1. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Baeraad's progress journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Baeraad, Jul 29, 2019.

    Current story: Imperfect Path, intended to be a short story or novella with an estimated wordcount of maybe 20,000-30,000 words. Current wordcount, 3,535 words.

    I've set up my two protagonists and their first meeting, which means that I've written the beginning I've envisioned and now need to figure out how to get to the ending I've envisioned from it.

    Things that need to happen:

    • They need to have a variety of experiences together, from the adventerous to the relaxed but interesting, that contrast against the strictly regimented existence both of them normally have.
    • We need to learn more about the dreamwalkers/Secret Masters that my male lead belongs to. Possibly have a run-in with some of their other operatives, who won't appreciate the fact that he's playing hooky today.
    • The stormsingers that my female lead belongs to need to be hinted at at the very least, and possibly explored in more depth (is there any way to have her tell him about them without making it completely obvious that she's one of them?). At some point, there needs to be an encounter with guards trying to drag her back to her duties, with the protagonists escaping from them.
    • There needs to be an ongoing discussion of duties and how much freedom from them you can reasonably claim or allow yourself.
    • Possibly mention/hint at how the world is dying? It doesn't have much bearing on the story, but it's a fairly major part of the setting as a whole.

    Right now, they're talking to a street rat who's going to try to sell them a sob story about how her soul ended up pawned off to a sorcerer so that they'll steal it back from her. She's lying, and the situation is actually something entirely different. Need to figure out just what it is that's really going on. Possibly relate this to the duty/freedom discussion somehow?

    The sorcerer's tower might be a good place to show off some of the male lead's past, in the form of illusions meant to deter intruders or similar.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
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  2. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 6,637 words. Not bad, considered how distracted I've felt this week.

    My male lead is now breaking into the sorcerer's tower and is entangled in his defenses. The problem with that is, he has to do it alone, so this chapter has no interaction with the female lead, and they're both really at their best when they're bouncing off each other. And the visions he's moving through are from his childhood in a part of the setting that I haven't developed in the same way (and it doesn't fit too well with parts I have developed. That's not a problem in itself, because my setting should be extensive enough to contain more than one set of tropes, but it still means that I can't just organically build on what already exists). I might need to rewrite this chapter a couple of times before I'm pleased with it.

    I also need to figure out how much of each character's "special" backstory I want to lay out. Both of them are technically exceptional in ways that go beyond being "just" members of special groups, but that has no bearing on this story and is more meant as sequel fodder. Not sure how to hint at it without taking the attention off of the parts that are actually relevant here and now.

    I know what the street rat is hiding. Her "soul" is actually a talisman that can only be used by someone who has betrayed their family, and she sold her sister into slavery to avoid being stuck as her caregiver. That will work as a nice shock later on, once the protagonist has gotten comfortable with the idea of freedom and will need to see its furthest extremes. Maybe at some point it would also be interesting to have the opposite, a character representing absolute devotion to duty in an off-putting way?
     
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  3. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Blaaaarrggghh, this chapter is kicking my ass. Maybe if I flesh out the location a bit.

    Okay, Evervigil Monastery. Located approximately a million miles from anywhere important, with a few farming villages around it that provide for it in return for protection. It's a minor stone fortress in the middle of a forest, overgrown with vines and with parts of it having collapsed (the Secret Masters have seen better days too!). Probably novices sometimes sneak off to explore the ruined parts, or get sent there on fabricated errands that are really meant to teach them some highly profound lesson. Everything about the nature around it is sparse, with thin gnarled trees and cold, clear streams.

    The interior is likely to be unadorned, except with statues of past Grand Masters. Novices sleep on the floor and have blankets only during the cold season. They take their classes standing, and if they need to write, they do so kneeling. Novices wear simple white trousers and vests. Masters wear flowing white robes (split ones, that don't get in the way of high kicks), sometimes with hoods. The order is all-male, though it wasn't always, so some of those statues are of women. Novices spend their time training or doing chores, and are beaten if they fail at either one. Masters spend their time training, meditating in private shrines and gardens, or having long meetings where they discuss the latest news and decide who will be sent out and on what mission.

    There is something in the basement. Do not ask about the thing in the basement.



    Possible moments to turn up in the dream world:

    * Being punished for undue familiarity with some villager. (hinting at undue egalitarianism)
    * Being taught just what length the Secret Masters must go to to (supposedly) protect and guide the world. (providing the rationale for the order's actions, and showing that the protagonist still isn't entirely comfortable with them)
    * Being brought to see the thing in the basement. (probably best to keep this very brief - it won't be important until the sequel)
    * Being made to suffer pain while having to keep entirely silent and still, because a novice may not act until a master tells him to. (hinting at just why the protagonist has so little initiative and drive)
     
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  4. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 7,782 words. Very disappointing progress this week. The chapter just didn't work for me at all. Need to decide whether I should spend next week rewrite it from scratch or leave as it is and push on.

    Next chapter might be about going to see some weird person (a fallen angel?) about just what this bauble is. Then have some stormsinger guards show up and try to capture the heroine. Let's see if I write that next.
     
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  5. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 8,784 words. Another bad week. This depression is really kicking my ass. On the bright side, I did a lot of rewriting of chapters three, four and six, so I feel like they're more presentable than they were. Chapter five remains a mess, though.

    Still have the fallen angel bit coming up. I might put in a cameo from another character that I've been writing about in the same setting, too.
     
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  6. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

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    Can you use your depression as your material in a "go where the pain is, go where the relief is" way?

    Structuring things and things behind things is often very useful. I use it all the time. It helps me keeping momentum, getting good and new material and handling stress.
     
  7. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    This story is already to some extent about what I'm going through. But some days it just hurts too much for me to form words.
     
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  8. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 8,990 + 861 words. I haven't gotten much further on the story, but I've started rewriting chapter five. That's something, at least.
     
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  9. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 9,879 words. I replaced chapter five, and got chapter six properly rolling. Not a huge leap in wordcount, but still a good step in the right direction.

    My protagonists are talking to a sort of jaded paladin type. I need to figure out just where she stands in regards to Secret Masters and such (she probably knows something about them, but I don't know how much. Either way, she's probably not a fan).

    I should probably submit chapter three for review already. It's just that it kind of sucks. Which means that I definitely need someone to take a look at it for me - but at the same time, it means that this is probably going to hurt. :p
     
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  10. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 12,335 words. Finally a good week. :) I managed to introduce my cynical paladin and fallen angel, and to develop my two protagonists a bit more. Now I need to figure out how they're going to escape a dozen Storm Guards sent to bring her back to where she belongs.

    No reviews of my third chapter. Was it actually so bad that no one could stand to read it? :p Okay, so a more probable theory is that no one wants to start at part three and no one wants to read two other, longer parts just to be able to review a relatively short part. I guess I'm on my own from here on out.
     
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  11. Saphry

    Saphry Member

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    Well done on the progress. You’re not alone. I do enjoy your story. I’ve been waiting for chapter three but got caught up with work so didn't have time to read through the forum. I’m learning to write so my feedback may not be of much help, but please keep writing!
     
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  12. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Aww. Thank you. :) I certainly plan on finishing the story - I think I might be slightly short of halfway through by now - though it might not be worth using up my workshop points if fewer and fewer people are going to be commenting. I'd be happy to send you the chapters privately, though?
     
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  13. Saphry

    Saphry Member

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    Sure! I'll pm you :)
     
  14. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 13,519 words. Not great, but it could be worse.

    My protagonists are fleeing from the Storm Guard (who I've decided not to name just yet, since it makes it too obvious just what Elora is). After that I think there'll be a quiet moment when they will discuss the nature of adventure and decide whether they want to continue on their current path. They will, of course, since otherwise the story would end here, but it needs to be clear that they're making a choice.
     
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  15. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 15,207. I seem to have gotten into a pattern where I write a lot at the start of the week, and then that lulls me into a false sense of confidence and I don't get anything written later and miss my wordcount goal. :p But at least it's forward progress.

    I got my daring escape and my quiet moment, though both can probably need some revision later on. Now I am trying to come up with a Secret Master agent that my hero can get in touch with and con into helping him out. Some sort of sordidly corrupt noble would probably work the best...
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
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  16. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 16,288. Not a very good week, but since I started it feeling like I had no idea what to do, I'll cut myself some slack. At least I have some ideas for going forward now.

    The tricky part is to keep the stakes rising, since this is inherently a quiet story with low stakes. But still, I can't just repeat stuff. Every challenge has to be harder than the previous one of a similar nature. Every personal conversation has to be a little deeper. Every show of ability a little more impressive.

    I kind of have a blurry idea of how the climax is going to be now, though there's a lot of different things that will have to come together.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
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  17. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount for Imperfect Path: 17,426. I'm almost done with another chapter, but I'm not entirely happy with it. I might need to replace a part in the middle. Also, I'm yet again not sure how to proceed. I have a few scattered ideas for how to raise the tension, but I'm not sure how they'll pan out.

    I've also written a bit on a piece of fluff called, unimaginatively, The Price. 761 words on that one so far. It's about a bitchy Dark Evil Overlord having to deal with yet another stupid rebel army storming his Dark Evil Stronghold, and about midway through we'll find out just why he's so bitchy and possibly also why he's so Evil.
     
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  18. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    This week I can report no progress whatsoever. The problem is, writing only matters if humanity matters, and all signs point to it not mattering.

    Perhaps next week will be better.
     
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  19. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 18,570. Not a good week, but at least not a completely useless one. I got the last chapter presentable and got started on the next.

    I've got a somewhat tricky scene ahead where my protagonists is faced with a character who can, essentially, make any narrative sound super-convincing and she'll try to make them get back to doing what they're supposed to - essentially, she's going to be an avatar of the crushing weight of maturity and obligation. That's a little more subtle and sensitive than I feel up to managing at the moment, but we'll see how it goes.
     
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  20. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 19,672. Another not-good-but-not-dreadful week. I'm starting to think I might actually be able to finish this thing. :) Maybe even self-publish it, who knows? It's crap and all, but I've seen worse, and I could maybe fix the worst problems in editing.

    Now I'm in the middle of that confrontation that really needs to be a lot more epic than I feel up to writing, though. Oh well... I'll just have to do my best, and then resolve it all through a Heroic Effort Of Will. Those can be used to excuse a great many things. :p
     
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  21. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 21,801. Actually a good week for once. I got terminally bored one day and got a lot of writing done. :p

    I'm nearing the climax of the story... well, technically it will have three different ones in close succession, but either way, I'm getting to the first one. There's still some challenges ahead, but I can actually see the end from where I am now.
     
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  22. Baeraad

    Baeraad Active Member

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    Current wordcount: 24,779. Being home sick for a week caused it to be another good week, writing-wise.

    I'm in the middle of the first climax, which is the least interesting one from my perspective. That makes the writing lag a bit. I am halfway tempted to skip ahead and write out the other ones, though that sort of thing tends to be inefficient - things keep not turning out exactly as I expected, and then I have to rewrite the later parts to make them fit. Still, it might be worth starting to write from both ends now that the ends are so relatively close together.
     
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