Diving back into my latest work-in-progress is not going so well. I finished chapter three easily enough, but that had its own internal flow I found easy to slip back into post-vacation. That chapter possessed a particular ‘short story’ feel. I’m a whole 374 words into chapter four and already decided it’s poop. And in looking at the first 2300 words of chapter two, I see a whole lot of wholesale cutting in its immediate future.
The story itself is not the problem. I know what I want to say and how to get my characters through it all. With the first draft in hand, I’m on target, more or less.
The problem now is I need to change some of the technology being used in chapter two. I want to show how that technology permeates the Shiss society, and let the reader actually see it in use, to set up later terminology and use of said technology. As things stand, the current opening simply will not work. I have decided on the fix, but that will essentially demand a complete re-writing of those first 2300 words. There’s a good chance that word count will drop a bit with a tighter opening. Here’s hoping, anyway.
In chapter four, it’s time to lay the hammer down on the main character, Mother Kreek. She’s the one with the sense of unease, the worry at the back of her mind that the Pheelm are a bad influence for her people. That creeping dread is her motivation to do what she does for the remainder of the story. So it needs to be drawn out. Intensified. She’s already taking a huge risk communicating with a member of a race that openly defied the Pheelm. A huge risk. As is her merchant friend Pench. The letter from her Handresi friend had better well be worth it. (And spoiler: it is.) So the lame opening I’ve penned in those first 374 words is pretty much junk. I’d rather fix that now before digging myself a deeper hole for revision number three.
So, the plan now is to hop back to chapter two and extensively revise. I normally do not do such heavy revision during a heavy revision. This is a second draft that will have substantial changes from the first draft, which I wrote mostly on the fly, with no real planning. I sometimes do that, and it works well for the most part (Earth Cell and A Child of Byne are my two most-recent examples). With a first draft in hand giving me the story’s broad strokes, this second draft is my first chance to narrow down the focus, ratchet up the stakes, and make the consequences, good and bad, for all characters involved far more substantial. Seeing where the current revisions need revising is actually a good sign. It means I’m really buckling down and giving the more subtle elements of the story the deep consideration they deserve.
PS- I jiggered the css for this theme to remove the underlining of links. I’m not a fan of that text decoration at all.
PPS- Earth Cell: The Ux-Blood Trilogy, Book I remains free in PDF format! Click HERE or on the book cover art over there!