So it’s been just over a fortnight now since I began the process of editing my story that started out as a challenge to write 100 words a day for a year, so I thought I would post a little update as to how it’s going.
First off: it makes sense! This was genuinely a big fear of mine due to the way I wrote it i.e. write 100 words one day with no idea where it was going and then do the same again and again without really looking back. I was worried that the whole piece would be one big garbled mess with no clear narrative, just a sequence of snippets loosely held together. Thankfully this is not the case! A lot of that I think is more luck than judgement as the story lends itself to being written in this was as it is essentially the story of a group of people going on a journey, never knowing where they are going to go or what they are going to see next. This means I have what I hoped to have: the bones of a story. There’s still a lot that needs to be done. But I have something substantial to build upon.
So far I have been re-reading the story as I have not read any of it since I wrote it. As I go along I’ve been making notes, some about minor changes such as sentence structure or choice of words, others have been pretty major questions about plot and character as I attempt to build the story into even more of a coherent and quality narrative. I’m about a third of the way through and plan on reading it again after this time and to make more notes then. This is because I’ve realised I have managed to forget a lot of the things I wrote. Reading it all through twice will give me a better sense of the order of events and how they impact on the characters, how they affect the flow of the story etc.
One of the big changes I need to make involves characters, namely that I need some. This is the main way in which the way I wrote this story did not help. Essentially because I was more concerned with keeping the story moving and trying to have it make sense I neglected characters. The central character of the man is fine seeing as I intentionally did very little to develop him, preferring to keep him as a mysterious being. But the villagers who he takes with him are essentially just that, “the villagers”. They are all lumped together as his followers and faceless pawns. Every now and then I would briefly bring one to the foreground for plot purposes. But within a day or two I would forget about them and they would be bundled in with the others again. This then clearly needs to change. Like I said, the man is intentionally given little development or back story. But the villagers are who the reader will identify with, they are the ones who will change and develop over the course of the story. They are also a good opportunity as although I stress they are a small group there are several of them so I can develop a diverse range of characters who will be impacted differently by the weird and wonderful events of the story. To deal with this as I go through the story I am also making note of all of the different events that occur. When I finish my first read through I am going to create the villager’s characters, each one individually, and plot them against each of the events to map out how each of these events affects their character and so develop their arcs. This should add a lot more life to the story and make it better for the reader.
Aside from the writing side I’ve also started thinking about the marketing side as though it’s a long way off at some point I will be self-publishing this story and so will need all the help I can get. Of course I’ll be using my own social media to try and get the word out but that is rather limited. So far I’m thinking of contacting the local newspaper and my old university as I think that the way in which I wrote this story is unique and would be of interest to other aspiring writers and anyone with an interest in literature. Of course I’m welcome to any suggestions as without the backing of a publisher any exposure I can get is a bonus. Still though that is a long way off.
So that’s about all for now. There’s still a lot of notes to make and reading to be done, characters to be formed, and eventually some writing. I’ve decided to end these updates with a snippet from the story so I leave you with this.
The children felt the breeze before they heard it. It tickled across their skin softly at first, then it picked up enough force to blow away the oppressive silence and they heard it roar, rattling the leaves and branches of the trees. It died as quickly as it came. The children revelled to hear their breathing and the other minute sounds normally unappreciated. Then they heard the singing. It was everywhere, above and below, left and right, from without and within. It was singing not of meaning, but of sound alone, celebrating the beauty of sound. That was its only cause.
In the years after they heard the singing they would never be able to recreate what it sounded like, they would never even be able to remember it correctly. But when they tried to recall it they would always remember the feeling of it, a warm balm coating every aspect of their being. To hear the singing as they walked on made them walk with a renewed confidence, to grow in spirit, and, they realised looking at each other, literally. They returned to their adult forms and the baby wriggled free to walk as a child and then, the man.
He filled out the garments which had been cavernous for the baby and strode in with such purpose and vigour in the direction which the villagers had been walking that they felt vindicated. The song only grew louder as they followed. Emboldened by the return of their guide and the spiritual salve of the music the villagers jogged after the man. The sunlight grew stronger and they realised the canopy of trees was thinning. Smaller plants grew now on the ground, breaking the monotony that was behind them. They reached the edge of the forest and looked upon a city.
This was the first time the villagers had ever seen a city . They had never before seen such a large impact made on the world by people. The city was entirely built of white rock which made it contrast with the entirely natural and colourful scene around it. It was nestled in a great bowl rimmed on all sides with forest. Waterfalls cascaded here and there, sending rivers and streams to slake the city. Within the high white walls ringing the city were buildings also of white, which grew in stature to the centre where the tallest of all stood.
“This is not the largest city built by man, but it is the most beautiful,” said the man, not quite smiling, but his face had softened showing his admiration for this metropolis. A slight vibration on the wind carried the sound of the city to the villagers. Even from this distance it could be heard and they marvelled at the size of the city. The man dragged himself away from the sight to pull aside an overhanging bush revealing a hidden path which worked its way down to the bottom of the bowl, running back and forth along the cliff.