WIP Update

My WIP writing goal for this year:  Finish first draft and begin working on revision by the end of the year.  Simple, huh?  Yeah, right!

Over this past year, I’ve found that where writing is concerned, baby steps are the way to go.  I’m not – NOT – a patient person, but in learning something new, I absolutely have to slow down to understand it all.  So, writing this novel (my first) is a very slow, sometimes painful, sometimes amazing, journey.  And a hell of a learning experience.  Not only am I learning the writing process itself, but I’m learning about me – what I’m capable of, what motivates me, what I care about most in my life.  Who knew?

Well, on with my update:

Working from my plot cards, I now have six scenes completed.  I know there are still problems with each one, but this is first draft.  I’m satisfied with what I have now and the story is moving forward. 

The main plot, focusing on my protagonist Kara, has taken her from slavery and thrown her into a privileged, secretive, and sacred world of the temple.  She’s just feeling her way along, but already has made an enemy by standing up for a slave.

The secondary plot line, which I originally planned to revolve around my snake-in-the-grass antagonist, Niruldi, has shifted to focus on Enkashamu for the moment.  Enka is the head of the city militia and is unexpectedly helped by Niruldi for reasons that seem too simple to Enka.

My setting and culture are turning out to be what fascinate me, but are quite difficult to create – well, more like extrapolate.  I’m using the Mesopotamian culture as a model.  However with four thousand years of history and huge changes during that time, I’m taking bits and pieces and shaping them to work with my plot and characters.  It’s endlessly fascinating, as I love history.  Yet frustrating, too, because records are scarce (this is the beginning of recorded history) and trying to make logical choices to fill in the gaps is scary.  This is a work of fiction, yet I want the setting and culture to feel real.  I’m trying to remember to create only what I need and not get sucked into the black hole of research.

That said, I do need to focus on a couple things for upcoming scenes:

1. Create a daily schedule for the temple apprentices.  What duties do they have?  What problems can I cause for Kara?

2. Research ancient city militia and armies.  What are the hierarchies and duties?

Once I started writing the scenes, they seemed to get easier, quicker to write.  But I leave blanks for details and then it takes time to go back and decide how to fill those.  I can’t wait till I get to the point where my culture is concrete enough that I don’t need to keep going back.  

Baby steps.

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5 comments on “WIP Update

  1. LisaM says:

    Thinking in terms of baby steps is a great idea – one thing after the other; building one on on top of another.

    The only thing I would say, and I know this from experience, is that research can cause you to lose track of the story you wanted to tell as you come across an intriguing bit of info and wonder how you can fit it into the story.

    Do you have a firm idea of the story you wanted to tell? If you do, you can try working backwards. e.g. “In order for this scene to take place, I need certain cultural structures in place, including x,y, and z. So I’ll research only these three things and only in enough detail to write the scene.”

    It sounds like a really interesting novel – I don’t think I’ve ever read one set in a pseudo-Mesopotamian world.

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  2. LisaM says:

    You’re not going to believe this, but in doing some research for my own novel (I’m in the revision stage right now), I came across a reference to Mesopotamia!

    Here is the link:
    http://www.learner.org/resources/series58.html (Unit 3)
    This is a “video instructional series” from Annenberg Media and the video is free to view on line.

    Thought you might be interested in it. 🙂

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  3. ekcarmel says:

    Hi Lisa – thanks for stopping by!

    Way back when I started HtTS, I had already done a fair amount of research, but restrained myself after absorbing what Holly had to say on the subject. I like to think I’m getting smarter about it. So, yes, at this point I’m reverse engineering scenes, just researching what I need. I do admit to going overboard sometimes, but mostly I do it for the love of history. I don’t feel the need to hit my readers over the head with all the facts – though if I do, I’ll catch it in revision.

    Thanks a million for the link to the video series! Honestly, I love PBS and the History Channel and all those other channels that make history a living, breathing entity.

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  4. Leah says:

    Eileen,

    I just wanted to stop by and thank you for your comments on my blog; I love a good discussion.

    Also, I’m sending you the get-well-soon vibes to help you beat that cold 🙂 Take care!

    Like

  5. ekcarmel says:

    Thanks for those get-well-soon vibes, Leah. I’m finally feeling better. I HATE when I get sick. Unfortunately, I have so much stuff to catch up on. Hopefully, I’ll get back to reading blogs soon. Right now, I’m chasing some ideas I came up with for my WIP while I was sneezing, blowing my nose, and generally feeling miserable. (In between watching the Lord of the Rings movies to try and cheer myself up.)

    Thanks.

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