I re-started work on Kai’s Book a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the premise, by the by:
A cursed runaway princess, despised by her people, returns from across worlds to save the homeland she fled after committing murder.
The “princess” part is a bit misleading since your typical princess doesn’t exist in this world. It’s more Dark Ages than medieval, where the king is just the warlord who has a bit more power than all the other warlords. There’s also a viking-type world and a steampunk world thrown in there, which makes things rather fun, especially since Kai crosses over to all of them in the first three chapters.
It’s been a long time since I worked on a first draft of a novel. I had a hard time getting back into the mindset. While looking through my notes, I was rather disturbed by the fact that large swathes of plot were completely unknown to me. Even intensive brainstorming and extensive freewriting didn’t bring these areas to light. I was getting rather worried there…
Then I remembered.
Novel first drafts are like setting out on a journey with a very rudimentary map. The starting point is pretty clear–the star on the northern coast of the continent with a You Are Here right above it–and the ending is generally also somewhat known–that nice beach somewhere down on the balmy southern coast. Between those two points, however, are blank areas with no features, save for maybe a large lake or two in your way and a mountain range bisecting the entire continent (of course!). Off in the fringes are places marked Here Be Dragons.
If you’re lucky, you packed well.
Usually, you didn’t. Usually you didn’t anticipate the desert that appeared right before the mountains, or the landslide that buries your pack mule halfway through the range, or the acidic spores of the Mushroom Forest, or the townspeople that seize you and put you to work in the peanut fields for wearing purple on a Thursday.
But that’s the joy of writing novels. The story is full of surprises, forcing you to be quick-footed and quick-witted, and dealing with the consequences if you’re not.
Not only is writing fun, it’s adventurous. Now that I’ve remembered that, I’m happy to have only a couple scenes plotted out in advance of where I am. More scenes will come to light. They always do.
I just have to keep going on, even if it’s through the Vermilion Marshes of Man-Eating Flies.
How’s your writing going?