FireHeart Progress Journal

Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by BlitzGirl, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    This is actually what I did my book's first draft. I had a place where I put in a big reveal. I was happy with it,but later on in the draft I had a place where the reveal seemed to work, so I wrote that too. Instead of rewriting the 1st draft I kept both, and then decided which to keep in the development draft.
     
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  2. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Deep down, I know that the story would probably be better without the vision included...but I liked how I wrote it, so it's a struggle!
     
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  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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  4. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Oh I don't doubt it (and that's okay!). However, a lot of the character deaths (there actually aren't many named characters who Kaina knows personally who die in this story) - beyond affecting the protagonist on a personal and emotional level - are really to show that this is all very unprecedented in the story's world and history. The deliberate violence against the Priestesses is meant to shake the resolve of the faithful, and of course Kaina takes it personally. With Mistress Saifiri dying during the story's final act, it's one of those tropes where the parental figure is taken out of the story by force, prompting the protagonist to change the way they view themselves after clinging for so long to that relationship...and also showing that the antagonists are not above killing named characters close to the protagonist.

    Saifiri will die no matter what I do. My heart is set on it and I have my own rationalizations for including it (as described above). The only thing I am going back and forth on is whether or not to keep in the vision (which, as explained in previous posts, is not just some silly cliche - Kaina's role as Speaker means she has visions of possible futures. And there were Speakers before her time, and they all had visions as well, so this is an actual in-world phenomenon, not something coming out of nowhere).
     
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  5. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    I feel for you. When I decided to scrap the first two books and do a complete rewrite there were parts that just wouldn't carry over to the 'new' version. Then, I lost or changed material in the story draft to fit it into the new plot structure. But, I'm glad to say that all the trimming allowed room for new ideas and additions to grow. The developmental draft revealed opportunities to flesh out the characters and story that has be excited about the 3rd draft.
     
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  6. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Definitely happy for you! I haven't gotten to that point yet, myself, as I am still writing the second draft (which is me taking the 1st handwritten draft, typing it into Word, while simultaneously making additions, edits, and cuts). Even so, there have been some pretty significant changes between the rough draft and the typed draft, even though the story isn't finished in either version. Not huge plot points, but smaller details that nonetheless made big impacts. It's a bit hard to explain.

    But back to my original conundrum...the more I think about it, the more likely I may just remove the vision from this part of the story. Still haven't decided if I will simply delete the references from the Word docs I already have, making adjustments to the writing as necessary, or if I will copy+paste the chapters into new Word docs and make the edits there.
     
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  7. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    I've gone ahead and returned aaaaaaaaaall the way to Chapter 1 and changed the way the story starts, as well as just making tiny grammar edits. The story still starts the same way, with a nine year old Kaina being woken by a nightmare, but I've decided to go back to the original way I started it, opening with the nightmare itself. Just was a small thing that I wanted to "fix" for a while.

    Now I'm going to go ahead and remove any references to Kaina's vision of Saifiri's death from the most recent chapters, since I've now made my mind up about that.
     
  8. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Out of curiosity, is the nightmare itself a vision? If it is, that's some really cool foreshadowing. I've always thought that the best foreshadowing is the stuff where the readers won't pick up on it the first time but will go through the book for the second time and see the foreshadowing and go, "Oohhhhh!"
     
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  9. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    It is "foreshadowing" in the sense that fire (which she has nightmares about as a child) becomes a reoccuring theme throughout both the story and her nightmares/visions as she gets older. On a more simple, innocent level, the dream of being surrounded by fire was caused by being very young when her family's first house burned to the ground, and she's been afraid of fire ever since. But it has a deeper meaning in the long run since she becomes a priestess in service to the Phoenix, the god of fire, the sun, immortality, etc in this world's culture...and she is discovered to be a "Speaker", someone who can communicate with the Phoenix, is immune to fire (the irony!), and can use fire powers.

    Whenever I do use visions/dreams/etc in stories, I always like to have multiple layers to them, even if it's not obvious. On the topic of Kaina's dreams, they start off super basic and vague as a child, then grow in clarity as she gets older, being both nightmares of some of the terrible things she experiences throughout the story and also being a warning of events yet to come. What happens when you have powers of clairvoyance but also dealing with PTSD...? Not fun things...
     
  10. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    I think I've finished typing Chapter 49 for now. I almost want to call this a FIRST draft because so much of the chapter is new content. I took the key points of the original chapter (the temple being told about a possible attack and deciding to make a plan to prepare, and Kaina contacting Erif, and then speaking privately to Saifiri, Aria, and Risa), but surrounded them by new scenes. The first new scene is what I mentioned earlier, where I wrote Kaina telling High Headmistress Korlaia and the High Mistresses about what occured at the palace and what might happen next. Then, I ended the chapter with Saifiri giving Kaina a letter that had arrived for her. It was sent from Sari, whom Kaina has not heard from since she was excommunicated. There had been a scene in the rough draft of the story a bit earlier where she gets a letter, but I felt it would be best to push that to later in the story. It helps to give Kaina some more courage, since Sari always made her feel braver back when they were together.

    This chapter, like all of the typed drafts, isn't "perfect", but I'm happy with what I've written for now and so I will call this one done and start the next chapter! At this rate, The story is going to be roughly 55-60 chapters long, with the final chapter being a denouement that takes place several years later. My breakdown, based on what's in the rough draft and what I have planned:

    Chapter 50: The preparations take place.
    Chapter 51: The attack and its aftermath.
    Chapter 52: Kaina setting off with a small number of companions to follow Erif across the desert.
    Chapter 53: Detailing their journey.
    Chapter 54: Reaching Eldnik Peak, having the final showdown with Belan, and Erif's death and rebirth at the mountain's peak (Kaina will also basically die, but the Phoenix's fire saves her). There is a possibility that Chapter 53 and 54 may be just one chapter, but that will depend on the pacing.
    Chapter 55: Skipping ahead to Kaina and the others being back in Emalfir. Here, the consequences of all that's happened will unfold, with Phoenix King Sarif resigning, Belan (whose life was spared) being imprisoned, etc. Queen Anaka will act as Ralos' leader until a new ruler is chosen, as she also decides she will not keep the throne (she believes Ralos needs an entirely new ruler to begin the process of healing the country). My thought for a long time has been that Kaina is chosen by the new Phoenix and even Anaka.
    Chapter 56?: This may be used to fit in the last elements of the current timeline, depending on how long Chapter 55 ends up being after I've detailed the events mentioned above. Otherwise, Chapter 55 will be very long! One big important thing I do want to happen is Kaina and Teran, well...sleeping together. I know it's not something that's always important to a story, but it would be a big deal for it to happen since Kaina, being a Priestess, isn't supposed to have such intimate relationships in the first place. But if she later becomes the Phoenix Queen, then she'd be resigning her role as a Priestess anyway, even though she's also still Speaker. Chapter 56 may also be when talk of this possible change of power is brought up by Queen Anaka and the new Phoenix.
    Chapter 57/Epilogue: Not sure if I'll call this a "Chapter" or the Epilogue (since there was never a Prologue), but this is when there will be time jump. Kaina is the Phoenix Queen and still struggles with nightmares from her PTSD. This epilogue will show what her new life is like, how she's chosen Bahrem to be the new Captain of the guard, and the Temple of Remmus has a permanent memorial to all who died in the attack. Not sure yet how many of Kaina's surviving friends will be shown or talked about, but I do really want this to be wrapping up the whole thing, giving the reader an idea of where everyone is and how Ralos has been transitioning and healing. It would wrap up the story but potentially leave things open if I ever wanted to write a sequel of sorts, even if it would just be short stories about specific events and character moments I've already been thinking about!
     
  11. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Started Chapter 50 in earnest today and got 2k words typed. The biggest difference so far from the rough draft is that I detail the scenes that were just brushed over, because in the rough draft I felt the original chapter was getting too long and I also wanted to get to the attack sooner. Here, I actually wrote out the speech that Bahrem gives the other eunuchs as they prepare, and I personally feel that it turned out inspiring. I love getting chances to let my side characters have their moment to shine, and grow as a person. I also wrote a bit more about the training some Priestesses volunteer for, instead of reducing it to a single paragraph. Popping in a conversation afterwards between Kaina and Aria.

    At this rate, I'm unsure if I'll be able to fit in enough content to get the chapter to my average length/word count, and I don't wish to pad it with trivial stuff. But I also want this to be its own chapter and have the attack be at the start of Chapter 51, instead of trying to cram the two things together.
     
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  12. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    I think Chapter 50 is now finished, rounding out at 5k words, though it almost feels incomplete to me in this current draft. I like the individual scenes and the order of events, but it needs more fine-tuning. I may just leave it how it is for now and move on to the next chapter.
     
  13. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Decided to look over Chapter 50 again and try to refine it. Ended up adding 400 more words while also cleaning up some sentences earlier in the chapter. I just wasn't happy with how the last 2-3 pages flowed, so I made the last two scenes link together better.

    NOW I'm going to focus on typing the next chapter. This is when the attack on the Temple of Remmus occurs. As I skim through the handwritten draft of this chapter, I realize I still am not 100% sure on how to have every moment and beat play out. I don't want certain parts to feel like "x character is in y location so that z event can occur". There has to be a logic to it all, especially logic as it pertains to certain characters (as in, a character can do something that on the outside seems very irrational, but they are doing what they believe is the right thing to do).

    Things that need to happen:
    • Kaina waits in the Hall of Fire, not only wanting to help out if she can, but to hopefully act as a distraction. Belan has promised not to kill her until Erif is dead/dying, so she will want to use that to her advantage and hope that her very presence will reduce some losses.
    • Unlike the rough draft, I will want Kaina and Belan to fight each other. Because he has made the promise not to kill her outright, it would be interesting to see Kaina being on the offensive with Belan acting entirely defensively, even though he has the strength and skill to easily win. I do plan on them having another one-on-one fight at the final climax of the story, at Eldnik Peak, but that will be a fight where both protagonist and antagonist are in some state of weakness, yet Belan will be willing to mortally wound Kaina then.
    • Saifiri has to die, or be in the process of dying, in Kaina's presence. I know that it would be easier to have her get mortally wounded off-screen and have Kaina be there for her passing in the aftermath, but it would feel more fitting for her to get hurt while this is all going on, while Kaina is watching.
    • Erif will break through the windows at the end to drive the attackers off, filling the hall with fire (and remember, Phoenix-fire has the ability to harm those who deserve it and sparing others, so a room full of fire may not necessarily result in the deaths of the good guys). In the rough draft, Kaina (somehow) loses consciousness, and when she wakes up she is told how Erif got restrained and wounded. But it may be better if Kaina witnesses this, or at least part of it, and then is dragged off to safety with Saifiri still in her arms by one of the Temple guards.
    In the handwritten draft, the attack and its aftermath were one single chapter, and I feel that that may remain the same. After all, the attack is entirely from Kaina's 1st-person PoV so there isn't a whole lot to describe about the attack itself, making this event not super long. Everything else that happens is later told to Kaina by characters who witnessed the other parts, and that's how the blanks get filled for the reader.
     
  14. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Well, I am typing up Chapter 51, using the rough draft as a rough guide to some key details and developments, but so far most of it is being written from scratch. And I will obviously need to abandon my idea of having Saifiri get hurt in front of Kaina. There just is no logical way it could happen. She's going to have to be mortally wounded off-screen. To get her where Kaina is, before Erif arrives, just wouldn't logically work, even though it would be more dramatic. Instead, Mistress Aisha (Kaina's combat teacher) and numerous unnamed men remain the only people she sees die/get hurt during the battle. But that's okay! I'm a big girl and can accept when ideas from the rough draft just don't work. :)
     
  15. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Alright, going to say that Chapter 51 is done for now. Just like the rough draft, it involves the attack and the immediate aftermath. Also started Chapter 52, where Kaina starts getting ready to leave so she can cross the Great Eastern Desert. There's a lot in this draft of these scenes that is basically being written from scratch since the rough draft in retrospect was a hodgepodge of rushed ideas. But, just like the rough draft, Kaina will be accompanied by Seshara, Bahrem, and Teran.
     
  16. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    There is a YouTuber I follow (or, shall I say, "BookTuber"!) who asked her subscribers what things they like and don't like about deaths in fiction, how deaths can be handled well or poorly. One thing that many people said that bugged them was when a character dies and then...the author or character(s) seem to "forget about it" a page later, acting as if nothing happened. I understand this argument if a death never gets referenced ever again after that one page has been passed - humans rarely forget about deaths of people who were close to them, after all.

    Now, the reason why I'm bringing this up is because "forgetting about a death", or at least acting like they aren't affected can be realistic. With what I've been writing lately in my story, Kaina just learned of the death of a friend, and watched Saifiri die, on top of trying to absorb all the rest of the deaths and injuries and physical destruction. In Kaina's case, it's too much to process at once. And time is not on her side - she has to leave ASAP to help Erif, no ifs, ands, or buts. For at least a little while, she has to put her duty ahead of her personal feelings. She can't process her grief just yet. Kaina barrelling forward in this manner is, I hope, clearly presented to the reader. Grief comes in phases, after all, but the phases can be in different orders and come slowly or quickly depending on the person. I do plan on Kaina allowing herself to properly cry for the first time after the attack sometime later. But, it's important to know that she has larger issues to deal with first. Anything personal has to be sidelined in order for her to succeed. It's not easy, that's for sure.

    Kaina has always been deeply affected by things in her life, and spent a good amount of time trying to run away from or ignore her problems and responsibilities. But this is an instance where she's finally grown to the point where she knows she has to act...which sadly does come with the price of not allowing herself to feel right away. Sure, the fate of the world is at stake, but she genuinely wants to focus on this important task instead of thinking "it's my duty so I don't have a choice". This change, going from "I'm doing what's expected of me" to "I've embraced who I am and need to do what's right" has been gradual. I know these two phrases I just listed can seem similar...but the key difference lies in personal responsibility and will. Her actions are no longer obligatory; they are deliberate.

    Anyway, I'm rambling and just went on a tangent! All I hope is that, in the writing itself, I've communicated clearly to the reader that there's a reason these deaths of people important to Kaina don't seem to hit as hard as a fiction reader might think. I'm constantly thinking about the Hunger Games books and films, because Collins really makes you understand Katniss' trauma, her coping mechanisms, and in general how PTSD can affect people - something that isn't done as powerfully in a lot of YA stories. There are major differences between Kaina and Katniss, of course, but ever since I finally read the novels a year or two ago, I can better appreciate when unconventional (not traditional) expressions of grief are presented in fiction...and most of the time, those feel way more real to me.

    Okay, rambling over! I need to get back to writing! :D
     
  17. Stormburn

    Stormburn Contributor Contributor

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    Another element about the portrayal of death is the killing of minions by the heroes in genre fiction. Wether its goblin raiders, criminal thugs or alien troopers, the heroes slaughter them with hardly a second thought.
     
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  18. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Yeah, even the deaths of "the enemy" can come off as inconsequential. In my story, sure, Kaina has her reasons to not feel pity for the bad guys if they die, but at least she acknowledges that the deaths happened.
     
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  19. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Got just about 1.5k words written in Chapter 52 today, which is almost done. I'm just about caught up to where I stopped writing in the rough draft.
     
  20. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Going to say that the typed draft of Chapter 52 is finished for now. Only one more chapter to go, and I will have typed up all of the story I had written by hand in my collection of notebooks! And that's okay. The typed draft is of course the superior version, so I don't mind continuing on in my Word docs once I finish the next chapter. Chapter 53 is about Kaina and her friends' first night and first full day in the desert, as they head east.

    As I think about it, it's possible that the desert is almost half as wide as the country of Ralos is. I say that because it will take them several days to cross on horseback, whereas when Kaina, Saifiri, and the others traveled from Sinati to Emalfir over the course of a week+, they were traveling as quickly as they could with as few stops as possible while in a carriage drawn by oxen - two very different speeds, even with minimal stops. Anyway, just a random thought. I've always thought about drawing a map of Ralos and the desert, but never got around to it.
     
  21. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    *Imagines a Lord of the Rings travel montage set to a trumpeting soundtrack.*
     
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  22. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    LotR (books and the film trilogy) are some of my favorites! Really is one of the many sources that inspired my love of big journeys in fiction. ;)
     
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  23. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Working slowly on Chapter 53, and I just made a small, cheeky reference to "Dune". I mean...if they are currently in the desert, there HAS to be a farfetched myth about giant sand worms, right??
     
  24. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Finished the typed draft of Chapter 53 and have now started Chapter 54. As of this very moment, I have now surpassed the point where I had stopped writing in my hand-written notebooks, so everything beyond this point is going off of only what I've already created in my head. At this rate, it looks like Chapter 54 will be when Kaina and her friends finally reach Mount Eldnik/Eldnik Peak. Don't know yet if the final confrontation and climax will occur in this chapter, but I will just have to keep writing to find out. I would like the moment Erif dies and is reborn as a new Phoenix to be the end of a chapter, or at least have His death be the end of a chapter and the rebirth being the start of another. That's the only specific plan I have in regards to chapter pacing. I don't think I should be afraid to let a chapter be as long or as short as it needs to. Interesting to note that the early chapters in the story were on the shorter end while chapters later on got longer and longer. Makes sense, though, since stuff has only gotten more stressful and complicated since those early days.

    So excited to push on!
     
  25. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

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    Fights are tough to write when it's obvious that the hero has less skills and is far weaker and smaller than the villain. Granted, this final confrontation between Kaina and Belan is NOT supposed to end in Kaina's favor, but it's a balancing act trying to write it so that Kaina holds out long enough. As of this moment, I'm at the point in the fight where both have lost their weapons, which means that Kaina is at a severe disadvantage since Belan is larger and stronger than her and knows more CQC techniques, whereas having a weapon helped even the playing field. I also know how the fight will end, so it's just a matter of choreographing the conflict to get them in the positions they need to be in at the end. I'm trying not to make this be too long of a fight, either, since it wouldn't be realistic. It's the darkest hour of the story. AND this is the first draft, the first time I'm finally getting to write this scene, so I'll be looking forward to refining it when I do my second pass of the typed draft.
     
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