Moving forward into the new project, I can record I've smashed through the 45,000 words barrier, although the pace slowed once school kicked into top gear this past week.
After initial concepts were drawn around how the story will run to a conclusion - I always map a conclusion before I begin a project: it creates a target and purpose - generating characters has proven interesting. I do have the antagonist/protagonist (depends on point of view in the story) taking solid shape. She is becoming increasingly complex, given the clashes between her responsibilities and desires and cultures and powers. Her goals and aspirations run against the goals and aspirations of a second character and cultural group, and that character is also taking shape. Of course, the big driving event of the story - one culture vying for domination over another - brings into play a trope of most stories in many genres, although I'm hoping the reasons for the struggle and how they change as the conflict unfolds will bring some fresh aspects to that 'big picture' view.
Additional cultural clashes are already planned to occur beneath the big picture - one the legacy of previous novels I've written and one that resonates today around gender.
Below the two primary characters are four secondary characters whose lives are both driven by personal 'quests' and whose lives are also caught up in the bigger battle by circumstance.
And so my writing project dilemma - how to begin the individual stories and draw them together.
I began with alternating chapters, but I've abandoned that as I did the very first time I started a fantasy series, in favour of running between 4-6 chapters focussed on what a particular character is doing. The upside is the reader has time to get into the character's story. The downside is with multiple characters the reader may be forced to wait multiple chapters between one character's story and returning to it. I know readers will persevere because it isa common approach in many novels, so I will continue in this vein for book one in the series. The plot is such that by early book two the plan is to bring several characters together - the old quest-line-for-a-common-cause trope of course - so the dilemma becomes resolved as far as writing.
First draft means punching out the writing in pursuit of plot and characters so I'm not spending time adding details yet unless they 'present themselves' in the process, but I've reached the point where I'm beginning character notes to keep track of characters and their parts - major, moderate and minor - in events. For the record, already that's sixty-three characters who've made an appearance of some kind in the story.
Names are also an interesting dilemma. The dragons are being named using conventions I created back in the original Andrakis series - names non-human in every way really. Human cultural groups I'm swinging between 'made-up' names for less important groups, but the core human culture names are based on Slavic and Arabic names rather than Anglo origins. The purpose is to add a mix of familiarity/factual naming with a sense to the likely English-speaking readers of foreign names as well. I don't know how this will work. I'm experimenting for now.
I'm also going to devote some time in the next fortnight to mapping places in the story - it's a nice therapeutic task, but it helps me create travel distances and visible landmarks and features for the background and character experiences.
Okay. Saturday afternoon is here and it's my only writing space this weekend. Hope your weekend is relaxing and productive too!