In between working on Venus and Lysander, I've been playing Bloodborne. This game came out last year, and I intended to play it then--specifically for this story--knowing that I'd take inspiration from it. Delays and other setbacks got in the way. Now that I'm finally focusing on this book, I got back into the game. The setting/tone of Bloodborne has little to do with my story. The Victorian-esque architecture is the closest similarity, but the horror and gore aspects aren't part of what I'm writing about. I didn't get far in the other Souls games because the PS3 controls were too clunky for me. The updated controls and the aggressive, precise combat in this game feels much better. I'm naturally patient and calculating, picking and choosing when to be aggressive, so I haven't died too much. I also played through the Nightmare Frontier with one of my readers. She helped me beat the boss there. That was a lot of fun. A couple of PvP players found us, too. Didn't end too well for them.
This type of experience is what I want to recreate in the story. I was in a rut for a while because the book felt very...same-y, compared to my other stories. Now I know what I need to add/change: tightening up the lore in my fictional universe and tie things back to The Scorpion's Empress, making this a true overture to Ruska down the line, and picking at a bunch of other trivial issues that added up and overwhelmed me before.
I did power through this week and ended up finishing about half of the first draft. But I have this weird quirk where I cannot progress with a manuscript until the existing chapters are where I need them to be. Foreshadowing is a favorite trick of mine, so that's probably why I work like this. I'm lucky with the word count, because I get to cheat a little. There's at least one scene from both Vagrant Honor and the fanfic version of Ruska that I'm reimagining in this book. That's like 10,000 FREE words. I love it.