FireHeart Progress Journal

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

  1. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Aaaaand...I pushed through and finished the chapter!! The fight certainly was messy, but that's the point. Now...the birth of the new Phoenix and the aftermath of everything will be the focus of the next chapter. It's crazy to realize just how close to the end I now am, after all these years.
     
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  2. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Update: I'm crazy and already starting the next chapter (Chapter 55)! And I chose a name for the new (female) Phoenix: Esir, which is "rise" spelt backwards. Fitting for a Phoenix that is born after much darkness and death, while also sounding like a believable female name. She's going to be a very lively Phoenix in comparison to Erif, and not just because She is a new, young Phoenix. This is one of many reasons why it would be fun to write a sequel to this story, or at least a series of short stories detailing different character's lives in the years to come. :D

    At this rate, I think there will be only 2 chapters left (this chapter, and then a follow-up), and then an epilogue dealing with a time jump. I'm pretty nervous about finishing this!
     
  3. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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  4. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    As I work on Chapter 55, it seems obvious to me that I may need more than one additional chapter to tie up loose ends. Even though the climax of the story has passed, the story itself isn't yet over. However, I won't fret too much if one of these last chapters and the epilogue are "too long", because in my opinion an ending deserves as much time as it needs to wrap up. Besides, this story has been as much about Kaina's own personal growth and psychology as it has been about the big doom-and-gloom plots, so it's safe to say that the big dramatic plot is over and the rest of the story will be to finish Kaina's personal journey. It's still so weird to realize that I've made it to this point at last.
     
  5. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Taking a brief break to read through the early story and make edits as necessary. I just want to ensure that the story up to this point is consistent. I'll also be trying to draw more characters!
     
  6. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Still simply going through the story from the beginning (I am now halfway through), making revisions as I go. Nothing drastic, though there is a scene where a heretic is being arrested and gets punished in public, and I decided to make it clearer that the citizens are divided between how they feel about it. Just little additions, such as making Kaina hear some citizens cheer the guards on while others are shouting for the cruelty to stop. In my first/second draft it just was super easy to get "stuck" in Kaina's head and gloss over details that would make the conflict easier to understand.

    Also, one change I only now have decided to make is to change Belan's title from "Captain" to "Commander".
     
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  7. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Made a revision to Chapter 35, where Kaina was held captive and interrogated. There was a part of her captivity where I had skimmed over, just writing that she had been asked more questions and hurt during a second day, but now I went in and wrote a full scene. As mentioned in the original post regarding this chapter, Kaina was captured by a group of the heretics when she tried to run away from Emalfir, and was questioned about where the other survivors of Sinati had gone to. In this new scene I wrote, her interrogator ends up coming to the correct conclusion that they are in Emalfir, which is indeed the safest place to be in Ralos. And then he essentially confirms that Belan is their leader. This of course is something Kaina already knew, but it helps to confirm what could have just been a suspicion. This group was going to keep her alive, most likely as a hostage, until she is rescued. So even though there wasn't going to be any new info she could give them, it just helps to establish the fact that her fate would have been bad if no one had found her. And, remember, this whole scenario pays off later when one of the men is brought back to Emalfir as a prisoner, so I just hope it's clear that this isn't an author's sadistic excuse to put their main protagonist through a hellish experience.

    While I go through this editing process, I'll be trying to make Kaina's trauma from that time longer-lived, though of course it will never top the trauma she has from losing people she knew. I have been trying to my best during this recent draft to make sure that the stuff that happens to Kaina and the people around her happens "for a reason" (as in, it either has repercussions for Kaina or affects the politics or society in the long term. Something can be resolved quickly, but that doesn't mean its effects aren't felt, somewhere, later on). And even scenes like Kaina's captivity can be used to establish how the heretics work and think, which in turn gives a warning of how dangerous they will still be even after the end of the story when survivors of their organization are continuing to plot in secret even years later. I even thought of an event that would be years after the end of the story, when Bahrem is appointed the Commander of the City Guard, and the heretics who are still undercover try to assassinate him "for Belan".

    Now I've gone on a rant! I guess this Progress Journal space is the one excuse I can have to really over explain stuff.
     
  8. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    I have now gone through all my chapters up til now, making sure certain things were consistent such as changing Belan's title from "Captain" to "Commander", and I added onto some scenes. There definitely are things I will want to change/add that I've made a mental note of, but I'll save that for later and try to focus on the story moving forward. I really want to add more interactions/observations with the civilians and guards, and have more interactions between Kaina and Seshara and other characters. I just had a number of time-skips in my story for fear that I wouldn't know what to do during certain stretches of time. Something I hope to remedy later.
     
  9. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Got two pages written up after being rather slow lately. Kaina's taken back to Emalfir with Seshara, and Korlaia and many other Priestesses get to be introduced to Esir as the new Phoenix.
    I have a general idea of what the next series of events are going to be: Chapter 55 will wrap up with Kaina settling back into the Temple after being away for days, but it won't be easy considering the tragedy that had occurred. The reality of what had happened (the attack and resulting deaths) won't really hit her right away. I'm thinking she will want to use her healing powers to help the injured recover, but beyond that may spend most of her time keeping to herself as she tries to cope.
    After a few days (which will probably be glossed over for the most part), she will be invited to the palace. I know for sure that King Sarif will want to speak with her alone, and this will be when he reveals his plan to abdicate the throne, unable to live with the damage he caused by being manipulated by Belan. He never directly caused the bad things that happened, but he realizes his inaction did more harm than good. He'll be one of the first individuals to bring up the idea that Kaina, as Speaker, might make a more fitting leader for the sake of healing the country. Even if Kaina eventually accepts this idea, it's worth noting that she will not be made Phoenix Queen right off the bat - Queen Anaka will remain in power for a time, acting as Queen Regent while Kaina learns and eases into her new role. But that is in the long-term and would not be delved into in this story, not unless I decided to write a sequel (which, if I did, I'd want to take place years later after Kaina has taken on her role, leaving the transition period unexplained).

    And on the topic of a potential sequel...I would be very tempted to have it be written from the point of view of multiple characters, especially since the ideas I'd have for a sequel may pull characters in different directions, and sticking to just Kaina's PoV would severely limit the story I'd like to tell. But if I did that, it would set it apart from the first story in terms of style. Would be best to at least stick to the first person PoV, so that remains consistent with the first story. "Children of Blood and Bone" (which I have yet to finish) is like this, where it's entirely in 1st person but has 3 PoV characters. It gets away with this by having each chapter be a different character (much like what "A Song of Ice and Fire" did, but with 1st person PoV). So, I know such a method of storytelling is doable, and I suppose it wouldn't be too jarring for the reader to have this difference between books when you consider that each book will be separated by years and will have a different kind of story to tell. Getting ahead of myself, now, but my early ideas would have Kaina going to visit another country that Ralos has not had any dealings with before. Bahrem would be another PoV character as he deals with being the Commander of the City Guard, dealing with the after effects of the first story as there are still many followers of Belan who are remaining in hiding and trying to plot against our protagonists. I would at least want one more PoV character to cover another area of this healing Ralos/Emalfir, but before I can even think about writing a sequel I first need to finish THIS story!
     
  10. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Getting more writing done, and already I'm facing a conundrum: Chapter 55 is getting a bit too big for its britches - as in, it is easily going to get longer than I would like, and the scenes I'm writing now might be better for a separate chapter. But the problem is, the scenes beforehand (Kaina waking up the morning after Erif died, witnessing Esir being born, addressing a defeated Belan, and saying farewell to Bahrem and Teran as she and Seshara go back to Emalfir with Esir) aren't enough to be their own chapter, not unless I dragged these moments out. As it is, with my font, size, spacing, etc., that content only takes up 8-9 pages, 3.1k words. That is veeeeeery short for a chapter in this story. Right now I'm writing a nice bonding moment between Kaina and Seshara, back at the Temple of Remmus, and the chapter is now almost 17 pages. I just can't decide how to best pace this material without having one very short chapter, because I really would not want to drag the first half of the chapter out too much. A lot that could be added to the first half are conversations and interactions that would make more sense later, after all the protagonists are reunited in the city and actually have the time to sit down and discuss what they just went through. But right now, the only other reason why I have not broken this content so far into two chapters is the fact that this all is taking place within the same day. I like to have chapters end when the day ends, unless if there is a huuuuge event that leaves a solid "exclamation point" or period on a chapter, so to speak.

    I'm really liking what I'm writing, right now. Seshara is wanting so badly to just fall into her old habits of serving Kaina as her attendant, but Kaina can sense that she's pushing herself to be prompt and dutiful, so she offers to comb out her hair and re-do her braid for her (she notices that Seshara's braid is rather hasty-looking, since she rushed to get washed up and grab food). It's just a shame that I couldn't have more moments like this with Seshara, but...that is the nature of Seshara as a character. Her whole job is to attend to Kaina, and while it's safe to say the two become friends, she doesn't let herself forget her duty, and has to be coaxed out of her shell in order to open up more. I look at all the different attendant/handmaiden characters I've seen in fiction, and all of them try to walk that fine line between doing their job/being loyal and being a friend to the man or woman they are serving (yes, men can have attendants, too. I immediately think of Cicero from the Ridley Scott film "Gladiator", bless his soul. Recently rewatched that amazing film!).
     
  11. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    After slow going, I think I finally have finished chapter 55. It's a long one, at 18 pages and 6.3k words (probably the longest or 2nd longest chapter in the story so far), but as I said in my previous post I don't see a way to break it up into two chapters without forcing a break point. And despite the long length, I am actually very happy with the overall content of the chapter. It starts off so hopeful, with the new Phoenix, Esir, being born, but then ends on a despondent note as Kaina, now back at the Temple of Remmus, feels the weight of her grief pile upon her, remembering the loss of life that had occurred. I especially love one of the final sentences in this chapter "Some wounds not even Phoenix-fire could mend", showing that Kaina is aware of how much everything has affected her.

    The next chapter is going to involve Kaina and High Headmistress Korlaia updating each other, and I plan on having Kaina visit the healing hall to tend to the wounded and having a reunion with Aria later. I'm trying to decide at what point Kaina will be invited to the royal palace, and if I will want her to be reunited with Teran and Bahrem at the Temple or the palace. They will be invited, too, since they helped to bring Belan back to Emalfir after he was defeated and restrained. Either way, those three will want to speak to each other alone. And going to the palace will most likely be its own chapter.
     
  12. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Finally started working on chapter 56. Only got 2 pages written, though. Been rather slow lately!
     
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  13. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Haven't updated in a bit, but my progress has been slow and as of today I have 10 pages total in chapter 56. Got Kaina in the healing hall using her power to help mend the injuries of the wounded. The only other plans I have for this chapter will be for her to be reunited with Aria and then perhaps have her speak with Esir through the Eternal Flame. Chapter 57 then would be a time skip of a few days to Bahrem returning to the Temple of Remmus and then the temple holds a formal memorial/funeral for everyone who had died during the attack. In chapter 56 Kaina had asked if they could do this once Bahrem came back, so that all the surviving Priestesses and Eunuchs could be present. I am unsure how I want the pacing to go, but it's possible that I would wait until chapter 58 for Kaina, Bahrem, and Teran to be invited to the royal palace. All of this is "falling action", but I don't want to rush any of it because it's as important to the story as the previous 55 chapters had been.
     
  14. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Finally got the first draft of Chapter 56 finished. Took a while to get done since my motivation to write was in a slump lately. I'm planning on the next chapter being when Bahrem returns and the Temple holds a proper memorial for everyone who had died. Then I'll probably end it with the invitation to come to the royal palace to arrive.
     
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  15. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Got almost 2k words written in Chapter 57, and it's definitely going smoother than the previous chapter. But of course, that's because I brought back Bahrem, who easily is one of my favorite characters to write. Even to this day, I really can't imagine my story without him (and many other character/event decisions that never were planned but developed organically as I wrote). He really adds to the story and works well in his scenes with Kaina.
     
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  16. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Took a while, but Chapter 57 is now finished. I've been in a bit of a writing slump, not writing as much as I did before, so progress has been slow. Definitely planning on having the next chapter be when Kaina, Bahrem, and Teran get invited to the palace.
     
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  17. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Finally getting some momentum on Chapter 58. Got Kaina, Seshara, Teran, and Bahrem to the royal palace and I've created a brand new character: Narim, an older gentleman who is one of King Sarif's attendants. It's funny how with even minor characters I can hear their own unique voice playing in my head as I write their dialogue. This visit to the palace is going to be enjoyable to write because there will be many important conversations and events happening. It's basically the final FINAL stretch of the story since there are loose ends that need to be wrapped up. And I still keep thinking about a possible sequel...
     
  18. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Going to take a break from writing for a bit and focus on enjoying World of Warcraft Burning Crusade Classic now that the pre-patch has launched and I can play as the new races! So much nostalgia!
     
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  19. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Finally feeling the itch to get back into my story after more than a month! But since it's been so long, I'm tempted to read through the story from the start and see where else I can make revisions and removals. The story where it is now is still fresh in my mind, but...I keep having an issue with wanting to go back to the start after a break of more than just a few weeks. Plus it may just be me wanting to postpone the inevitable end of the story, something I'm guilty of doing with lots of story-driven video games (Skyrim, Mass Effect, Final Fantasy X, The Witcher 3, etc).
     
  20. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    There's nothing wrong with reading through it again to see it fresh and even edit it a little. But whatever you do, don't go back to the start and re-do entire parts of it until you've finished it. Have a complete piece of work to look at before making important changes. Otherwise, you can fall into the trap of feeling like you're constantly spinning plates. ("Now THIS bit needs to change. Changed it. Oh, now THIS bit needs to change... and so on)

    You'll also feel a lot better for going against the grain of "not finishing stuff" and feeling more satisfaction, elation, and incentive to make those more important changes with a complete 1st draft.
     
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  21. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    It's been many months, but I recently got back through my re-read and edits for the millionth time. And as I keep pushing onward through the chapters I've already written, I keep being reminded of scenes or world-building I have meant to add, but the issue is this: I can't find spots in the chapters I've already written where any of these ideas would fit, especially without risking bogging down the story and creating more bloat than already exists. And the last thing I want is to add more chapters to the older content.

    Basically, there were a lot of ideas I felt like I had to cut out or keep out because I was worried they'd slow stuff down more. I'm always being self-conscious of the large amounts of "breathing room"/"downtime" that exists between big, shocking events, concerned that TOO MUCH of a break is also bad. I hate feeling at war with myself, even though I love this story and am never going to be a "professional" writer.
     
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  22. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Welp, this is exactly the trap I keep falling into, and is reflected in the post I just made a moment ago! I start overthinking things too much, that's for sure. My biggest issue about making changes once I finish this current draft of the story is the idea of entirely re-writing sections from scratch.
     
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  23. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    It's been about a million years (insert Titanic meme), but I've finally returned to the story! I have been using NaNoWriMo as motivation to at the very least re-read everything I had written, making edits along the way of course. And last night, I finally reached the point where I had stopped writing. I am once again filled with the same mixture of excitement and nervousness: Excited that I am so close to the end, able to finally finish an original novel-length story...but I'm nervous due to almost not wanting the story to end.

    Re-reading the whole story from start to "finish" again proves to me that including this long "after the dust has settled" section was necessary. So many stories (mostly TV shows and movies) simply end once the big bad has been defeated or the danger has been averted, with no real closure. With how personal this story has been, as it's been written entirely from Kaina's PoV, writing chapters worth of content that shows how she and others are still dealing with their trauma feels like the right choice. It also, in the spirit of stories such as The Hunger Games trilogy, shows that just because evil has been thwarted, it doesn't mean things magically go back to normal. And I am enjoying exploring this theme. I've been in Kaina's shoes and head for so long, why not go all the way and keep writing until hope feels tangible at last? It also just makes me itch to write a sequel, though I do not know what exactly that story would be about beyond the characters still needing to deal with routing out the remaining undercover cultists who remain loyal to Belan even while imprisoned. Just thinking out loud, now!
     
  24. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    11/16/2021 Update: I now caught up to where I had stopped writing, and managed to finish Chapter 58! Starting Chapter 59 and considering what to do next. Characters need to make decisions... :superthink:
     
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  25. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, I'm stuck. I on the one hand want to follow my gut, but on the other hand I'm unsure if I should go through with it. I've discussed this in passing earlier in this thread, but now I finally am at the tipping point: I need to decide if Kaina and Teran will sleep together.

    The reasons for letting it happen are sound from a character perspective. Both characters have been through a lot together and have formed a strong bond, both willing to put themselves into harms way to help the other (as has been shown multiple times throughout the story). And they do love each other, regardless of how young they are (spoiler alert, they will be staying in a committed relationship for the rest of their lives, that's one thing I have known since I started the story). It also would be a strong statement for Kaina to make, as she isn't allowed to get romantically involved with others due to being a Priestess (though that went out the window once she fell in love with her friend, Sari), and she is supposed to keep her virginity (I know, the concept of "virginity" is stupid AF, but this is the kind of society we're dealing with here). It would not be a choice to be taken lightly, so I can't possibly see this moment as being "eh, let's just throw sex into a story just because". This is also the part of the story where the danger and the bad guy have finally been dealt with, so it's a period of calm and peace where such actions would make more sense.

    The reason I'm hesitating right at this moment - when Kaina and Teran could make the choice - is probably due to worrying I would somehow mess it up. I would not write it in any graphic detail, of course, as that would be inappropriate for the story and the characters' ages (they are about 16, which in real life isn't that unusual...but still, technically minors from our modern world perspective, so I want to treat the subject matter with respect). Yes, I have read a YA fantasy story in high school where there is a sex scene between two teenagers, so I know it's not taboo. But still, this would be a big emotional moment for Kaina and Teran and I'd want to do it justice in whatever way I can. The only alternative would be for them to postpone making this choice, and come back to it later after the story is finished (meaning it would never be spoken of, something that happens after all is said and done with the story I'm writing). But then that would mean Kaina would be giving up what she was taught "off-screen", with no mention, which would feel almost disrespectful. Not sure if that's the right word to use, but hopefully you get what I'm trying to say.

    So...yeah, this is my word vomit of thoughts going on in my head, and I figure writing all my thoughts out here is as good a way to work through it as any. I've never had issues writing about characters in other stories who were romantically and sexually involved, but I guess this story with these characters is just hitting me differently. It's all been written in first person from Kaina's PoV, so I've been in her shoes and head for hundreds and hundreds of pages. Maybe I'm just subconsciously thinking like her and understanding the weight such a choice brings.
     

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