I've been writing for the past week. My goal for The Hand of Intrigue is 1,000 wpd, since it's a rewrite and I'm more familiar with its characters. My new project, The Shadow of Blood has a goal of 500 wpd, because it's new and written in a new pov.
I'm considering expanding SoB to a duology or a trilogy. It's pov character is Akiro Odaohanei, and I'm wondering how he got to the point he's at--emotionally and politically--where SoB begins. I think a "prequel" (that's what it's status is at this point) would be enjoyable to write, and I'm thinking about taking it from when Akiro learns his favorite cousin has drowned--she goes ice skating on a pond she thought frozen near her Secondary School, and falls through. No one is near enough to save her. I think that's something that has a lot of bearing on his current personality, in addition to the role his twin brother plays. He's really the brains of the outfit, but Akotai is manipulative--though in a subtle way--and after the death of his favorite cousin, Akiro is willing to follow.
As for HoI--it's proving to be much more interesting--and Keiki-oriented than I'd anticipated from the initial draft. Some things have changed a great deal, but Barukei's still an unwilling Shisei, and someone's stil out to kill Keiki. He's just had a shock I wasn't expecting--it seems that Hiyo, one of Barukei's nieces, has ideas of her own. She's willing to Contract-bear the Heir Keiki needs to secure the throne, and to be regent, she's going to have to be a Sabi'Oji--which, of course, she's wanted to be for years. LOL Poor Keiki had quite a shock--he didn't realize she had a crush on him, and I'm going to have to go back through and patch in comments about disturbing dreams concerning pretty young Hiyo that Keiki has. At age nine (about sixteen in our years), Hiyo is legally mature enough to make her own decisions--the law was originally set in place so youngsters wouldn't have to run away to become Sabi'Oji, and it has since grown to cover everything from signing Contracts to getting married and having children.
Hiyo, apparently likes to shake things up. LOL I'm glad I'm getting an "oustide" view of her; I don't think I could write her from her own pov. She's a fickle thing, with her own rather stick-in-the-mud opinions and beliefs. She's as much a conniver as her grandmother, but she's more subtle and far more willing to manipulate . . . which I suppose explains why she disobeys her Zhiraikaovei and presents herself to Akiro instead of the "spiritless, spineless, and thoroughly superfluous girl" to whom the Zhiraikaovei'ubu wanted her to present herself. She won't be able to say as much, but they'll still be on the search for a suitable Heir for Keiki . . . LOL
I'm having fun, despite the trouble I've had keeping up. I've kept Keiki off-balance throughout the first 22k words, so I'm going to give him a bit of a break. I'm also keeping Akiro off-balance in SoB, which is giving him a lot of quiet anxiety. He's been introduced to the Temple of the Zhiraikaovei, though he isn't a Sabi'Oji, and I plan on plaguing him with frequent, vague "calls" toward the Temple throughout the novel, until his Sabi'Oji is un-gairi'd and escapes somehow. I think Akiro will have something to do with that, but I'm not quite certain what . . . yet.