The path of The Crane Girl has not been a straightforward one. I wrote 60,000 words on an abbreviated first draft and 7,000 words on a second. (For comparison, a typical novel is in the neighborhood of 80,000-120,000 words.) Then all progress halted for over a year as I recovered from illness.
I started up again in April, rebooting the story, keeping a few core elements but otherwise starting over from scratch. I researched history, mythology, religion, alchemy, tarot, fairy tales, and languages, among other things. I still have plenty of research left to do, and honestly, I didn’t think I’d start writing the next draft for a while.
But ideas turn to characters, and characters turn to scenes, and once a scene comes to life in your brain, it demands to be written. So, two weeks ago, I started the first draft of the rebooted story. I’m up to 13,000 words, or about 50 pages.
It’s good stuff. I don’t mean the quality of the writing – though I hope that’s good too – I mean the act of writing, the process of getting it on (digital) paper. It’s not like it has been sometimes before, where I sat staring at a blank screen, sweating blood, wishing I were doing anything else. It’s fun, and it’s not any more difficult than writing a novel is supposed to be.
To paraphrase Dune: “The words must flow.” And they are. The Emperor would be pleased.
There actually is an Emperor in The Crane Girl, though we haven’t gotten to him yet. His wife, the Empress, is the insane homicidal ruler of the High City – and she’s one of the good guys. Their daughter’s job is to watch and wait for the imminent Last Battle, but she’s getting antsy. Ethan, a boy from Earth, is inciting her to rebellion (and – naturally – falling in love with her too). His adoptive little sister, Sara, is drifting toward omniscience. Meanwhile, back in Kansas, Ethan and Sara’s mother is on the brink of losing it because she doesn’t know where they are – and that’s before she gets her magic powers. It’s all leading up to everyone’s favorite shindig: the apocalypse.
See? It’s gonna be fun. Complicated, but fun.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, chapter 9 ain’t gonna write itself.