I finished a book called Elements of Writing Fiction -- Beginnings, Middles, and Ends by Nancy Kress. amberley loaned to me, and I bought a copy as soon as I got home. laughter A lot of it is beginner stuff, but a lot of it is just stuff I've been doing on instinct rather than with the deliberation and thought I now really want to put into any story, and I can see why I want to. It's general enough for nearly any fiction one would write, but specific enough in the exercises that I could see how each section of it could really hone ones point, no matter what that point is, in any kind of work.
I haven't actually read anything she's written. But now I'm tempted.
It's funny... when I first started Twin Souls, I wrote chapters 1-4 pretty much straight through. Then I wrote the rescue chapters because of sophiap's comment about the missing Shunsui. And then I wrote a chapter that happens the *next* year's spring, and realized that I had a lot of bridging to do to get there.
Then I got the dream for "Under Wing" and had to write that, and a discussion with incandescens about Jyuushiro's TB and why it could no longer be infectious lead to the Infirmary. But then I realized that I had to bridge to the Rescue, by setting up the boys as decisive or hesitant, to show them more as they were before throwing them into becoming something different. Which ended up as Confrontation and Tactics. Which is pretty much why I posted four chapters all at once (within days of each other) because the Rescue resulted in a bunch of stuff I had to set up about the characters before their choices would make a damned bit of sense.
But Tactics introduced the whole tactics team and then Jyuushiro's cold led to Shunsui having to do something... and they all have become something entirely different than I could have even imagined when I first wrote that "seventh" chapter.
But a lot of my work in setting up the characters for the choices they make was a technique in Kress' book that really made sense to me... for a character driven plot the character choices have to make sense when they're made. So it was kind of cool to get confirmation in how all that worked out.
But it's also clear now that that old seventh chapter now doesn't fit in at all with the plot as it's now unfolding. It was good. It's now moot, but kind of fun. It's also got something that I'm now realizing, after reading the Kress book, that would have actually taken away from what should be a good, solid meeting of all the powers I'm now pulling in for a real climax. I'm considering just posting it as kind of an AU to Twin Souls, and when folks see it they'll see why it no longer fits; but elements of it have already been incorporated in what they've seen since the Rescue. Especially since incandescens went to the effort of beta'ing it way back when.
It's really cool, though, to see why starting with the idea that "I'm going to show how Shunsui and Jyuushiro obtain shikai together" as the one sentence goal of the whole thing has really focused and crystallized exactly what's important and what's not in each of the chapters. Anything that wasn't heading towards that could be discarded.
So it was very neat to read this book now. grin Should make the rest of the ride all the more interesting.