Well, I’m not quite ready to start drafting again. I had written I wanted to be drafting again by March, and there’s a small chance it might happen before the end of the month, but I’m dubious. I’ve gone back and edited Act 1, filling in all the small world building details, and worked through small continuity issues (like making weather consistent). But I didn’t have any big revelations on where to pick up the plot in Act 2.
I realized part of the problem was that I had a vague idea of the antagonistic forces in the novel, but not concrete characters and actions. So, I switched to crafting the antagonist. And since the best antagonists are built as a hefty counterweight to the protagonist forcing the protagonist to grow, I then switched again to fleshing out my protagonists. In short, mapping out the protagonists’ character arcs.
This is turning out to be a lengthy process that is stretching my abilities (a good thing). But it’s taking up more time than I thought to really think through these things, and then articulate them succinctly. The last part is the toughest and when done properly where the most growth comes from. But as the characters’ flaws and strengths become apparent, the antagonist is slowly coming into view as well on how to attack those flaws and turn those strengths into a weakness. The big midpoint scene and climax is also starting to swirl in the ether–which is exciting. If I can grasp those two scenes, it’s all over. The rest will flow like water out of dam.
I had written a couple months ago, that I hoped to be done with the zero draft by the end of August. I seriously doubt that anymore. At this point, I’ve nearly spent as much time editing the first act and brainstorming the novel than it took to write act 1. If that keeps up, I think it’ll take 4-5 months for every 25% of the novel, which would push me into 2020. But—but! I’m hopeful the effort to map out the character arcs and solidify the antagonist will result in a very clear direction, resulting in a rough outline. If that comes together, the actual drafting of words doesn’t take me too long once I get in the groove.
So, my goal for next month is to have the character arcs finished for the two main protagonists and have a pretty healthy lead on the antagonist.