I’m very, very, very happy to say that I’ve got a second draft done of “act one” of The Rule of Iron! This currently works out to be the first five chapters, but I wouldn’t be surprised if chapter divisions change up at some point in the future. Calling this segment “act one” isn’t to imply that I’m a third of the way through the draft (I wish!). It’s more accurate to think of this as going from the beginning up to the inciting incident – the point at which things change, and the protagonist is thrown into a long and drawn-out struggle. In Star Wars, this is where Uncle Owen & Aunt Beru get killed by the Stormtroopers.
My first instinct was to print it out, and start going over it again. As I was going over this, though, I found that it felt like I was frittering over the changes I made. It was like I was neutering the text, not improving it. So, instead I just went ahead and started offering the completed portion to a few friends to read, and I’m waiting on their replies. I think I just need to leave my already-edited text aside, and try moving forward.
Speaking of moving forward, I’ve found myself in a rut the last few days. Part of why I just went ahead and edited this first bit is that it is through “act two” – the long, drawn out portion of a story where the protagonist tries, and fails, and tries again – that I have the most work to do. I initially tried just plotting and then rewriting a great big swathe of this, but… that just felt awful. It just didn’t feel good to go back and rewrite my way through all that mess.
I might go ahead and continue just editing the text as-is, like I have been doing with “act one.” I don’t know if I’ll do this before or after getting back some beta feedback. Whenever I try thinking through what needs to be done, I find myself wallowing, unable to determine the best place to start chipping away. I can’t figure out how to break the project down.
On the upside, I ended up scribbling some notes for a short story (set within the same world as Rule), and I’ve got the first few hundred words writtten. I’m sorely tempted to just keep working on that story, and see where it goes. Much as I’d like to avoid writer’s ADHD, it might be wisest for me to keep working on that story while waiting for feedback on Rule.
Of course, a lot of this is relying on the wishful thinking that receiving feedback on my work might suddenly illuminate where I need to go. It might, but I really ought not count on it.