Funny how timelines expose problems.
On Saturday morning I sat down with pencil and paper and continued my handwritten outline while looking at my existing BK2 Scrivener manuscript.
I was having problems with Hermod’s ride into Helheim. In the myths, a one-way trip takes her 9 days. Too long. So, in BK1 I condensed that to 3 days for Odin (6 days round trip). Much better.
So, in BK2 when Hermod rides Sleipnir (Odin’s horse) into Helheim it’s gotta take 6 days total.
Timeline problems ensue: She has to be back by Day X to deliver Message ABC which then spurs other characters to action.
The problem was that the pacing was off. (And it still might be.)
My fix: I ripped out a major event in the book’s middle(ish) that the first 1/4 of the story was building toward and made that event start the book.
And I thought my hands were bloody before? Eep.
That let Hermod leave earlier which partially fixed the problem. It also heightened the conflict between Frigg and Odin, cast Loki in a different light, and got Vidar to Gladsheim sooner — along with Hyrrokin & Vaft. Pretty good change in light of those benefits. (I’ll come to the downside in a minute.)
Then I realized that, hey, I rehabilitated Heimdall at the end of BK1. What if he overheard the message Hermod was to deliver and relayed it to Odin?
That solved the problem. It also made Hermod’s conversation/message the reversal that kicks off the latter ~1/4 of the book and put Odin and Frigg into “take action” mode sooner.
What’s the downside? I have to rewrite the entire book! Not only are previously written scenes out of order (so they have to be redone), but POV characters aren’t in the right places, they’re in the wrong scenes, the events in the scenes are wrong, etc.
I’m not upset b/c a lot of the writing was junk and I kinda expected this to happen. N00b novelist, remember! 🙂
For all that, I think this will make BK2 better. Not only does it start stronger, but the turning points feel right. And the book’s climactic event remains the same, as does the cliffhanger.
But before I start writing, I’m going to re-outline everything again and again until it’s as right as I can get it before I sit down to write. I have to keep reminding myself b/c I keep trying to write instead of outlining.
As it stands now, BK2 is ~68K words long. 30K words will be easy to add since, as I mentioned in the prior post, I have several plot threads that need to be taken up in BK2.
And, check out this scene & avg word count:
- Frigg: 17, avg words per scene: 982
- Vaft: 3, avg words per scene: 1,131
- Hermod: 9, avg words per scene: 705
- Hyrrokin: 5, avg words per scene: 640
- Loki: 6, avg words per scene: 1,855
- Vidar: 10, avg words per scene: 1,320
- Odin: 12, avg words per scene: 1,055
These counts are not that meaningful since each one will be almost completely rewritten or thrown out. And, I’ll still be adding/removing scenes where appropriate. But, I’ve added the above to my tracking spreadsheet, so it’ll be interesting to see how it looks this time next year. Which, realistically, is probably about when I’ll be finishing the “first” draft before sending it to my editor.