November 20th, 2006

View from study (sunny)

Writing progress

Story Title: A Necessary Evil (aka The One About the War)
Words revised today: 905
Words now in Chapter 3: 4,301
Words total: 14,964
Reason for stopping: End of scene. Time to go into town to change trousers for next size up.

I've cut more words out and shifted the tone somewhat. According to Donald Maass one needs to up the stakes all the time. As this is most definitely not going to be a beautifully written literary story, if it's going to work at all, it will work because I set a cracking pace and keep the reader moving through the story at a gallop.

I was rummaging around my hard disk yesterday and came across this quote from Ben Jeapes, originally from an article in the BSFA publication Matrix:

"A story that works is, 9 times out of 10, a variation on an existing theme. [...] You're only in with a chance if someone asks you what is different about your space opera/timetravel/whatever, and you can put your finger on it and say 'that'."

A Necessary Evil is definitely based on a theme that has been used many times from C S Lewis's Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe to Alan Garner's Elidor to brownnicky's Warriors of Camlann to Andre Norton's Witchworld to Barbara Hambley's Darwath Trilogy to... Well there must be scores more.

So I need to work out what is different about my Man from Our World Ends up in a Fantasy World and Has Adventures story and really bring that aspect out.

But if nothing else, it's certainly giving me practice in murdering my darlings. Oh, and pacing and structure too. *g*