Second Draft Drama (With Questionnaire)

For my “fantasy” side of my dark fantasy novel series, I created a World Immersion checklist for myself to make sure I have continuity from chapter to chapter. Here’s how it goes:

  • Setting descriptions
  • Lore Continuity
  • Magic System Rule Review
  • Character Placement
  • Character Dialogue/Dialect Accuracy
  • Story Flow

Not bad right? I think that’ll be solid enough. I also created a review questionnaire for myself to reflect on how I’m doing as a writer. Here are my answers for the prologue:

Panicking Over Fight Scenes and Magic Systems

The magic abilities assigned to each character reflect their personality and develop overtime, but I almost bombard them with restrictions, not just for conflict, but for strategic problem solving. In the world setting of my story, everyone is a mage or a magical being and they are all part of various societies that have laws for and against particular paths of magic. There is a reigning government in place that most of the mages and magical beings respect, but there are some “outlaws”, for lack of a better term. So while I was thinking about the structure I have in place, I was also thinking about what makes a good magic battle. Combining my own imagination with Timothy’s advice, here’s what I came up with…

Jeremiad: “A prophecy that evildoing will bring on destruction; a lament. The term is an allusion to the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, who wrote both kinds of works,” – The NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms

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My Take on a Jeremiad

So angst + prophetic vision + telling the vision to everyone while being angsty = a jeremiad. Lol okay maybe it’s more than that. A jeremiad in literature is a work of prose that is sorrowful and prophetic. It has also been used as a plot device.

The power of prophecy is significant in storytelling, especially stories of adventure, mythology, legends, etc. Fantasy and even some horror stories use jeremiads the most, it seems. It can be exposition or be part of some rising or falling action. In yesterday’s post, I discussed Dan Harmon’s Story Circle and I think a jeremiad could work as an element of order or chaos. What if the protagonist’s desire is to prevent the jeremiad from becoming true? What if they are a crucial part of the prophecy? Are they the cause of the impending doom or are they the stopper of doom? A jeremiad has been used to the point of being a bit cliché, but I’m still planning to use it in my novel. I have a prophecy in mind and it gives my protagonist the “chosen one” ambience, but prophecy is often as influential and as powerful as those who truly believe in it and that’s what I want to test with my characters. However, there are also things in life we can’t control even when we’re forewarned about it. I guess a jeremiad can bring our characters to surrender or undying resilience, as plot devices should beckon some kind of great change in our characters…but what do you think? Is a jeremiad and the use of prophecy that constrained? Is it dying out in fiction since we live in a postmodernist age? Comment below.

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The system I have in place has been going quite well. Here’s a preview of the editing key I created on Instagram.

It took me a couple of hours just to edit six pages…out of 470ish? Haha. It’s great fun, actually. After stressing over the ending and coming back to the beginning, the ending looks clearer and easier to manage. For now, I’m at the beginning, relearning how to write exposition well. I found a great video for that actually.

320x50 Got an Idea?

This is the same channel I recommended on my Magic Systems post. I’m definitely going to be sharing more resources in the future. I’m hunting for them constantly and get excited when they have damn good advice. Hope this helps anyone who needs it. Speaking of which, here are two of the books I’m currently studying right now, just to get the basics down and start thinking outside the box. Click on the pictures to check them out.

Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft 9th ed. by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, and Ned Stuckey-French – Great for learning the basics of fiction and storytelling and good for review. I’m pretty sure I got this book in college.

Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot by Jane K. Cleland – I bought this a couple years ago. More than anything, this book reminds you to keep your audience in mind and helps you keep your writing fresh and inventive.

Hope that helps anyone who needs it. I’m grateful to have them…obviously

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Word Count Today: 2822 words
Current Word Total: 102,920 words

No research today.

Additional Work Needed:

  • Creating certain spells and incantations for characters
  • Should I create a new language? Will I hate myself if I do? Probably
  • Continuity checks on character arcs

I’m ultra proud of my writing sprint today.

I’ve broken 100k and I’m predicting I may reach 150k. That might be because a friend challenged me to reach it, but who knows how far it’ll go. Honestly, writing at the end of the second act is such an intense time for writing, at least for me. The momentum is nonstop. My imagination won’t stop. Nothing stops. I’m enjoying it. I’m even happier that I have an ending to keep my focus on. I see the finish line. I’m ready to cross it.

Tomorrow will be the last day of airplane travel. I’ll definitely be doing some writing before hand and on the way. I will admit, the pressure of the deadline is helping so much, but I’m also unsure if I’ll actually meet it lmao! I’m still going to try, but there’s still so much! My chapters are getting longer, my descriptions of my world are becoming more dense, and my characters are so much more fun to delve into and it’s fun to think about how I want the audience to take them in. This project is so much work.

I love it. No complaints whatsoever. I’mma reach that deadline, damn it.

Here’s my novel summary that I’m probably going to have on my book cover soon.

Initiation – The Spirit Strings Series
Genre: Dark Science Fantasy

Magic is regulated under a strict, theocratic movement with global rule on the planet Terrana. The Terrans, paralleling humans in appearance, were created to observe Earth and learn from human civilization to fulfill a 3000-year-old prophecy that will restore Earth from its dystopian, magic-deprived state. Most Terrans are obedient to their theistic government, but Violet LaCroix has arcane power refusing to be oppressed. She’s hidden her multifaceted magic since she was a child. The day she decides to let her power flow changes her life completely, starting with a criminal charge for performing necromancy. To save herself from merciless persecution from the government’s elite organization that hunts disobedient mages, she’s forced to join a resourceful cult that promises her refuge in exchange for her joining their coup de t’at. Violet goes from model graduating student ready for college to joining a cult of rogue mages eager to liberate Terrana from magical oppression and hoping she’ll bring the power needed to end a war between mages, deities, and unknown forces lasting for millennia.

What do you think?

Words Written: 2240
Current Word Count Total: 91,203

Research Topics:
– GOAT DEMONS!
– First and final draft plotting/organization ideas

Additional Work:
– Polished some character design/backstory
– Made major editing changes

Work Process: Well, first of all, I have some amazing writing music (the tracks by Raydar are SO GOOD).

Second, holy shit. I had a lot of fun! I love writing fight scenes! Doing my research the other day certainly helped (Bless you, Tolkien!). Although I know I’m really going to have to go back and consider my diction more carefully when I’m in second draft mode, I certainly feel like I made a breakthrough. Magic is hard to choreograph, especially when it involves so many demons and the undead…and wielding elements in a way you HOPE doesn’t remind people too much of Avatar: The Last Airbender (I don’t even have a lot of martial arts in this chapter). Still great though.

I also noticed, compared to some authortubers I checked out today, I don’t really organize my plot with sticky notes or on a board or whatever until doing the second draft. I have written some chapter summaries down and it helps me link to past chapters, but I can’t really plot the whole story from beginning to end with notes or stickies because it’s still fresh in my head. When I write it out, it just sort of happens. The character arcs and main plot just flow. I usually pause when I’m fleshing out lore or a character background, but that’s about it.

Okay, I’m really exhausted. I wrote for four hours straight. Hella proud. Good job me.

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What I’m going to discuss is nothing new to fantasy writers. I’m just expressing my excitement. I discovered a more analytical way to explain the magic system of my world without infodumping. Because if you’re going to be a hunter of mages and witches, you better know your s**t. Although my hunters fight fire with fire (literally and figuratively), I don’t want the combat scenes to be the only way my audience sees magic in action. As someone who performs witchcraft, I know there’s so much more to magic than fighting, healing, cursing, banishing, empowering, and the like. There’s a way you should study magic where you do your best to understand its limitations and potential when it flows through yourself and others or else things backfire and get messy. I think the best magicians in history and now are the ones who developed a sort of classification for types of magic that are not just informative, but also personal while avoiding permanence. There should be a balance or correspondence like the hermetic teachings emphasize. I don’t believe all magical techniques are meant to be uniform because sometimes magic is just an experiential whirlwind, but there’s something really tantalizing and sexy about analytical breakdowns for the sake of efficiency.

Or maybe my sapiosexual, Aquarian energy gives me weird kinks. I don’t know. Don’t judge me.

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(Featured Image Source: I couldn’t find the name of the original artist. If you know, please tell me in the comments. Thanks.)

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