Sunday, 13 June 2010

Novel diary - #3

When I started this diary chronicling the writing of a story I said I thought it might be a fated project, and three weeks in that's now feeling possible. The welcome news I received last week that Avalon will be publishing my last Fergal O'Brien novel has meant I've spent most of my time thinking about Fergal might do next and not about this story. But I set out to chronicle a story through the good times and the ennui and so I'll soldier on. Either way this chronicle might become more intermittent if I spend more time with Fergal as I won't bother saying anything if I've written nothing.

Last time I had a few paragraphs in which an abandoned stage was found. I wrote the rest of that scene from the viewpoint of someone finding it and exploring the area searching for clues as to what had happened. He didn’t find any, sadly, as that would have helped the story develop. But when I read through what turned out to be a very flat scene afterwards to see if I could work out what might happen next I realized I'd got confused over names. The man had started out as just a name and then suddenly he'd become a sheriff halfway through. So I decided to make the stage be discovered by two people, one a lawman and one someone else.

This change enabled me to have some dialogue and so re-writing the scene made everything flow in a more interesting way. The two men, now provisionally called Sheriff Jameson and Nathan Wright, argued and had plenty of friction, although I don't know about what yet. The sheriff has a chip on his shoulder about something, and Nathan feels guilty and he wouldn’t meet the sheriff's eye. Best of all, the rewrite provided the one clue that should have been flaming obvious to me from the start bearing in mind the idea that had started me writing. So Nathan finds a book entitled Legend of the Six in the stage and he hides it from the sheriff. It has be Six rather than Seven, which is the title I started with as I now realize that Legend of the Seven sounds like a sequel to the Magnificent Seven. The scene ends with the lawman leaving Nathan in disgust and heading west and something about the book persuades Nathan to head east back the way the stage had come.

So I know have 1,500 words with some hints of various mysteries about some characters along with a potential next scene in which Nathan follows the stage route back to some location and he hopefully finds something interesting.

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