I thought it was about time I gave an update on the progress of my second novel, Perspective.
As I mentioned before Christmas, I'm planning on splitting the novel into five main sections, titled Philosophy, Propaganda, Struggle, Revolution, and Reckoning. I've now just completed the first draft of the third section, Struggle.
All feels like it's coming together nicely. Definitely a different feel to writing this novel to The Stream; although there's a slight thematic similarity and an analogous historical trope in both world's histories, this is a much more character driven story. I had the majority of The Stream clear in my mind before I started it - after all, I'd been thinking about it for at least 25 years but never found time to write it. I learnt a great deal about writing a novel by its end, but I think I let my concept of how I was going to tell the story override the characters at times. This time round, I had the theme of the story clear in my mind, I had the setting and society roughly in place, and I had my main protagonist and antagonist well fleshed out. I picked my starting point, roughly sketched out five phases of the story, and let the story happen, chapter-by-chapter.
I've also now completed a draft plan of the chapters in the next section, Revolution, although those plans probably won't survive past its first chapter. I have a pet hate when reading a story - when a character who is portrayed as the clever hero is too stupid to realise what's going on despite the evidence staring them in the face. Often when I'm writing if I think that my protagonist should at least be able to guess what's happening, I'll rework what comes next to take that into account. I know the things that need happen, but the order in which they happen will be driven by how the story evolves, rather than my preconceptions. I like it when the story has a life of its own that drives my narrative.
The other big breakthrough that came while planning the fourth section was that I now have an ending! I knew roughly how it would end, but the actual mechanism of how I got there in a way that was satisfying and believable was unclear until now. I hate deus ex machina devices to solve a story, despite having already accidentally introduced a couple of themes that I could have used to wrap things up. Both of those felt like too easy resolutions which wouldn't match the tone of the story either. Finally a fully character-driven solution became clear that at least feels like it could satisfy me. I knew it would evolve from the story eventually, but pleased to have it clearer now - even though it's likely to evolve further as I progress.
One slight complication is that a minor character I introduced in the second section and have neglected a little ever since is going to be key to this resolution. So I've gone back and fleshed out and extended their role a little, and will explore them much further in the next section.
Progress should be a lot faster for the next couple of sections. After a turbulent 2017, I decided there were a few things I needed to do in my life that my day job was precluding. So as of the beginning of February, I've left my role as a software development manager again to concentrate on a few more important things. The first of these things will be finishing Perspective, getting fitter, and hopefully doing some local volunteer work. Putting my life into perspective in more than one way! The rest is private :)