(I am completely unemployed thanks to a canceled contract and have lots of nervous energy to burn, so blogging will be daily until one of those things changes. If you’re a blog subscriber and the email notifications get irksome, there’s an “Unsubscribe” option at the bottom of every email. I fully support anyone’s quest for peace and quiet, including in their inbox.)
I don’t remember what I was looking for in the manuscript the other day, but I tangentially noticed the first four people the heroine interacts with are dudes. “This world is a sausagefest” is not the precedent I want to set, considering I deliberately made every significant character later a woman. I had this observation in time to write Backstory Bandit as nonbinary. I can rewrite the first character as a woman, but that goes in the revision notebook rather than reversing course to change it right this minute. That makes 40% fem (counting the heroine)/40% masc/20% NB right out of the gate, which better reflects the population. It’s one of those things probably no one else would ever consciously notice, but I feel better when worldbuilding permeates the micro level.
As for today’s actual word production, it was time for the heroine and hero to have their first major chat. The first time they met, she turned down his job offer before even hearing what it entailed because she’s done doing other people’s dirty work. Today, she heard the whole proposal (the version he wanted her to hear, anyway) and made an informed decision—which was no, nuh-uh, not ever, goodbye.
I think The Hero’s Journey is an overhyped tool, but “refusing the call (to action)” is always a fun step. When there are hundreds of pages left in a story, we all know the protagonist has to get on board with the plot eventually, and we want to know what happens to change NO to YES (or at least UGH, FINE, IF I HAVE TO). The harder they resist, the bigger the shove has to be, and right now my heroine wants nothing to do with this dude’s problems.
So tomorrow the shoving begins in earnest. [insert villainous laugh here]
Now that I have some distance from “this has to be suitable for consumption by another human being today,” my bare-bones strategy is fully back in effect. When I don’t want to fuss with describing characters’ physical position in a setting, I type BLOCKING and move on. When a character is getting a good look at something for the first time, I type DESCRIPTION and move on. If I don’t have the perfect name for a person or place mentioned only in passing, I type NAME and move on.
Second drafts are the worst because I have to write all the bits I avoided earlier, but avoiding the cosmetic parts I hate doing is what gets the first draft finished.