Interacting with users over on FWO has made a fantastic difference, and I feel truly fortunate that so many people are willing to spend their free time sorting through my writing (Milena & Ailian in particular!). To put it simply, they are unearthing tons of things that need to be addressed. Some is stuff I worried about myself, and they have confirmed with resounding unanimity. Others are things that I totally missed, but upon reflection, are definitely real issues.
I’ve basically gotten through chapter 6 with everyone I am working with, and there are enough structural changes (mostly to the characters) that my old roadmap for revisions is out the window. I am starting over now on what I am calling draft 3, and it will incorporate my own notes and the feedback from the beta readers.
Getting this kind of feedback has been an interesting experience. I go through moods, first feeling like this whole thing is FUBAR and I should just start something new, but then feeling like I can fix it. I am a little discouraged by how far off I was on many things, but then again, this is my first writing project. What could I expect? The key here is to learn everything I can, apply it to the later chapters on my own, and hopefully get better at this whole game as I go. Processing feedback seems to kick off a few days of writers block, but when I come out of it, I feel good about where to go.
Another bit of feedback I’ve gotten is that some of my settings lack enough description. I am really kicking myself, because all of the examples highlighted are places where I vigorously cut descriptions in my attempt to lower my word count. It would seem I went overboard, and took too much away. Given the new course, I am once again not focusing on word count. I want to get this right first, then I can worry about that. I am going to add back in stuff that I liked or wanted, as there is no need to be that parsimonious with my words just yet.
The biggest projects for the next couple weeks are as follows: 1) Re-invent Nick’s POV so he can be sympathetic, and the reader understands what he actually wants and thinks. 2) Make some decisions about Evaya’s Sensing ability. As attempted in chapter 2, it is just way too powerful to not play a larger role in the plot. I need to adjust this. 3) There are a few key chapters that readers are finding contrived. I worried about this, and my fears are now confirmed. I need to rethink this, as well as some chapters they haven’t seen yet (*ahem* 20 and 26), and make it work.
This is definitely a setback time-wise, but the chance to really propel forward with a more compelling and engaging story, so in the end it is a win.