The same, but different

I’m continuing writing the story I began during NaNoWriMo last year. I had too many other things on the go to focus on the story in November, and I could feel myself starting to lose control of the storytelling; I was starting to add fluff and filler words for the sake of word-count, rather than to advance the plot. So I stopped and vowed to get going again on my own terms.

I decided to get up early in the morning and write something – it doesn’t matter how much or how little – that would move the story forward each day. With this, I can build myself up to a decent writing pace again without relying on a contrived, external motivation. I reckon it’s better to do things because you want to, rather than because you feel compelled to.

I think I’m getting back into ‘The Zone‘ because first thing when I wake up I’m thinking about plot details and character motivations. This is particularly important to Dogmagic because it’s a complete rewrite of an older story. There are certain plot points the new draft shares with the old one, but the reasons and justifications are different.

For example, early on, three main characters have to escape an orphanage. In the earlier version of the tale, it began with a mystery – a whole bunch of girls had disappeared overnight. The protagonists discover the girls escaped, and rather than stay and get into trouble they follow them. All fine and dandy, but none of the protagonists had any knowledge of the outside world, nobody outside the orphanage knew who they were, and when The Help came, it was a bit… improbable.

The newer version starts with two of the protagonists shipwrecked and placed into the orphanage. So, they have knowledge of the outside – something one of them wants to return to, but the other is happier inside. The third protagonist is introduced later – someone who’d previously escaped (so they know the way out), but was encouraged by The Help to go back in and rescue the first two.

So, I have the same basic idea (flee the orphanage), but it’s rewritten to make the narrative flow better, and to bring out tensions between the characters much sooner. In the first draft, they were all equals. This time, one starts as an ambassador’s daughter, another as a maid, and the third as an escaped orphan. They all have different views and motivations, which makes the job of telling their story much more interesting, far more fun, and, to be honest, much easier.

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One response to “The same, but different

  1. I love NaNo, but agree it’s not for ongoing work and quality thereof! But for exploring new ideas and getting rough (if terrible!) first drafts out of your head it’s amazing!

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