I read (rewrote) the first half of the Faerylander last night, and it was kind of anti-climactic -- in a good way. It didn't need much rewriting after all. Excising a couple of duplications, cutting and changing a few words here and there, adding back a little flesh where I had cut too far.
But it flowed as it read, nothing was too jarring that couldn't be easily fixed.
I think what happened was, in the constant restructuring I was also rewriting at the same time, so most of the problems had already been dealt with. I'd just assumed there would be more. I mean, I've been working so hard, I just thought that would continue.
A couple of things of note:
1.) The Flashbacks, where I put them, didn't seem to slow down the story at all.
2.) I have a few short chapters, which I tend to try to avoid (believing the chapters should be roughly the same size.) But they weren't off-putting at all, and seemed to serve as transitions.
3.) Cobb's voice came through the most often, which is what I'd hoped for. I now like all my characters -- even the bad guys have their reasons.
4.) The best changes came from cutting the overly dramatic phrases. The book is strong enough now to work with being more understated.
5.) Cutting and adding seemed about equal this time, so putting the Flashbacks back in added about 10K words. So overall, the book is 85K, which is 20K less than the last time I wrote it, and 40K less than the 'kitchen sink' version. I think it is much more lean and fast moving.
If I finish the second half today, that gives me the luxury of a couple of weeks to step away, and then come back to it one more time. I've asked Linda if she'll let me read it to her (something I usually only do with first drafts.) Nothing like reading aloud to another person to catch the little things. I'm sending volunteer reader Martha 3 chapters at a time and hoping for her valuable feedback.
I woke up this morning with a kind of crucial point. I'd made a big deal out of how the Necronomicon immediately takes over the mind of the villain. Then later in the book, I have one of the heroes open the book to memorize a spell, and it's no big deal.
My subconscious caught the mistake, which I can correct something like this:
"How do you feel, Alex?"
"I feel great. I mean, it was a little weird at first -- I thought I was hearing little voices promising me stuff but I ignored them."
Cobb heard Lillian's voice in the background. "The Great Library protected him."
"I think you're a good man, Alex," Cobb said. "You weren't so easily tempted."
That's sort of a first drafty passage, but it addresses the problem. The reason I bring it up is to marvel about how the subconscious had apparently caught something relatively minor -- I mean, very few people would have caught it -- and yet not insignificant. Makes me feel like if there were other major problems the old subconscious would speak up...
I've had the sense for a month or so that I now have a publishable book. Last night just sort of confirmed that. It's better than I expected.
Meanwhile, I've already written the sequel to this book -- Wolflander, which Thank God doesn't need as much work, and I have ideas for a few more (Ghostlander, Xenolander, etc) starring Cobb and Company.
One final curious note: The original title of this story was Almost a Human, and then Almost Human.
A new TV show just started showing with the title of Almost Human.
That just seems to be the way these things work.
5 days ago