This week was a good one. I finished another chapter. In chapter 23, “Good Food and Kitchens,” I added quite a lot of relationship details. I like it when my characters share their feeling and emotions with each other. I hope it all comes through in my writing.
Criften continues to share his emotions, especially his fears and insecurities, with Maglin. More of his magical abilities are exposed, like when he overhears a conversation between one of the dark wizards and a spy at the castle. What he learns guides some of his subsequent behaviors, but has him questioning his own motivations. At the same time, we learn more about Baldru and his relationship to Rahl. I added a whole new scene for that conversation.
Large parts of the chapter were salvaged from my first draft, although I think all of them were expanded or had new interactions added to them. Late in the chapter, I added a second new scene between Criften and Maglin where she gives a report on Gentu, and Criften relays a message from Coltan.
Since I started exposing these conversations, it has added an unexpected richness to the story beyond giving Criften a vehicle to express his deep self. It has been fun to see Maglin’s character become fully fleshed, especially since she has a physical presence in the story now, so the reader knows what she looks like and some of her behaviors.
We get to know Eido a little bit through Criften’s conversations with him, but he doesn’t manifest physically until later in the series—he lives in far away Soldur-gan. It’s going to take more than an attempt to retrieve Tishta to necessitate him making the journey. Besides, Criften has successfully found and recovered it in the past with a smaller crew than he has at his disposal in this book.
This chapter sheds light on Brant’s past and he’s not very pleased about sharing it. In the aftermath, though, his relationship to Malcan solidifies.
As I have worked my way through this chapter, I found myself reading forward into the next chapter—and even revamping one of its scenes before I remembered I was only visiting—to make sure my timelines stayed reasonable, and also to keep the storylines consistent with what is supposed to happen next. I also spent a fair amount of time reworking the previous chapter to get everything to line up better with this current one. I am positive this type of back-and-forth editing between the chapters in this part will continue until my travelers get back on the road.
I still find my audio recordings of each scene to be an invaluable resource for catching odd phrasing, repeated words and things that are out of place or time. I also really enjoy listening to my story, which I think is a good thing. I read blogs by other authors who complain about having to read their scenes over and over, to the point where they hate them. I wonder I would also feel this way if my only means of editing was by reading—or, conversely, if these other writers would find the same joy that I do in hearing their stories read to them out loud.
I listen to my recordings constantly—in the car, at the store, when I’m walking and even on the bus, if I’m not able to write. Once I identify something that I don’t like, it catches in my ear every time I hear it, until I fix the text and make a new recording. It takes a lot of time, but I don’t watch TV, and I rarely read anything outside of technical journals—even though the writing community encourages me to read more in my genre—or news articles.
I’m pretty confident I will be writing in this space again by the end of this week. I’m in the groove again. It feels good.
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