Well, part three of the first draft of Two Earths Are Better Than None is finally complete, although it took a while. In my defence, I took a break over Christmas and New Year, and it then took me a while to get back into it. That was more having switched off mentally than any issues with the story, which is evolving as well as I hoped. I also got back into gaming, having borrowed my son's copy of the excellent Horizon: Forbidden West after loving the first game in the series.
In my last blog post, I told you that these were the six chapters I was planning for part three:
A Fellowship Renewed
Speed Dating Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits
Connections and Disconnections
Remembering the Caliplex
Yeah, right. I merrily started writing A Fellowship Renewed, and the characters decided to take over. By the time I'd finished, it had become clear that the chapter had no place in part three but acted as a much better finale to part two. So part two ended up with seven chapters and just over 30,000 words. Phew. That probably needed pruning a little in the second draft.
I then ploughed ahead with the remaining five chapters in part three. Yet again, the characters had their own ideas. Someone I thought would be an antagonist switched sides, and they finished the part before the events I'd planned for the chapter Exploring Asperna. Despite that, it still ended up with six chapters, some that even sounded vaguely like my original plans:
A Ghost World
Dwarves and Hobbits
Breaking the Fellowship
The Skein is not Enough
Expanding the Mind
That came in at just over 25,000 words, and more importantly, better than I'd hoped. So far, the first draft of the novel is slightly under 67,000 words, with three of the five parts complete.
Even better, the events of part five are crystalising nicely, with most of the things I need already introduced. The purpose of part four will be for the main characters to discover what the story has really been about and to work out how to fix things.
I planned the much shorter part four late on Friday, which would be three chapters, but might stretch to four. I also expanded my notes for part five, including listing all the things from the early parts that needed linking in (in one case, to justify not cutting it in the second draft). I nearly did this blog post then, but I'm glad I didn't.
While driving down to visit my son yesterday, I had what I like to modestly describe as a brilliant idea. It makes much better use of a plot device I'd created for one purpose, then carelessly discarded once it was done. A minor tweak will cause ramifications that resonate through part five and make excellent use of the things I introduced earlier to resolve the story. As you can tell, I was chuffed.
Part four is now called Resist the Caliplex and is four chapters long, although it will likely turn out to be five. I think the first two will get too long, but luckily theme-wise, they can be easily split into three.
The Peria and the Esperia
The Hegemony of the Caliplex
The Hand and the Head
The Word of the Caliplex
Yes, I've reached the point where the chapter titles are full of silly buzzwords. At least there are no Lord of the Rings references in the titles now, although one of my notes does use the phrase "nice Nazgûl," which is an odd concept.
I may even make a first draft of the plan for part five before starting to write. It'll change, but I need to ensure I don't miss setting up anything.
The cover's getting closer. That web-like thing that appears on the sun flare in the image above is my attempt at adding the Skein from the novel. It'll probably stick. I also tried cleverly using two Earth emojis in the title. Don't worry. This is the only time you'll see that.
Oh yes, I've finished the house decoration too, so I won't trouble you with that anymore. Well, there's a bit of gloss work to do in the spring when I can air the rooms better, but that's too boring to talk about.