Fiction Writing

Back on the wagon

Words written/total: 737/3544

I have managed to get back into writing after my vacation, despite both post-trip fatigue and the looming of yet another story idea that I came up with while down at Pennsic. That one I’ll outline later, but for now the focus is on what I’m currently working on.

There are two problems I’m noticing in writing this first part of the rewrite. First is the issue of author versus reader knowledge. Now that I’ve been working on this story, I need to remember that this slate is completely blank, and as such the readers don’t know anything unless I write it. Ultimately this won’t be entirely resolved until an editing pass, but it’s a little annoying while writing exposition.

The second issue is also tied to exposition, and it’s the difference between exposition and infodump. I’m introducing the characters early, at this point there have been four characters introduced over about the first 5% of the book or so. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean I need to take care to differentiate the characters and make it clear what’s going on. At the same time, stopping and just spitting out a bunch of information tends to be, for lack of a better term, bad writing. Some writers can get away with it (some, like Neal Stephenson, are even good at it), but generally it should be avoided. In a story like this one which doesn’t take place in a fantastic setting of any sort, it’s also highly unnecessary, and can be replaced with more nuanced description. Showing and not telling, as it were.

This bit introducing Melissa will likely need some attention later, even without seeing the word count it feels a little thin. That said, until I write more of her future appearances, I’m not entirely sure what else I’m going to need to add. Even the next scene where she shows up, one or two scenes after the one I just wrote, may provide more anchoring context.

Over the next few days I’m going to hopefully push out some more word count, though I’ll have to see how my schedule works with that goal. Once I’m back at the office, though, I’ll probably be much closer to a productive mindset.

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