Word count 752
Writing time: 3+ hours.
Okay, after my initial farcical attempts at breaking ground, I went back to it and started in earnest, and figure I should reflect on the journey by keeping some kind of distance marker to chart my progress. So far I have come up with a serviceable opening line, and made several important decisions.
I am going to write this one in third person, as opposed to first person like I did in Irrelevant Experience. I wasn’t really sure about what would be best, and procrastinated making a decision over this. However, after writing the opening few pages in both, I decided on third person was going to be better. While first person has a sense of intimacy and immediacy, I quickly found I could actually write more and from a broader scope if I was to move the perspective outside the head of the main character. Also I remember the comments from Christy my editor about how I would often use phrases and words that belonged in my mouth rather than the style of my main character. This was frustrating in its own way, because my vocabulary is broader and it was limiting to stay “in character” for the duration of the book. Hopefully by writing third person it will free me up to do more.
I’m in the process of introducing the main characters, which is going to be a bit different this time around. As the story opens on the first day of clinical training, with a new cohort of trainees, there is going to have to be a bit of info dumping, not just of characters, but of some of the details of what this kind of programme involves. It’s going to be a challenge to a) introduce the material without coming across like a brochure and b) overwhelming the reader with too much information before the story gets started. In books and films, one of the best ways to annoy me is to have obvious exposition spat out at the viewer in the manner of “As you already know Mr Bond, the giant laser is aimed over Paris and Professor Deathbringer is trying to blackmail the UN”. If Bond already knows this, why the hell is another character telling him this stuff? Similarly, I don’t want to go down the Tom Clancy way of making “details and specification porn” where obscure terms and concepts are fetishised and often get in the way of telling the story. I think the challenge is going to be weaving in the story with the explanation of what is happening, while keeping the plot running.
Also as the main character from the first book is going to be a secondary character in this one, how much old ground do I need to go over? I would like someone who only reads this to get an understanding, but I don’t want to alienate anyone who has read the last one by telling them what they may already know. I guess there is always the fact that it comes from a different perspective this time, which could keep it fresh, but its going to have to be something I pay attention to.
What is fortunate is that the first scene takes place on the first day of the first term, which has its own structure that I don’t need to worry about. There are going to be naturalistic avenues for introductions and explanations, so it doesn’t have to sound too forced. Still I do need to decide what is covered immediately and what can wait. Lets hope I can keep this up …