Day 4 2003
There's already a worrying expansion of subordinate characters going on. This is okay and it lets the logs roll and dare I say it generates more words. But some of that will get junked later.
I know why this is happening. I've seen it before. It's because I'm holding back - deliberately - on some major information about my protagonist so that I can reveal it exactly when I want to. This means that the characters around her are plumping out, fattening on the space made available by this strategy. The vacuum pulls 'em in to centre stage.
They announce their intentions by demanding more back-story than perhaps you'd intended. All good and healthy but it needs to be kept in check. Down, you wantons, down!
There are two problems. One lies in the temptation to have characters reminisce this back-story into being. If this becomes weighty your story can get unbalanced or it can derail forward momentum. The second problem is a personal one in that I have a ready habit of over-complication, This is fine for a complex novel like Memoirs Of A Master Forger, where you want lots of plates spinning at the same time. But here I want to keep the red line of the narrative clean and simple. I do eventually want to write another William Heaney novel, but it's not this one.
So these issues arise when you allow subordinate characters to grow overfat, and if that happens they get hungry for - and even start to earn - their own stories.
This business of withholding stuff about the protagonist might cause early-engagement problems. Right now, apart from muttering about these things right here, I'm hammering on. Big fixes can and must come in draft two.
I get the impression some friends are actually reading this blog, so that encourages me to get a good word-count. Thanks for being here! It helps.
Look you: a smug 2003 words today.