Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's got to be right, because it's so elegant.

As you know if you been reading this blog, I've been really struggling with Tuskers III.

It just hasn't been coming to me. It seemed to me that I had too many characters, and the plot was going everywhere.  Worse, it was almost looking as though I'd need to write a whole nother book to wrap it up, and I think that would be a huge mistake.  So either a kind of bigger-than-it-should-be but still truncated third book, or it was going to require a fourth book.   For what was supposed to be a simple, straightforward story.

(I think the quickness of Tuskers I almost spoiled me -- I started to think I could do that every time.  Instead, I'm mired in the usual messy process...)

When I first started to third book, I figured for continuity's sake that I needed to take a chapter out of the second book and insert it into the third book.

After mulling things over yesterday, I finally realized I was wrong.  Not only do I need to put that chapter back into the second book, I need to add about four other chapters from the newer book.  I need to take those core characters from the second book and bring them on home.

Then start the third book with a whole new cast of characters, with a little bit of crossover.

This will make the second book longer, which it can afford, (takes it from 43K words to 50K words), but it won't complicate the plot because the events are just a continuation of the character arc.  I loved the original ending being the emergence of the "zombies" but it doesn't really need to be that way.

The attack of the zombie horde on the good guys will make just as strong an ending.

It even works thematically.

I knew that I was going to have two camps of humans -- one where the humans wanted to exterminate all Tuskers.  In this group, one of the major characters is killed, which turns one of the other characters -- who until that moment had been counseling peace -- rabidly anti-Tusker.

The second camp -- the humans in the third book -- are actually co-existing with some of the Tuskers and fighting the zombies together.  I knew in the second half of the book that the two groups would meet, and have a strong conflict.

Which would be resolved by an attack from Tuskers who now control the zombies.

So this works out much better.  Establish first one group, then the other, then bring them together.

I think my subconscious was just balking because I didn't have it right.

Not to get all mystical about it, but sometimes it feels as though I'm discovering a story, rather than writing it.

This is such an elegant solution, it's got to be right.

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