs and making sure the original story still makes sense. I’ve also been trying to keep the moon in phase, so parts of this battle needed modification to be consistent with that. I’m still not certain it’s all lined up with the next chapter, but I’ll go back to that as I continue with the story.
I was recently out with my friend, Katie, whose work is building corporate teams. She had some good advice for me. A tragedy happens during these two chapters. Katie told me, “this is where people’s values come shining through and cause conflict. We should learn something different about everyone by how they respond to this tragedy.”
I’ve really taken this to heart. In the original draft, there was a little bit of grief, but then everyone continued as normal (which was already a little too congenial—I’ve been working on that, in general). In chapter seventeen, I expanded a scene to have Gillan lash out at Coltan. In the next chapter, I’ll be showing more of the reaction of the group. I’m happy with this change and excited to figure it all out in chapter eighteen, starting today.
One of my favorite additions was adding a description of the field tent Criften goes into to talk to Lord Trandar. Not only did I describe the material the tent was made of—and how large is was—and the field desk Trandar was sitting at, I added an odor. Mold. Of course, the tent would be moldy. It’s canvas, after all, and people wouldn’t have had good cleansers to kill the mold. This very likely came out of a leak in my basement that I discovered last week. A bunch of stuff got moldy, and it was definitely on my mind. I like applying things that happen to me, to my writing. I think it makes it more believable to me, and, hopefully, to my readers as well.
The next chapter needs a new title, but that won’t be its most challenging part—I knew I would be writing quite a lot of new scenes before Katie helped me discover the opportunity to delve into my characters’ grief and how they handle it as a team. I was planning to be finished with Part 3 by the end of the year. It’s going to be tight. I still have lots of social and work obligations between now and New Year’s Eve. I’ll give it my best shot.
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