Socially Dead On Social Media, Too
Holy carp, I did that disappearing thing again. I hadn’t meant to, but did anyway. Truth be told, I just didn’t have much to update with. Writing stagnated around the holidays, and I wound up just letting the manuscripts sit for a little bit. I did other stuff, played a lot of video games, had a super quiet holiday at home alone, and happy with it for the most part.
There still wasn’t much writing after the new year, either. I’ve been waiting on Fabian to write his chapter for the third novel, but we had a recent discussion (two nights ago recent) about why that is. Turns out, he’s struggling a little to find a certain character’s voice and unlike me, he can’t just give in to my bitching and force it out. Seriously, this guy nags me until I just give in and write, even if I’m not 100% there and half the time I end up hating it, but nope. He says he’s unable to do that.
I don’t mind, truthfully, it’s just a little frustrating to sit on this for so long and not be able to move forward. So I had to content myself with The Great Adverb Hunt in our previous two manuscripts.
A little more on The Great Adverb Hunt and editing in general…
Isn’t that supposed to lower word count? ‘Cause I thought it was supposed to lower word count, but instead our first manuscript gained about 3k words. To be fair, I stripped it down previously and had to smooth out some missing details because of it, but still. Three thousand words? Obviously, I’m doing it wrong.
I fared better on the second manuscript. We’re at 109k words, down from somewhere around 115k words. I cleaned it up quite a bit, to be honest, and I’m liking where it’s at now.
Back to that first manuscript…
Something has bothered me about this manuscript for a long, long time. It’s always been a little… off to me. Half the manuscript is about the second half of a war, and the other half is all setup for the next manuscript. Not a good thing for a first time manuscript/book. I’ve struggled with broaching the subject of rewriting it, as it’s a lot of work and honestly it’s all pretty relevant to the story. There’s some pretty big issues here, though.
For one, the entire thing focuses mainly on the female main character, Catori, as if it’s her story. As much as I love Catori, I don’t want people getting the impression these stories are all about her. She’s a large part of the story, but there’s so much more going on and there’s some amazing main characters that don’t get to shine in the first manuscript at all.
Another problem is the starting point. The manuscript begins just after Catori’s lover dies. He’s the commander in the war, so it leaves them all stagnant, waiting for a new commander. The reader has this sudden sad scene thrust on them with no real glimpse of their relationship and what they mean to each other.
Which leads into another issue. Catori has a very young son by the dead guy, but she leaves him to join the war. Now, women do that all the time in reality, but the way it’s written assumes the reader will just accept that. She thinks about how she regretted leaving him, she misses him, etc. but there’s no real struggle there that the reader can see. They missed the struggle, along with half the damn war.
Which leads into yet another issue! Good lord, guys, how did we not think of this stuff sooner?
Anyway, Catori leaves her son with a noble family, and while the reason for this is explained, it might not be explained as well as it could be. It’s again assumed the reader won’t go, “What the fuck, but why?” See, Catori’s an apprentice, training to be a dragonknight which is literally a knight with a dragon. The importance of dragonknights is not explained, their rarity not explained, etc. There’s no insight into what it entails, other than they have dragons. With more information, the reader can understand the kind of investment an apprentice is.
So how do we fix all these damn issues?
This is what’s been tearing at me. The simplest way is, I think, to rewrite it so it starts at the beginning of the war, or at least starts just before Catori leaves for war. We get a taste of her training as a dragonknight, we get a taste of other people training, we get the struggle she goes through leaving her son for the male dominated world of war, and we get to see her relationship with her lover before he dies, making it that much more painful when he does.
But the second half of the manuscript gets thrown out, because word count. Everything that happens after the war will have to be explained through character interaction in the second manuscript (which is kind of already done, anyway, and embellishing it a little probably won’t add much to the word count.)
There might be a way around the limited word count issue, though.
Part of my discussion with Fabian last night was about the issues of writing a first time novel with the intention of writing sequels. Fabian broached the subject of writing a standalone manuscript to help give insight into our world and some background for a character or two that appear in the series. Sort of like The Hobbit did for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, only we’re no Tolkien. Thank the gods for that. I mean, I love Tolkien, but good lord I do not want to write like he does.
So we’re tossing around some ideas for a standalone book or two, and I think we might’ve stumbled on a good idea. The first age of heroes for our world should be a good standalone, following two young swordsmen through their adventures with various heroes of legend (our world’s legends, anyway.) I’m already looking forward to writing some of it and giving some backstory to a much beloved character of mine whose story I’ve only gotten to hint at previously.
A writer’s work never stops, does it? I love it.
So there it is. Still kicking, but there’s some heavy work to be done. I think it’s about time I jump back into social media, maybe take you lovely people along for the ride. Be on the look out for new posts!