Been a long time since I posted — lotsa reasons for that. The main one being that writing progress on BK2 has been rough.
I’ve realized that while I can outline the big picture / main storylines, I pretty much “pants” the nitty gritty.
Here’s what I mean. Spoiler-y stuff from here on.
I have the “roadmap” for Odin’s story in Book Two (BK2), but he needs more than those anchor scenes. All my characters do. The burning question for Odin in particular has been: WTF is he doing?
I planned some of those scenes, but the new stuff (like all the scenes) need to:
- Advance the overall plot
- Advance his own arc
- Reveal/show new aspects of Odin’s character and/or relationships
- Go deeper on known aspects of Odin’s character and/or relationships
- Twist, twist, twist so the scene doesn’t end up exactly how the reader expects when starting the scene/chapter.
Here’s a more specific example. And here come those spoilers of Book One (BK1) and Book Two. Not huge spoilers, though.
Toward the end of BK2, Odin finally goes to speak with Hodr. I want them to have a confrontation over what Hodr did in BK1, but tempered by what Frigg has just discovered & related to Odin.
The scene is in Odin’s POV. He confronts Hodr (who is expecting to either be killed right there or be given the date of his public execution), but that’s not what Odin’s planning.
And here’s the “pants-ing” elements I referred to earlier. While I’m writing the scene, I remember that Hodr showed up in Gladsheim with one of the youth-bestowing, golden fruits of Yggdrasil. He had it on him at the end of BK1, so he should still have it on him in BK2.
So, I write the golden fruit into the scene, placed prominently (w/o realizing the implications of that when I wrote the words).
My “plotted” goals for the scene were:
- Test what Frigg just told him
- Pump Hodr for additional info
I next remember that Odin hasn’t inspected the spear Hodr used to kill Baldr. So, I write that in. Then I figure that Odin would want to test what the spear’s magic does. So I write that in — Odin makes Hodr take it (test and guilt trip at the same time).
Here’s the twist that I also pants’d: The spear’s magic lets Hodr see something really freaky about Odin & his missing eye. Hodr throws up it’s so freaky.
Odin’s like “ew, gross” and is also shocked — “what did Hodr see?” — so Odin’s original goal is out the window. Now he has to find out what Hodr saw.
Odin next calls for a thrall to come and clean up the mess. Like you do. She enters, cleans up and Odin realizes that oh, crap, she’s seen the golden fruit — which I placed prominently.
Well, Odin never lets anyone see those fruits (except for the tight circle of jarls). Those fruits are a major part of the jarls’ grip on power.
So, here’s the next completely pants-d twist: Odin decides to murder the thrall. (But I imply it rather than state it outright, at least in the first draft.)
How he incapacitates her foreshadows what Odin does at the end of BK2. That he murders anyone at all is a character trait reveal and foreshadowing. It’s also meant to indirectly make Loki more sympathetic and contradict Marvel’s portrayal of Odin as a kindly old man.
What frustrates me about all of the above is how much I’m still learning about my own process. I couldn’t have outlined my way into the specific events of that scene. But maybe all (or most) of what I described above is totally normal for others authors. I dunno. I’d imagine at least some of it is.
Part of the reason I’m behind on writing BK2 is b/c I spent about 6 weeks outlining, outlining and outlining. Yet here I am months later, completely pants-ing stuff. I mean, maybe I saved some time by outlining some/most of the big picture, but it doesn’t feel like it right now.