Interesting stuff, as the word count climbs… I’m over 90,000 words now.
Something interesting has happened to me while writing the last part of the book. I’m not sure if it is good or bad, but I do know it’s going to mean a lot more work before I’m done with this book.
When I started writing the book, and through probably the first 70,000 words I wrote, I was really only interested in the protagonist and maybe one other character. Other than that I was mostly interested in telling the story, mostly as a series of events which either happened to them, or that they made happen.
As I got into the final quarter of the book, I started trying to wrap up some of the secondary plot lines in the book. Many of those plot lines involved minor climaxes in the relationship of some of the supporting characters. As I wrote those scenes, something really strange happened to some of those characters. I started to CARE about them. Suddenly they weren’t just supporting characters anymore, they had somehow developed PERSONALITIES. What surprised me most is that they usually developed personalities that were quite different from what I had originally envisioned. But the personalities were compelling enough that I went with them and wrote the scenes weaving those new personalities into them.
But since the original scenes, way back through the first 70,000 words or so, have the original blande supporting caste feel to them, when you hit the climactic scenes it’s a sort of Wizard of Oz moment. The characters kind of go from black and white to full color.
That ain’t good. So I went back and reread most of the early scenes and realized that if I focused on them the same way, the protagonist’s story would suffer.
So basically I concluded that I have to pull those characters out of the background one at a time during the main story, allowing them to become more like the final full color version in the climactic scenes, but not until the reader is fully immersed in the main plot line and has fully empathized with the main protagonist.
The implication is that I now have to go back through the entire book and weave some of that character development into the story.
For example, one character reached up and slapped me in the face and said “I’m a MUSICIAN!” In the scenes in the final chapters, he plays the flute, learns the lute and provides some (hopefully) humorous moments for the main characters. It turns out he’s also a bit of a ladies man. Who knew? So now I’ve got to go back and weave all that in. This is important because he is basically the protagonist’s main sidekick. Now I have to go back and show his interest in music, his development of his skills and his musical personality developing over time.
I find this to be very interesting.