I have this novel. BIG novel. One of those Big Fat Fantasy Novels that sprawl all over the furniture and spill magic potions on the carpet and spit rainbows into the bathroom sink and don’t rinse it out. HUGE novel. More characters than WAR AND PEACE. I have a two-page character list and three pages of genealogy.
Is it any wonder I’ve been repeatedly told (except by #4 daughter) to dial it back? (#4 daughter grew up with my reading this to her. She doesn’t want to lose a word of it. Cutting anything out of it is like Sophie’s choice for her.) (Note to Urban Dictionary: “Buy Sophie’s Choice mugs and t-shirts”? Seriously?)
I’ve been futzing around, trying to steel myself to the deed without much success. Then I went looking for an outlining program, mostly to help me plan 2012’s NaNoWriMo, and found and started messing with yWriter5. This is not a commercial, because the program is free. But you knew that, when I said I’m using it, didn’t you?
It’s pretty complex to my brain, which it needs to be in order to be as flexible as it is, but I think I’m figuring it out, between the detailed help files and some fearless pressing of random keys.
THE POINT IS, I’ve been picking the Big Fat Fantasy apart, chapter by chapter, scene by scene. Just going through it in this level of detail is forcing me to think about my characters — who they are and why they are — and the movement and use of each. When I’m done — and maybe before I’m done — I’ll have a better feel for what, if anything, can be pulled for other use or how I can tighten everything so nothing is lost but everything is shorter and better.
It feels good to actually dig back into this novel. I love it dearly, and want it to succeed. And to move out of my attic and get a job.
WRITING PROMPT: A character makes an impossibly difficult choice.