Saturday, February 7, 2015

Faerylander -- my learning book.

Four years after I started, Faerylander continues to be my learning book.  I can see my mistakes and I am continually trying to correct them.

Because of that I've jettisoned more than half the book and completely rewritten the other half of the book.

I must really like Faerylander because I could have written several books in the time that it's taken me to finish it.  But if I see it as a learning experience, the time wasn't wasted.  Especially if I come up with a good book at the end.

1.)  The biggest problem with the book was the tone.  I've corrected that mostly.  At the cost of throwing out lots of choice bits and some great dialogue.  But the witticisms didn't fit the story, so out they go.

2.)  The second biggest problem with the book was the plot, which I've wrestled with over and over again.  As I've mentioned, the problems were so big that I could only fool myself into tacking a portion of them at a time.

The plot didn't move forward, but circled around.  To try to correct the lack of forward momentum, I tried to amp up the drama, putting in a timeline threat.  I've backed off that now because I'm convinced that drama has to be intrinsic to the plot and can't simply be added on.  That's like adding an exclamation mark to a sentence and thinking that makes it more dramatic.

So my largest effort has been in moving the plot forward.  In the end, the answer was the eliminate as many chapters as possible, and to consolidate wherever possible.  The book is still a little more clogged than my other books, but I'd like to think now that it has more content than my other books.  As long as the forward momentum is stronger than the content, it will be all right.

What I'm realizing now is that if I can think of a plot solution, I can write a plot solution. I no longer look at each word as a terrible struggle, but something I'm quite capable of knocking off.  Which leads to:

3.) The third biggest problem, which I was noticing last night, is the stilted writing.  I was simply trying too hard to find the "right" words.  Problem is, you can see how hard I'm trying. So I'm loosening that up, letting my instincts take control.  Letting it feel more natural.  Sometimes the natural isn't the most concise (rewriting to me often means making things more concise) so I need to relax that impulse.

All of these diagnoses have helped me understand the writing process, and in turn have made the book stronger.  Eventually, at the rate I'm going, it will strong enough to be presented to the world.

Hopefully this time -- though I've thought that a dozen times before.

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