So. For The Fire God and Nothing. Let’s make these goals concrete.
Currently the first section of the story is 2800 words. Originally it was intended as the first of three sections. Then I realized that to tell the whole story as I intended it would take novella or novelette length. And that led me scurrying for cover–which is to say, I’m terrified of anything of that length. Terrified because failure seems inevitable.
But while looking at possible markets for stories, it occurred to me that this might be a good fit for Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Their length is 11,000 words and this gives me a constraint to work with: develop the world, finish the story, do both within this number of words. If I take 11,000 as the end goal, then I’m slightly over one half. The problem is, of course, that in this half I’ve only just defined her goals/questions as the immediate, stay alive, and the bigger one, do we change the gods, which is intended as the overarching question of the story.
[son is still crying. He’s really not settling. Checking him again to see if I’m being shitty or smart by letting him cry.]
[now he’s sleeping. to resume]
But. but but but. What if I walk somewhere down the middle? In other words, I look for a natural and satisfying stopping point at 11,000 words and that point would constitute the first third (or fourth or half, whatever makes sense) of a total novel (or novella, novelette, which ever length makes the most sense when I know how long the total will be). Also, if the story is perfect at that length, I don’t necessarily need to write the next part: sometimes stories are most satisfying when they are slight untold (for instance, I was much happier experiencing the lovestory of Luke and Leia’s parents as a myth rather than once it was actually given screen time. sometimes less is more.) Maybe it just needs to be clear where I plan for the story to go at the ending point.
So. how to get there.
The first section is about being introduced to the world (the gods, the tribes, jestermen), getting her to where she is alive (this will require some rebuilding of her body so that the fire is contained and not eating away at her slowly). But as that fulfills the goal of the first chunk I’ve written, the first section then needs to end with another goal.
[crying again. he was quite was I was doing other stuff, but the moment I switch to #100Days…]
Perhaps this new goal then becomes the one that sustains till the end of the story (or alternatively lets the reader know where I have been headed all along with this character without that half of the story needing to be told. we’ll see)
I’ve also caught myself in a story-logic problem: I have her threatening to extinguish the flame in her belly with damp leaves, which enrages the jesterman and then brings rain. Which makes no damn sense. Also, why is the jesterman there at all? The scavangermen called him, but her body has been place in the burnt forest for everyone to use.