Well, I Did It
Four weeks ago, I wrote about changes I made to Part Three, after stopping to fix it. And then I began writing the scenes in Part Three. As I went along, I continued to tinker, changing the order of some scenes, and shifting the emphasis in other scenes. But, I always had my eye fixed on the prize, Deheya’s Dark Night Of The Soul in the last scene in Part Three.
After getting to this scene, I paused. Writing a Dark Night Of The Soul scene was completely new to me. When I run into new things, or am uncertain how to proceed, I often go to Scribophile to brainstorm. So, I asked the question, how do people approach these things?
I approached it from the perspective of how I constructed my Main Character, Deheya. Forgive me if I digress slightly.
I went into Myers Briggs and decided she would be an ENFP. From there, I used Ackerman and Puglishi’s Positive Trait Thesaurus to select characteristics which emphasized certain aspects of the ENFP. The thesaurus defines a moral core, surrounded by achievement, interactive and external identity layers. I decided to emphasize Social Awareness, Honor, Confidence, and Charm in those layers. And I added Pride and Superstition as her flaws.
Then, as Parts Two and Three unfolded, I attacked each of those layers and her core, slowly stripping away her positive characteristics, and either not replacing them at all, or replacing them with negative attributes.
By the time I got her to the end of Part Three, she had been through a lot. I have been very rough on her – killed her husband, severely wounded her father, kidnapped her son, imprisoned her two best friends, and had her watch over 30 men die defending her at one point or another.
I meant the final straw to be the death of her guard commander, who is also her confidant, mentor and friend.
The question I asked was this. As he bottoms out, and begins to put herself back together, does she do it from the inside, starting at her moral core, or does she start on the outside, with her external identity.
The answer was that she probably isn’t Saint Paul on the road to Damascus, so it probably won’t happen all at once. And, I actually liked that answer, because I need her to harbor and hold back on some of the damage until almost the end of the story.
Then came the discovery I feared. The Dark Night Of The Soul is not Plot Point Two. Just because she bottoms out and begins to put herself back together, doesn’t mean the story changes, yet. She will have to prove herself.
So, I needed to go back into my outline and see what needed to change. I finally decided I needed to add nine new scenes to Part Three. I took three from Part Four, created three I knew I probably would have to create, and found three I hadn’t suspected. And, Part Four went from 18 to 15 scenes. So. So, instead of having 20 scenes yet to do, I have 26.
I’m going on vacation next week, so I won’t get Part Three finished before I leave. I still hope to finish the First Draft by the end of September.
If you recall, in Scene Seventeen, morning dawned. Deheya became separated from Regar in the night. With the dawn, her hopes to be reunited with her son died with word that Regar was on his way back to the Capital, with Lord Christor.
When Colonel La Van’s men approach their hiding place, Sharshin gives herself up to keep Deheya from being discovered. Deheya finally agrees with Captain Eward that they should try to cross the Great River. If she can find her father, she hopes he will send warriors to rescue her son.
In Scene Eighteen, we stay with Deheya. She is on the banks of the Great River, along with Captain Eward and his men, trying to find boats to cross to the other side. She and the Captain are at odds on where to land, once they get to the other side. She believes her father is somewhere, north of the Ferry Landing. Captain Eward is equally convinced her father is at the Landing, or south of it. Although neither one know this, Deheya is wrong.
They find three canoes, left by White Feather warriors who crossed over. They wait until evening, hoping her Father’s men will return. When the White Feather warriors fail to return, Captain Eward decides to take two of the canoes and try to cross. He regrets that, should the White Feather warriors return, almost half of their party will be without boats.
On the river, the second boat capsizes. When Deheya’s boat rescues the four men, one of them tries to climb into the boat. In the process, he nearly pulls Deheya into the water. In order to save herself, she pushes him away with her paddle. They never see him again.
Once they reach shore, Deheya finally convinces Captain Eward they need to go inland, rather than downstream. As they search for her father, in the dark, Black Mountain warriors ambush her party. After the fight, she discovers Captain Eward, with two arrows in his chest, dying.
If you’ve been keeping score, you may have noticed the final scene total dropped from 78 to 76. I rearranged the last six scenes of Part Three into four scenes.
As I prepared to write this scene, butterflies invaded my tummy. I was as excited, nervous, and afraid in a way I’ve not been through my entire book. This was, in part, because I am so afraid for Deheya, and did not want this happen to her. I can think of nothing that would be worse than a mother losing her child. One day, I hope to be a mother. And the thought of breaking that bond terrifies me.
I looked at the last six scenes in Part Three. After some reflection, I decided to shrink the number of scenes down. The new next scene combined Deheya’s dawn in the marshes with Sharshin giving herself up to make sure Regar was not lonely. And the new next scene after that, combines crossing the Great River and Captain Eward being mortally wounded into a single scene, and will be the Dark Night Of The Soul. The almost last scene remains Dark Night Of The Soul. And the last scene remains Deheya’s redemption.
It’s day forty-six. I’ve completed 54 scenes, with 24 to go, unless I add scenes in Part Four. My word count reached 92,375. My target word count was 90,000. At the rate I am writing, I fear I will add another 40,000 words before I finish the story And one of my critter’s on Scribophile doubted I would go beyond 60,000 words.
I wrote on back-to-back days for one of the few times in August. I have six planned scenes remaining in Part Three. A not so little voice inside me is screaming to bring Part Three to a close in one monster scene. I will try not to panic, and stay with the plan.
At least, with the last six scenes, I return to Deheya. As I said in another post, I miss her. I’ve been in the heads of the men for so long, and I’ve felt so very uncomfortable writing about them. I wish I understood how men think. As someone once said, I just made them more emotional, impatient, and unable to think things through. I will find out with the Beta Readers whether I succeeded. Ha.
If you recall, in Scene Fifteen, Deheya’s father, Pia Isa, agonized over how to save his people. With his arch foe, Kuha Kaun, scoring win after win, he fears the three neutral clans may come in on the side of his enemy. He further agonized at the collapse of the Loyalist army, and bemoaned his ability to help them, for fear of starting a war with the winner, Christor. Because his people are in such dire straits, he cannot go and look for his daughter, but must send a surrogate across the Great River.
Life is definitely slowing my writing down. For the longest time, I was writing at least one scene a day. The last several scenes have come slowly. I’ve only written eight scenes in the first fourteen days of August. I will be going on vacation soon, and I don’t think I will be able to get any writing done. I hope I can finish Part Three before I break.
I will need to figure out what happens in Part Four, since my outline does not match where I’ve gone with Part Three. I fear a may not finish this story.
If you recall, in Scene Fourteen, Colonel Grimn sets out to rescue Regar, on to find it an impossible goal. Failing that, he searches for Deheya. He must call off his search when he encounters the defeated Loyalist Army. After deciding Colonel Naveen has no idea how to save it, he offers a helping hand.
In Scene Fifteen, we cross the Great River and join Pia Isa, Deheya’s father. He is only just recovered from a wound suffered in a treacherous attack by Kuha Kaun. During his convalescence, his trusted lieutenant, Kettaa Mezambia has led the White Feather responses to Kuha Kaun’s attacks in the Bend of the Great River, near River Bridge.
Today was a struggle to write the scene. I needed a scene to further underscore the Loyalist defeat, and put Deheya into motion, lost in the wilderness. So, this big, sprawling scene resulted. I approached it differently than any other scene, in that I allowed a number of scene jumps from one setting to another. But, I didn’t offer any sequel until the final segment in the scene. I will have to see how it plays out, once I get finished.
And I feel as if I’ve been away from Deheya for a long, long time. Writing through the eyes of the men seems strange. And I don’t know if I get as deeply into them as I do with her. Again, I will be curious to see how it reads once I approach the Revision stage.
If you recall, in Scene Thirteen, Deheya tried to escape River Bridge. In the flight to freedom, she became separated from her son, Regar.
In Scene Fourteen, we pick up with Colonel Grimn, moments after Regar’s kidnapping. The Colonel, along with his two fellow spies, Sargent Wolverstone and Corporal Tern, first fight for their lives, and then flee. When Major Hinkman takes Regar into the Citadel, Colonel Grimn decides he can do no more for the boy.
It’s day forty-two. Life has taken its toll on me, and I’ve slowed down. I wrote Scene Twelve two days ago, and Scene Thirteen today. I’ve completed 51 scenes, with 27 to go, unless I add scenes in Part Four. My word count stands at 85,363. I keep a separate Word file of my work, against possible disaster. If I were to print it out, it would be 214 pages of 8 1/2 x 11 paper.
As I write, it’s almost as if I’m reading the story. I know what I designed the scenes to do, but I have a less than crystal clear vision of how to write them than I did in Part One. I need more time to think about the scenes than I did. And the word count is back up, again.
If you recall, in Scene Eleven, the two armies met on a hill near Stone’s Arch. Lord Christor shattered the Loyalist Army, and her soldiers fled the battlefield. Lord Christor’s army, although victorious, suffered heavily, and might well have lost the battle had Colonel La Van not chosen to sit out the battle.
In Scene Twelve, we find Lord Corston with his commander, General Rina. Lord Corston is trying to understand how they could have lost, and what it all means. The cost of battle, with so many men killed or wounded, horrifies Lord Corston.