Haven’t updated for a while, because I’ve been in the full swing of revisions. I can see why so many authors say they hate this phase. It lacks much of the energy and excitement of earlier phases, and is littered with second-guessing and frustrations. It also seems endless.
Nonetheless, I am continuing to leverage several relationships I have forged over at FWO (three in particular) who have committed a good chunk of their time to helping me through my story. It is turning into a quite effective beta read.
Okay, current progress: 25 chapters revised to d3, which at this point means, incorporating initial beta reader style feedback, a polish pass for filtering and other stylistic things like that, and completing my own continuity notes for the story. The read-back right now weighs in at 66,027. I have to add a missing chapter next, then I have to continue d3 for the remaining 14 chapters.
I have some detailed beta-feedback up through about chapter 10 (all three critters have given me info, as well as a lot more through 6). It is clear that I’ll need to sort through the feedback and make a lot of changes… many minor, but several major. Things like the technology/Adonis disparity between the Elevated and the non-Elevated is a driving subtextual issue that doesn’t get mentioned. That is a single example among many. Then stylistically, I still get a LOT of feedback that my writing is too heavy handed. Too many signposts, too much inner reflections. When I do the d4 revision, I’ll need to put a lot of effort into leaving out things I *want* there, or I *think* need to be there, and try to lead the reader there emotionally instead (and trust them to get there).
Timeline-wise, I am moving more slowly these days. It took me about a month to revise the last 12 chapters, at which rate I’m looking at another month to complete revisions on draft 3. Then I need to do some thinking. I have several cool ideas brewing for another story, and there is a certain argument for putting this aside to get creative distance and starting something new. However, I also want to finish this and officially wrap on my first novel. Not just for the learning experience, but to make sure I really do it. I am not sure which way that will go yet. Some revisions I can probably make immediately, but some may require distance… and I’ve only received beta feedback for the first third of the book, so who knows what else might come up.
In other news, I updated my map recently, and I like the new version a lot. This was changed to reflect the spacing from Nerthia to Silvius Center as being ~3 days on foot at a slow pace, and Nova Domu to Silvius as a single day on horse at speed. I need to tweak it again to make the river through the forest more realistic… I am told it should flow to the coast more immediately.
I am getting a lot more confidence as a writer, but I do have lows where I lose confidence in this particular piece of writing. I made a lot of decisions early on that are too difficult to write-out now, and so they complicate things in a way I feel could have been avoided up front. Things like the many specific and scientific details of how the Scar moves, which are important to the plot. If it were any one thing, I could foreshadow it, etc, but it is so many that it is just too much to tackle. The character issues are a little over-done as well. For my next story, I think I can tone it down a notch. All in all, I have moments where I wonder if this is strictly a learning experience. Right now I am feeling more positive about it. I think it is all fixable stuff, and I think there is a good story underneath, it just needs the right coaxing to get out.