George R. R. Martin’s struggles with his latest book have been well documented on his blog and by fans who are eagerly awaiting A Dance of Dragons to be finished.
George comments in his Not A Blog post today that he’s discovered a new POV character, and also reminds himself to take things “One page at a time. One sentence at a time. One word at a time.”
I know what he means. When you have a plan for a book ready you might find it easy to think that the words will just flow, but when you start scratching under the surface all sorts of things come out. I have had a similar experience writing the beginning of Hell has its Demons. For instance while working out some of the details of the demonic possessions that happen in the town of St. Brett’s I realized that my main villain, Edmund, actually had some allies, allies that he didn’t want, but that have come into being by his actions. This had further implications for other characters in the book as well and meant Isabel, who is sort of the leading lady of the town, would find herself excluded from the Company of Good Women that she had established to give women a voice and a sense of solidarity. Instead the group has become a coven of witches, possessed by the demons that Edmund has caused to be unleashed on the small market town of St. Brett’s.
It’s very easy to end up back at the drawing board in these cases, but the positive thing is that these extra ideas should make for a richer story. However, while working these bits out the actual narrative writing can slow, and you have to ignore the fact that it has taken over a week to write a first draft of a fairly brief chapter.
One page, one sentence, one word at a time, just keep them coming letter by letter every day.
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