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Fractal Peace: Opening Tale Complete

I set out intending to write the opening chapter plus the first character tale in Fractal Peace and then take a step back to ensure it was all holding together. That's now complete. I did things in a slightly different order than planned, and it took longer than expected, but there was a good reason for both.

The first draft of the opening chapter came in at 5,000 words, but I wasn't entirely comfortable with it. It introduced the six main characters that would be critical in the novel's first half, significant factors about the world in which they lived, and the setting of the reconciliation commission. It was too much, and I wasn't convinced it was entertaining enough.

That was the point I decided to take a step back. I sent the chapter to my son for feedback, which proved invaluable. His feedback, plus my own thoughts during the break, proved crucial. I reworked the opening chapter, improved the characterisations, revealed details more carefully, stripped our stuff that could wait, and generally took more time over things.

It ended up 6,000 words long, longer than my usual chapters, but that didn't worry me. This book's structure isn't traditional. I was happy with what it had become, and many details of later events became clear.

That allowed me to carry out a replanning session, which is when I became excited about this book. Everything fitted together perfectly. The stories I'll tell in the first half are now so clear in my mind, I can't wait to get them down. The second part is coming together too.

I then set out on Gori Ghul Flay's tale. That proved painfully slow too, but nothing to do with the story itself. I developed an eye condition (I've had it several times before), which meant I couldn't focus on the screen for long periods, if at all. It proved frustratingly stubborn and wouldn't go away for the first time, so I ended up with a trip to the hospital eye clinic last week.

The good news is that it's finally on the mend. The eye drop routine to get it under control was unexpectedly intense, one drop an hour, day and night, for three days. That was fun. I can't say the writing was productive after that little sleep! It'll take six weeks to finish the treatment, but at least I'm down to only one alarm in the middle of the night now.

I did manage to keep the story ticking along but finished it in a rush over the last few days. It's a four-part tale that organically reveals so much about the world while hinting at several motivations for what is yet to come. I hope it's interesting in its own right too. It came to 8,000 words, giving me 14,000 words overall so far.

You get to know how Earth met the other races in Fractal Space, how Fractal Space works, why Earth decided to remain neutral in the war, and elements of the politics of all the races. It also leads neatly to Jaklorinki's tale, the next one I'll write after the intervening chapter. I don't think these will be anything like the length of the first. I mean, Jaklorinki's dead before the story starts.

Who's Jaklorinki, you ask? He used to be called Skringeletica when I last talked about the characters. I've ended up rethinking a few, especially those that won't appear in a big way until part two – although most will make a surprise appearance earlier. e.g. Grane Miskin's already glared from the page.

This is now my current main cast list:

Right. It's time to crack on. A short chapter next, then on with Jaklorinki's tale of his experience of the events that ended the war. It must be time for Amarkerveni to make an appearance.

P.S. The cover's coming along, as you can see. Quite like this one, but let's see how long it sticks.

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