So I’ve managed to get to 21,000 words over the past few months without too much strain, frustration or throwing the computer at the wall. That is, I think, most definitely a good thing. It’s a sign that the pre-work I did late last year (basically, three or four months of good solid thinking before putting metaphorical pen to paper) has paid off; if I’d gone in blind, I doubt I would have gotten past the first couple of chapters before saying ‘and then what?’ to myself and getting sulky when I didn’t know the answer.

[Weirdly enough, my pre-planning has meant that I’ve already written a fair bit covering the end of Act 2 / start of Act 3 – the ‘everything falls apart’ section of the story. It’s probably a little strange to have delved right into that so early on (i.e., before I wrote the intervening 50k+ words) but it was clear in my head as to what would happen and how it’d unravel, so hey, I’ve got that to look forward to when I get there.]

But, I’m now at an ‘and then what?’ stage in the text. The main character has been well and truly introduced, there’s motivation, supporting cast and location all fairly well set out… but, I am possessed by the sensation that I may be about to get stuck. The Writer-mobile has plenty of fuel and supplies, but the wheels are spinning a little, the map isn’t as detailed as I’d like, and I don’t seem to have as much forward momentum as I did, say, a few weeks ago.

The problem isn’t a lack of inspiration per se, but rather the knowledge that the story can go in a few different directions from here, before winding back to where I know it will go. I’m not sure yet which of those paths the manuscript will take. Here’s where I start advancing on the themes and moods that sit under the surface of what I’ve written so far, but which take precedence?

Of peculiar importance, I think, is that I’ve been playing around in an ever-so-slightly sci-fi world. Much of it is low-tech as far as these things go – it’s speculative fiction set in Far East Russia of the mid-1930s, so it’s not at the bleeding edge of technology in this world – but now’s my time to either leave it sitting in the background or saying KAPOW and thrusting the oddness of this world into the reader’s lap. The former may be a missed opportunity, the latter may be unnecessary and distracting.

Just as they say in Kamchatka, there are many roads but no one knows where they lead.


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