Progress Journal for Aramis Gothboi: Book One
Mog’s ongoing account of completing the first draft.
Total word count: 8,623
It’s two steps forward and one step back this week with the word count only growing by about 200 words as most of the work was just cleaning up what I put down last week. Using the word count as a measurement of progress is not always accurate to reflect the work put in. Edits and subsequent revisions almost always require the tightening of sentences when creating clarity on the page. The aim of this project, however, is building that word count. Anything I add must offset what is removed in these edits and I need to get a lot more on the page than 200 words a week if I want to achieve my goal.
As follow-up to last week’s prologue conundrum, I found this video from Jenna Moreci that discusses the issues I mentioned up in that journal entry. Have a watch if it interests you. The points Jenna makes helped me a little in ironing out my thoughts, which is part of the reason I spent so much time editing this week.
It’s been an interesting week, that’s for sure. I didn’t plan on getting much done as I’d picked up a few extra hours at my day job in preparation for what was going to be the upcoming Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I needed to prepare for being time-poor over that month while I did a little work reviewing shows and cross-promoting with other content on this site. Turns out, however, that nobody anticipated the declaration of a pandemic and the effect this would have on the live entertainment industry as a whole.
On that note, my thoughts are with each and every one of those affected by the cancellation of the festival, their shows, and their sources of income. It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth to put in so much work preparing for something that means so much to you only to have to pull the plug at the last minute.
The whole world is in a state of panic over COVID-19 right now, and understandably so. If like me, you’re a bit of a homebody anyway and don’t have anyone currently suffering from or in a direct line of risk, are you seeing this time as an opportunity to get work on a project done? With social distancing now a thing I’m allowed to do without being labelled antisocial, I have no excuse not to stay at home and write.
One problem, however, is that I seem to be doing even less than usual now that I have more free time in my schedule – a trend that I will need to cease immediately (I’m hoping that writing this is the first step toward instigating some change here).
This week I’ll push forward with chapter one, which is currently at 404 words. As mentioned in the previous entry, the existing text for chapter one is from a previous draft of the prologue, which is why it’s so short. I’ll need to swap a few elements around again as I don’t really want to drop my readers in to a (pretty dull to be honest) conversation about what has passed and what may come for our protagonist Jo. This is not how you start a book.
Your first page and chapter really ought to hit the ground running. By throwing your reader into the action and giving them a taste of what to expect is a much better way to introduce your character. I’ve got to remember that my readers are smart and that if the prose is enticing enough, they’ll stick around to find out where it’s all going, and I don’t need to lay it all out in the first paragraph like an essay.
It’s still early days, but with each passing week I’m growing more aware of the monumental task ahead. I can’t help but notice that it’s also nice day out, but the conditions are perfect to stay in and write too. That said, I should wrap this up and get back to work.
The bonus material I have for you this week is just this one extremely early sketch of the book’s primary characters Jo and the Worm Boys that comes from the work I did when developing a comic version of this story in 2012.
Loofah’s design changed quite a lot from this first sketch. Jo and Noodel changed a little, but retained much of what you see here. Also note that Jo was still called Jophus at this point – in early scripts she was a boy character.
In closing, Remember that in this brave new world (or is it closer to 1984?), we must be ever vigilant to stay positive and carry on during these interesting times. Let me know in the comments how being urged to stay home is affecting you, and what you’re doing to keep the routine and your positive outlook.