This last week was a little different to the weeks before. I was visiting the wedding of one of my school mates in southern Germany. So while sitting in the plane, watching the clouds and while driving the small rental car, I had a lot of time to think about details in my story. I came up with several ideas, that I really find exciting. And I hope you will, too! Good thing I had my notepad with me all the time.
I continued to work through the existing manuscript and added some of the ideas I had last week and the week before. My initial plan was to shorten the manuscript and remove ideas that are cheesy or somehow uninspired, but I found that I still like most of the stuff I've written so far. The setup of the world is solid in my opinion and my future co-author will have a very good understanding of the story I want to tell. I am now working at the part, where the events start to evolve. And this is a lot harder to me, than describing environments or the moods of my characters.
If you read the manuscript (sorry, but I won't give it to you, yet), you would certainly understand what I mean. The way I write is that I explain the location, moods and happenings from the view of a single person. Of course I switch persons, so it's not a first person story. I realized that this is a style I favor, when I read the so-called Thrawn trilogy written by Timothy Zahn. It's the continuation of the adventures of Luke, Leia and Han after Star Wars Episode VI. The books are now considered legends, which means they are not part of the official Star Wars story any more, but I would still consider them one of the best Star Wars books ever written. Go catch a copy, if you are looking for something to read right now.
Don't get me wrong, I don't try to copy Timothy's style, but I use his way of describing a person's motives by jumping into her or his mind and telling the story from their view. When you switch characters then, you may describe the same situation, but from a different angle, and this is a means of style I work with.
But it's harder for me to describe intense events in this way. I had to rewrite several sentences in this middle part of the manuscript. The hard part is that you may only describe things, that the character is able to see or notice. You can't, for example, describe motives or decisions of the other characters present, as long as they don't act on them. It's just more work to write this way. But it's also much more fun to me! I hope to achieve a slowly unfolding story by using this technique. Hopefully, you as the reader will bond with the characters while you discover the truth behind all the events together with them at the same time.
But this additional effort means, that I am not through with the whole story, yet. Which means the script is not yet at the translator. But I thought I need to make a rough plan. Even though I am working agile in this project, I felt I needed a mile stone to work with. In my head I decided, that I want the first act to be available for you to read on January 1st, 2018, by the latest. And now that I have typed it down here, it's somehow official.
So even though there is still a lot of time, there is also still a lot to do. The good thing is, that some parts I struggled with, while the events of my story unfold, could be easily rewritten the following way: I switched the dialog of two characters and immediately they were true to themselves and I still could tell the same scene without changing much. This is how professional character development works, isn't it?
Also I read a few articles about how to write effectively. And I realized that I did it exactly in the suggested way, when I first drafted the manuscript back in 2014. Back then I just opened the document and wrote ahead. I didn't stop for re-edits or cared about minor spelling or grammar problems. I remove most of those errors now, while I am revisiting the script. The script will be translated anyway and some errors will probably appear after the translation. After that my co-author will step in and read it, hopefully correcting errors. And then I will have a lector and a spell checker, who will remove the remaining mistakes. I promise, you will get a flawless edition of the first act of my story.
Speaking of character development. I asked Julianne to create a second and third concept art for me. The second concept is for a side character. She will play a minor role in act 1. I described her as a strong-willed business woman and this is how Julianne imagined her:
In her first sketch she had glasses, and looked a little bit like a strict teacher. I asked Julianne to come up with an alternative, because I feel there won't be glasses in the world I create. The projected monocle is a perfect alternative to the glasses. Even though Julianne hasn't read the manuscript, yet, technology like this is described there. Well, who wouldn't dream of a co-worker like this...
The third character she is working on right now, will be one of the main characters. I am sure you will learn to love him. I am very excited to see the concepts. And I hope I can show you a picture next week.