Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Going sideways.

Once again, I am trying to fix Faerylander (nee Nearly Human, nee Almost Human.)  Worked all yesterday afternoon on the first 25 pages.

I'm going to keep polishing these pages until they gleam.

The first chapter is really dark.

I took some material I had cut previously, because it had a lighter tone, and added it to the second chapter.  I then cut the second chapter in half, and made the second half of it the fourth chapter, which I think breaks up the story better.

I think it's improved.

The biggest problem is that the story is pretty complicated by now, so anything I can do to simplify things will help.

I'm both adding and subtracting material, and then trying to smooth it out. I just have to have faith this is improving the book.

I've been using the technique of adding a sentence to every paragraph.  What ends up happening though, once I'm down wrestling in the muck, is that other changes are obvious.  Which is what I need -- an excuse to really get in there and try to improve the mechanics and story and characters.

An example -- the main character, Cobb, has been exiled from Faery to earth.  In the second chapter, he goes to find out if he is to be allowed back into Faery.

The way it was written before, he is still banished, which is why he is present on earth to fight off the Cthuhlu invasion.

It occurred to me that it would be a better character development to have him actually be welcomed back into Faery, and for him to want to return to Faery, but for him to turn it down because he wants to help the humans.

A subtle change, but makes him a better guy -- self-sacrificing.  Much of what I'm trying to do with this rewrite is to delineate the characters.  Flesh them out, make them consistent, make them either sympathetic or unsympathetic.

All this should be done properly in the first draft, but I started this book with the wrong tone, the wrong plot, wrong character development, wrong theme, etc. etc.  It happened that way because it was the first book I tried to finish when I came back to writing so I made all the mistakes -- but I was going to have to relearn sometime and this was the book where I did much of my relearning.

On the other hand, it has kind of cool premise, and I've become fond of the characters and setting, and I've rewritten it so many times that it has started to gain some depth and polish -- So I think it is worth saving.

The big problem with this book is a really big one -- it mostly goes sideways and then forward and then sideways and then forward.  An occasional sideways in a book is O.K., but not if it is half the book, or a third of the book or some major portion.

So I'm trying to clear out the underbrush, make it crystal clear and clean, and deepen the characters -- and then maybe the trip will be enjoyable enough that readers will be willing to go sideways for a while. 

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