Twenty-Four of Thirty

So if I’m going to do this 3k per day thing, I’m clearly going to need to put more effort into it. I’ve gotten to 36,451 out of 40,000. I’m still putting today’s goal at 40,000, as I’m only a few hundred words behind on my 3k per day goal. I am facing a consistent problem: I tend to like things just fine once I’ve gotten my characters out of their mundane origin world and into the fantastic fairy world. I even like that they’re from a mundane origin world, since exploring and experimenting with the fantastic other world is part of what I’m writing and I like that. Unfortunately, my first arc was written with the assumption that bouncing back and forth between fairy land and the mundane world would be frequent, and thus I put no effort into positioning my characters to be pushed into fairy land and then stay there for a long period of time. Rather the opposite, I gave them mundane attachments to compel them to keep coming back.

The problem here is, I do not really care about the mundane world at all. There’s nothing to recommend it over fairy land. The story would be better if all my characters were dumped in fairy land and stayed there. I could spend more time exploring fairy land rather than being constantly nailed to the area immediately around the gateway. In all three arcs so far the characters’ initial goal is to find the same house, but each one is walking that path for the first time. It’s weird to gloss over it completely, but it’s also really dull to write three different very similar reactions to crossing over. Structurally, each arc was plotted out independent of the others and it shows.

The different characters have almost fully distinct adventures and rarely encounter one another, which means I cannot contrast someone’s second visit to fairy land with the new viewpoint character’s first. The cast of the complete story is growing, but the cast of individual arcs is going in circles. The first arc had six characters with major speaking roles: The protagonist, her friend, the guy who gets her into fairy land for his own purposes, the guy who obliges to her help that last guy out, her hobgoblin guide in fairy land, and the primary villain. Almost every scene had the protagonist interacting with one of these people. So far, so good. The second arc was from the viewpoint of the first protagonist’s friend and introduced a third friend, but then the new protagonist spent her time in fairy land completely alone with an entirely new fairy land guide, an alfar unrelated to the hobgoblin. Well and good that she has her own fairy friend, but the lack of interaction between herself and the original protagonist, the alfar and the hobgoblin, the alfar and the original protagonist, etc. etc. means that we’re still just watching one character walk around and interact with other people one by one. We get to see the new protagonist interact with the same villain as the old one did, and there’s even a nice contrast between how they handle the situation and how the villain reacts to them, but again, there is no interaction between the two protagonists to help sell this.

I knew about this problem in the second arc, but because I wasn’t thinking ahead when I wrapped it up, I left the second protagonist in the middle of fairy land and badly wounded. Consequences are great, but this means she isn’t going anywhere for days, and that’s if I give decide to give her super rapid healing on account of the fairy bandages she’s wrapped up her wounds with. In the meantime, my new third protagonist has to have her adventures completely alone again. We’ve been around fairy land. We know what it’s like. “Hey, look at fairy land” could sustain the first arc (barely, since there was hardly enough interesting detail there to go on), but it can’t sustain three when I’m constantly peeking into the same tiny section of it. It’s a forest with one house in it and juuuuust enough new wildlife to keep me from going mad with boredom.

Ultimately, I think the problem here is that it is well and truly November. It’s not just that I’m writing in November anymore, it’s that the outline I’m working from came from the thick of November, and the characters came from November. I’ve run out of scraps of better stories to recycle and am now running on fumes. My newest protagonist is a selfish jerk with few redeeming qualities (though I would be terribly unsurprised if she wound up being the favorite of the three if I end up posting these stories somewhere, just because her one talent is making excuses why things aren’t her fault and people are depressingly vulnerable to that), she’s going to meet some pretty uninspiring new monsters, and ultimately the only thing about the whole outline is that 1) it’s going to put protagonists 1 and 2 in a tight spot by the end and 2) it’s all I’ve got, and only complete stories count for NaNoWriMo, so if I don’t bring this arc to a close, I have to delete the whole thing. Current goal: Wrap this up fast and go back to writing with the targeting computer off, because clearly the Empire is jamming my systems. I might not have the slightest idea where that one scene was going, but it was easier to write.

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