Trouble with The Tapestry

The alliteration in the title of this post frustrates me a little… partially because I feel as if there should be no alliteration in a grown-up post. But there you go.

I’m rewriting The Tapestry… which is something of a process. I planned out the entire novel (in its entirety! THE WHOLE THING!) in January, in little things called incidents. Which, if you look at the idea, is something like this:

Explanation of Incidents

If Emeli wants to take X action…

A determined/sad/desperate/ridiculously-happy Emeli, after/before/at some period of time, attempts some Big Thing (or small thing, it’s really your choice), and experiences a setback.

^ That thing leads into another incident, either another action incident or… a dilemma incident!

If Yazmeen is deliberating on X problem…

After/before/at some period of time, a perplexed/frustrated/dying-of-hunger Yazmeen needs to make a decision between X and Y thing. After a ridiculous amount of deliberation, a yak butts Yazmeen in the head/some action happens to force him to make a decision.

And onward to another incident!

So that’s the gist of it. Please note that I did not invent it. Rather, Ruv Draba off Scribophile did—or at least, that’s where I got the technique.  I wrote 150 of those little incidents instead of the 50 I’d planned on writing in December, because the book kept expanding (and scaring me). Now I’m faced with actually writing those scenes. I’ve written up to the 42 incident mark… which according to my guesstimations means that the book itself will total about 120,000 words. < This is a scary number. I would have loved this number when I was 15. Now it just tells me it’s a bit too long.

However, even that marvelous discovery does not solve my current problem—the fact that I am now entering the scary middle part of the book, where Emeli, Yazmeen, Margya, and Lizzi (and Nakong!) all have interesting things going on at the same time. I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to have six adults living in close quarters. I don’t think I’m yet skilled enough to keep them all happy with the amount of screen time they’re getting, nor do I feel as if I know what two-thirds of them are doing at any given time. It may be a writer myth that we’re supposed to know that… because I certainly do not.

The next book will feature fewer mandatory characters.

In any case, the trouble currently is that Emeli has one thing that she needs to prepare, Yazmeen has talks and errands to run, Margya is beginning to get out of the house, Lizzi and Nakong also each have their own deal that must be resolved and is rather a big thing for the rest of the book. And I’m not certain any longer how to fit it into however many chapters I have left.

But! I suppose that probably just requires a small piece of white paper so that I can hammer details out of how I want the next three chapters to go. Thankfully the true hard work was done in January.

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