Finishing the last (fingers crossed) edits on Book 3 and brainstorming for Book 4 (i.e. a direct sequel to book 3, not Strangers). And by “brainstorming” I mean noting all the loose ends / unfinished business in book 3, and looking at where all the characters are, what their goals are, and how their goals might clash and intersect.
Except I mentioned this in passing in a “how was your week” thread on a writing forum, and the group reacted like I’m attempting to walk backwards up Mount Everest while juggling chainsaws. Are you… are you not supposed to figure out character motivations? Like… how do you not… figure out character motivations?
I went to school for science, okay. I know things about outdated research technology and botany and sometimes, when I can remember them, names of bones and shit. They did not tell us how to write a novel outline in science college. That would have been completely counterproductive, you see. I learned how to write a research paper, with an abstract and charts and whatnot. That does not come in handy these days.
I truly and completely don’t know what I’m doing wrong. It sounds like most people were losing their heads over the fact that I had something like 20 characters in book 3. I’m pretty sure I had 20 named characters in book one. That doesn’t seem so extreme? Two narrators plus their families / love interests / inner circles is like 10 characters right there, and then there are side characters, antagonists, etc. I could name 20 people I know IRL easily, and I’m a dang hermit? I feel like I’m losing my mind. I need to set this down for a bit.
Probably not helping my mood is the fact that I followed up Chicory with a replay of Night in the Woods, a game I rabidly love and relate to, but that taps into a weird, depression-adjacent headspace. Which is one of the reasons I love it! But, you know. That plus being in an off mood can be an odd combination.
(I grew up in a town about two notches more urban than Possum Springs, in the same region it was based on. We had a big strip mall and a medium-sized hospital, and one heavy industry had managed to hold on through my childhood while a lot of nearby towns had lost theirs. But, well, a lot of things in the setting and the story feel very real, in a way that I just don’t see that often.)
(We lived there till I was midway through college, then moved a bit closer to the city. I went back to visit family who still lived there, but didn’t rove around much otherwise. Now I don’t have any reason to. But I still have dreams about riding bikes through it. Go figure.)
(A cursory Google search suggests that the plant is still open in the year of your lord 2022, somehow??? Wow. Wow. )
Anyway. Go Smelters.
[Edit: On the plus side, the “sign up for update emails” widget is now fixed. I … don’t know how long it was broken. Huh.]