Progress on The Slaves and The Djinn

Hello, my friends and occasional relative!

Yes, that is still the title. It remains the pithiest that fits within the format I set myself with The Thief and The Demon. I can’t lie—I will enjoy writing books without The X and The Y as a title convention!

But hey, I am feeling mostly better, and can, with great gladness, report that forward progress continues. I managed another two chapters this week, and these were not easy ones to write, and had the potential to bog me down, so getting through two such chapters as rapidly as I have is a cause for celebration. There will be editing this week before the next chapter, which I did start, is properly addressed.

I have written very hard passages before, particularly in The Killer and The Dead, and I should possibly take the time one day to explain how it is not a picnic to write awful actions, graphic violence, or emotionally challenging scenes. For now, let me say that I have had to struggle through sometimes, and that nothing was done for cheap effect, or written as though I were copy-pasting a list of ingredients on a can of soup. I’m not “woe is me-ing” it here, just stating that finding your way through these scenes, if you want them to resonate, can be difficult emotionally as a writer. Just sayin’.

The Really Detailed Plan™, has again been deviated from. I was born a pantser and learned the hard way that following your whims can lead to distracted dead-ends filled with ‘cool’ but ultimately unable to get the band back together in terms of plot or momentum. Never accidentally resurrect a random demon lord companion because you thought he rocked when you imagined him, then create an adversary for him because you just played (and died in) Ravenloft, and then realize that he is a distraction from a subplot which itself was a not entirely needed deviation from plot A and B, which have enough going on in them, thank you very much. <– All real, and in a book which shall NEVER be dusted off and see the light of day. I did have fun writing it, until I hit the blank white wall of unsustainablilty, couldn’t work out how to continue while keeping even myself interested, and so stopped. There was just too much, and it overwhelmed me into silence. I’m sure that isn’t what happened to GRRM at all. In my defence, I was 16.

So anyway I did deviate from the plan, because (Spoilers—I know you’ll remember this when the book comes out) I couldn’t do a coincidence the plan called for. It seemed, upon reading at this stage, too trite. Instead I saw a way to create what I hope is more agency and better drama (you kids will decide if I succeeded or not), all while not adding another chapter to my total, because of the way I consolidated actions in the two I did write. This, friends, is the benefit of the Really Detailed Plan™, I can change my mind, indulge in a little guided pantsing, but stick to the thematic, dramatic, and plot-based whole. The parts can shift and still seamlessly mesh, and in fact be better than they would have been before. It is tremendously satisfying, if I say so myself. A plan does not mean sacrificing spontaneity in writing, I promise. (Like a cop promising to catch a killer in a procedural. I cringe every time they do it. Don’t make promises you can’t realistically keep. But I think this is less a promise, and more an enthusiastic endorsement, so it flies?? You tell me. Nah, it’s still a promise. Hey ho. Do with it what you will, including cringe.) I do advise checking out this book, and the books it recommends, there are good ideas within.

This means I am now 72.72% of the way through my edit-as-I-go edition of my WIP, (no graphic bar for progress) still tentatively titled The Slaves and The Djinn.

This doing a weekly blog update on my progress has been a fabulous motivator, by the way. I recommend it.

One thought on “Progress on The Slaves and The Djinn

  1. Jason

    It’s great to see the weekly update Roddy… I’m on the edge of my seat to see the final product… no pressure. (o,

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