Friday, March 29, 2013

The Sealord's Successor, Part Two

Some reviews are in for Part Two of The Sealord's Successor (Part One is here), and they seem pretty positive.  This is something of a relief, to me, not so much because I'm on the fence about the story itself, but because of the torturous route its creation took.

Before I wrote Part 2 of this story, the most trouble I had ever ecperienced in getting a story off the ground was when writing another story about Gloren Avericci and Yr Neh, called The Highwater Harbor.  I'd come up with the plotline while in Paris, and so had written it down, rather than keeping it all in my head, like I normally do.  So you'd think I'd be ready to go as soon as we touched down back home, right?

Sort of.

I did start right in.  And then I started again, somewhere else in the story.  And then again, elsewhere.  And again.  And once more.

This was a phenomenon I'd read about, but never experienced.  The false start.  I knew the story was in there, but couldn't seem to set my sights on the true beginning.  It was horrible, but I knew at once when I wrote the opening words to what became the true starting place.  The story was flowing, without any effort, like my others always had.

Whew!  I remember the feeling of relief as I continued with the opening of what was to be my longest Gallery Hunter story to date.  But I never expected the same thing to happen when I agreed to write Part Two of The Sealord's Successor.  After all, the original ending was a cliffhanger chase.  So, to start part Two, simply begin there.

More easily said than done, in this case.

Logistical problems began at once.  The main characters were separated, in the beginning, and I labored to reunite Yr Neh and Gloren.  It showed.  It was a tapestry of seams.  I finally wrote an opening that served its purposed.

Then I began telling what was structured like a new short story, including introducing a new cast, as if I was going to either jettison the original, mostly, or increase it.  But it mattered not, as I dragged Gloren and his new compatriots through one scene and then another, stopping and scrapping dead-ends and false starts for every scene.

Finally, I sat back.  What did I think I was doing?  Time for a reboot.

Start again.  Cliffhanger ending.  A chase through the rain down a switchback mountain road.  The suspects of a fantasy mystery story in full flight.

Stay focused, I told myself, and the real story should just start itself.

And, like with Highwater Harbor, it did.  Eventually.

Part Two is a testament to how writers sometimes have to show a little grit, and tough out the bad times.  It's frustrating work, though, and that's often the kiss of death for fiction.  Though I rarely have problems starting stories, it's nice to know that I can keep at it when the going's not so smooth.  I admire writers that fight through this sort of thing all the time, as a normal part of their process.

Those are some tough writers.

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