WIP Wednesday #18: Republic of Words

This experiment in word metrics is 18 weeks old today. Join me in a celebratory shrug of modest satisfaction, won’t you?

I spent the weekend finishing up “The Hound’s Daughter”, a new Royal Occultist story. It’s a sequel to “The Return of the Hound” (which was a sequel to “Hochmuller’s Hound”), and continues the bloody tale of the Hound of Mons. The first draft topped out at 6k, but that may change at the editing stage. I wrote the story fairly quickly–around three days of writing, start to finish–but it needs tweaking. The pacing could do with a bit of tightening up, and some of the more indulgent dialogue needs to be excised. Also, it might could do with another small action sequence, to break up some of the aforementioned dialogue.

The story was fun to write, introducing several new characters I hope to get more use out of, including the abominable Dr. Wilfred Ptolemy, vivisectionist and follower of the forbidden rites of Bubastis. I wrote the story with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and with an eye to evoking the feel of an old black and white monster movie. There are hints of the gothic, a hidden lair, and a mad scientist, as well as a monster.”The Hound’s Daughter” is set to appear in the forthcoming Pulpwork Press Halloween Special.

Besides that, I’ve been working on the mid-draft revisions of The Sea Leopard. It’s less a complete overhaul so much as increasing the screentime of certain characters, and paying more attention to a few subplots. The draft isn’t radically changed from its initial concept; mostly I’m just shifting the focus to the political storyline, and away from the military. Less fighting, more talking-slash-assassinations. I think the changes will make for a stronger opening book, and it means I get to play with some of the characters longer, which is nice.

The draft still doesn’t have a bad guy, per se. It has antagonists, but no real villain. I don’t honestly know how I feel about that. The antagonists are varied–a politician, an assassin, and a pirate-chieftain, among others–but none of them are particularly evil. They’re simply moving in opposition to our designated protagonists, for reasons of their own. Too, the protagonists aren’t exactly on the same page when it comes to their goals. Some are looking to revive flagging family fortunes, others to protect their loved ones, one wants to build an empire, another just wants to get paid. Then, what’s an epic fantasy without a variety of characters, moving in complex patterns?

Sadly, The Sea Leopard will be returning to the back-burner next week. I have a novella to start work on, and another short story (or two) to write. But more on those next week.