Last weekend I was supposed to write the mess out of Jak and the Giants, only Sunday morning I woke up with a headache that lasted until Monday. I got a bit of writing done during the week, but the week is just not the best time for me to write. I tend to be too tired and unfocused because of my job.
However today I buttoned up chapter 3. It's a nice little chapter that really fleshes out the relationship that Jak has with his mother. I mean, Chapter 1 introduces him and we see that he's troubled, steals, ditches school etc, apparently because of the loss of his father. Yet though he comes off as an ass, we see a little redemption in him. Chapter 2 sends him to his first day of school where he meets the other two main characters: Harley and Felix. It's also where he acquires the runestones (magic beans).
So chapter 3 was good to write because while it drove the plot in the second half, the first half was just a touching back and forth between mother and son. It is necessary because teenage characters, especially too smart for their own good with a chip on their shoulder, teenage characters often come across as just annoying. It's the problem I had with Harry Potter in the Order of the Phoenix book: Harry came off as a total douche. If he hadn't had so many other redeeming qualities, I wouldn't have been able to look past his douchiness. The same goes here for Jak. Jak's got his issues, but I want my reader to understand that he's got shit going on, and underneath that teenage twat is a good kid who's worthy of being rooted for.
That said, writing this was like pulling teeth. There's a balancing act to writing engaging dialogue. I wanted the back and forth between Jak and his mom to be like this totally comfortable point and counterpoint - so that the reader knows that these two characters care about each other and know each other. They don't just share the same house, they're really close. That said, it was also necessary to inject Jak with that sense of distance that teenagers have. They want to be close to their parents but they want to assert their independence as well. While at the same time, I wanted Jak's mom to come off as a pretty cool mom, which is hard to do without it sounding hokey or fake.
Then the balancing of the relationship between Jak, Harley and Felix is getting interesting. Felix, Harley's slightly older brother, is asserting himself more than I thought he would, and he and Jak are really bonding. However, luckily Harley isn't so cold that Jak isn't interested. She's got just enough mystery and vulnerability that Jak finds intriguing. Of course when I created Harley I envisioned someone Jak would fall in love with, someone he would part heaven and hell to save, yet I don't see their relationship working out that way. Now that their personalities have started asserting themselves, I see Jak and Harley thinking they're in love with one another, dancing around it for the longest time, and when they finally act on it they find that their chemistry doesn't cross over into the romantic landscape; that they have as much chemistry with each other as they would each have with Felix i.e. none.
I am anxious though to take this story from the real world into my imaginary world. I think that's where I have the most fun. It's also where I can ramp up the stakes and the tension and really have some fun with my guys. All in all though I'm pretty stoked. I'm shooting for May 1 to have a first draft done. I think I can achieve that. I just haven't decided if this will all fit in one book, or if it's going to stretch across into multiple books.
Word of the Day: Ostensibly