Heading for the stadium

NotebookWord count: 61, 693

I’m pleased to report I’ve fixed the plot problems I was struggling with last time I reported on the novel-in-progress. As I suspected, I needed some new ideas to flesh out Nimbus’s revenge story. Well, the ideas came – more than I’d anticipated actually. In fact, I’ve found some neat ways of making the resolution of Nimbus’s troublesome sub-plot bear on the bigger story that’s going on. So everything’s getting connected at last. Phew …

The struggles I’ve had with this MS recently have been a reminder that, however tightly you plot a novel, until you actually write the damn thing you can’t predict how it’s all going to fit together. And the fitting-together is critical. I’ve just finished reading Last Night On Twisted River and I’m in awe of the way John Irving manages to construct a plot that’s so connected yet not in any way contrived. There are plenty who scoff at novels that are densely plotted, but I like a story to work like a puzzle, where all the pieces fit together to make a satisfying whole. The puzzling isn’t hard, but the satisfaction’s a bugger: making sure everything happens naturally and inevitably so that the reader, instead of groaning at the convenience of it all, sits rapt with a shiver going down the spine.

I’ve no idea if The Dragons of Bloodrock will do anything like that to its readers. I just know I’m back in a good place with the MS. The pace is picking up, and will continue to accelerate now, all the way to the end. I’m two chapters off finishing the novel’s third section. The fourth section – entitled Charmskeiner – is full of revelations and betrayals and the crashing together of all the things I’ve been diligently setting up in the earlier chapters … in short, it’s the big finish. A while ago I likened writing a novel to running a marathon. If so, I’ve got the stadium in sight at last.

For the time being, however, I’m still out on the road. And it’s a bumpy road, full of pitfalls. Anything could happen before I hit that final straight. And probably will.

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